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Dr. Destler’s “E-Durance” Challenge

dragster picture

A pre-festival event: Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9-10 a.m. - Rain or Shine!

Win One of President Destler’s Antique Banjos OR $1,000 Cash!

Please read all contest rules carefully. If you have any questions, please email Heather Cottone at Thank you.

The Challenge

  • Buy a new or used children’s electric toy vehicle (Power Wheels; Fisher-Price; Little Tikes; Peg Perego), and modify it to become a competitive e-vehicle. The catch? – you can only spend up to $500!
  • Teams should have a minimum of 3 members, and are encouraged to share ideas and collaborate with their “competitors”.
  • Don’t delay – participation is limited to the first 20 teams that register.

Where and When

  • Race location: RIT campus, Simone Circle, Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9 a.m. View the map of the race course here.
  • Arrive on Saturday morning, May 4, by 8:00 a.m., to set up your pit area and check-in. Race time is 9:00 a.m.
  • Vehicles should be controlled and steered by one human driver who is seated in the vehicle. All drivers must at least 18 years of age. Remote control vehicles are not allowed.
  • At 10 a.m., President Destler will announce the winners during the opening ceremony on the performance stage in Simone Circle.  The racetrack will remain in tact the remainder of the day.  Vehicles will be able to do exhibition runs and engage in additional races from 10:30 a.m. until the close of the festival at 5 p.m.  This will allow festivalgoers to see your vehicles in action and ask questions about how you made it.  (For safety reasons, visitors should not be allowed to ride in the vehicles.)

How Do We Win

The name of the game is “endurance” - Teams will drive their vehicles around the track for up to one hour, or until their vehicle is unable to continue. The team with the most laps completed during the time allotted is the winner (partial laps do not count), and will be given the option of receiving one of President Destler’s prized antique banjos from his personal collection, or a cash prize of $1,000.

Pit stops will be allowed at the discretion of each team for the purpose of making repairs, switching drivers, and switching to a second battery (both batteries to be used in the endurance race will be provided by RIT with your $50 entry fee – see “Build on a Budget”). No battery charging is allowed during the race. Your battery must be your sole source of power.

In case of a tie, we will measure the remaining battery voltage of the two vehicles to see which was more efficient.

Other Prize Categories

Design: Submit an essay (by April 30, 2013) describing what makes your vehicle the most innovative build.

Aesthetics: Do you have a vehicle that is “really, really good looking?”

Moxie: As you develop a team name and decide on how you wish to decorate your vehicle, think about how you will keep the crowd’s interest and attention during the one-hour run. The more hoots and hollers and rounds of applause you get as you round each curve, the more likely you will win in this category.

Trophies and gift cards (TBD) will be awarded to the winners of these secondary categories.

Other Rules

Entry fee

  • Each team should submit a completed registration form, which includes an entry fee of $50.


  • With your entry fee, your team will be given two 12-volt batteries (18 amp/hour; 13 lbs.; dimensions: 3x7x6). You must use one or both of these batteries during the endurance race. As mentioned previously, there is no charging of batteries during the race. You may start with one or both of the batteries provided by RIT in your vehicle. If you start with one battery, you are allowed to pit in order to switch to the second battery. Once the endurance race has ended, you may then take time to recharge batteries or use a third or fourth battery that you have purchased in order to continue running your vehicle throughout the remainder of the day – but these additional batteries must be the same type and voltage as the batteries provided by RIT.


  • Your team is allowed to spend up to $500 to modify their vehicle including extra batteries (which must be the same type and voltage as the battery being provided by RIT). This amount excludes the actual cost of the vehicle as well as any money spent on chargers or safety mechanisms such as brakes, helmets, and harnesses. You will be asked to provide an itemized list of expenses related to meeting your $500 maximum.
  • Teams are allowed to secure monetary donations and/or parts and equipment as gift-in-kind donations as long as the total amount spent plus the value of any gifts-in-kind does not exceed the $500 maximum.  It is the responsibility of the team to acknowledge any sponsorship received (e.g. putting company name on vehicle, signage, reporting the gift to a department/college).


  • The majority of the vehicle exterior must remain functionally intact; however, teams are encouraged to be “innovative + creative” (we are doing this as part of Imagine RIT!) when decorating and modifying their vehicles. Keep safety in mind when considering the addition of external decoration to your vehicle. Specifically prohibited are decorative items that pose a risk to injuring the driver or drives of other vehicles during routine vehicle-to-vehicle contact.
  • We encourage teams to install on board cameras as a way to capture fun and interesting footage.


  • Third-party wheels and hubs are allowed. Slick tires or performance racing treads are prohibited (this includes performance go-kart wheels). There are no limitations to how the wheels can be modified to connect the chassis (internally or externally) as long as power to the ground is derived from these wheels and hubs.

Vehicle Dimensions

  • The vehicle may not exceed 70” long by 40” wide. Seat height may not be lower than the axle height. Overall height is restricted to 72” including the height of the driver while in the seated position. (These dimensions represent roughly the size of the Jeep Hurricane, the largest Power Wheels vehicle on the market as of 2011.)


  • Brakes and helmets are required equipment and are not included in your $500 maximum. Brakes must be mechanical in nature. Motor braking must not be the only method of braking.
  • All motors must be electrically powered. All power supplies must range from 12-24 volts RMS maximum input to the motors. A kill switch or a method to immediately cut power must be incorporated in the vehicles (since this is considered a safety mechanism it is not included in your $500 maximum).
  • Vehicle driver(s) will be asked to sign RIT’s standard liability waiver.


Note: These rules are taken with permission from the organizers of the Power Racing Series: and have been modified for use by RIT.

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