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Do any of you know much about the annual Great Race? It is a race that used to only have vintage cars, muscle cars, etc competing for cash prizes, but things have changed.
Their web site says they have added an alternative fuel and new technology division this year that includes hybrid cars.
From their site:
Great Race, The Ultimate Automotive Adventure is proud to be celebrating its 25th Anniversary from June 23 – July 7, 2007. And we’d like to invite you to participate with us in this stirring milestone of Great Race adventures.

With this 25th celebration, GREAT RACE USA 4,000mi 2007 introduces some new and exciting firsts:

- First event ever to organize a coast-to-coast “future” automotive technology class of competition, featuring Hybrids and Alternative Fuel vehicles competing for the Innovation Cup and a $25,000 purse
- First event ever to introduce the wildly popular Muscle Car class (up to 1969) to a coast-to-coast competition
- Increasing its purse to $350,000, the first increase since 1983
- Increasing its Rookie Class Purse to $50,000
It looks like a time/speed/distance race and doesn't have an mpg component to it. (Although it'd be interesting to hear how the hybrids do mpg-wise.)

Does anyone else regularly watch the results from this race, or have you had it go through your city? I'm interested in finding out more about it.

Also is anyone from InsightCentral entering the Great Race this year?

I used search, but couldn’t find any threads about it here. I also put a similar post on some other forums to see if they had heard about, too.
 

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It'd be quite frosty in the nether regions before I part with six grand just to drive with a bunch of old, and I mean ancient old, cars while their clueless drivers block traffic nationwide. :eek:

A ton of them were trying to stay out of the way of traffic last year when we shot up to Aspen in early July, but if we saw one broken down on the side of the road, we saw thirty. Everything from open tourers from the '20s to late '50s heavily-chromed barges. The ones that were running could be mostly distinguished by the blue oil smoke they trailed behind. :x

I shouldn't slam them too much, a lot of them were quite happy to be on the road with their impeccably-painted and -maintained vehicles (and I do appreciate the effort it takes to keep an oldie roadworthy in today's lead-free gas, air-conditioned world). But the ones on the side of the road, or driving 20 mph, were sure ticking off a ton of drivers on the 2-lane roads they, and we, favored... At least the people able to pass were letting them know they were "#1!" via hand signals... :evil:
 
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Challenge

How much of a challenge would it be to race in this with a modern car... one that for 99.99% isn't going to break down?

Pay 4k to drive around like a putz and waste gas (albiet less!) in the Insight?
 

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future tech-Great Race challenge

Hi! I am a Great Racer as well as an energy conservationist, so I thought I should post on this thread. Perhaps some of the negativity I read in comments from this otherwise upbeat group can be dispelled.
Eric is right that the competition (and that's what it is, a sporting competition) does not directly reward mpg. It is, in its essence a precision driving contest, at legal speeds that ought not normally inconvenience other safe drivers that share the back roads we mostly follow. The towns we visit are always tremendously welcoming and it's SOOO much fun to meet with people and share the enthusiasm they have for their burgs. Most of us aren't REALLY clueless, or putzes, just outgoing, friendly and energetic.
It 's also a real trial of vehicle practicality for long-distance road travel, especially for any car, new or old, that is not just a standard, modern IC car designed and proven for that purpose. While in years past, this has been a contest for old cars only, the anniversary of the original Round-the-World Great Race in 1908 has sparked a new twist. In 1908, NO cars were considered practical for long-distance travel and most folks thought of them all as rich mens' toys - Hey, not so diferent from the general public's perception of hybrids and electrics today!
(BTW, sorry for slowing your traffic in Aspen, Mr. boogety, who shot up there from Dallas, ahem javascript:emoticon(';)')).
The success of the Thomas Flyer that won in 1908, and the other cars that finished too, showed the world in very public, very real way that gasoline cars were indeed practical transportation.
So now we are the threshold of a new era - and the Great Race offers alternate technology cars a chance to do that again! Will it directly save fuel? No. Will a few others on the road be momentarily inconvenienced by the parade? Sure. But will it help push the state of the art and improve public perception of new-tech vehicles? You bet! (My apologies for the Rumsfeldian sounding cadence here).
All that said, I have to agree that there wouldn't be much hardware challenge to a team using a production Insight in the Great Race (though the precision driving is STILL the main challenge). The new category is after all FUTURE tech, which implies a reach technology, where an Insight on such a long trip is really just a modern, small, gasoline car - not much to prove or learn there.
Instead, may I invite those of you who would like to make a difference to dig in and challenge yourselves - how would you do this if you had NO fossil fuel for the trip? That's my team's goal for the 2008 Great Race: coast-to-coast, on time, with ZERO fossil fuel - now THAT's a challenge! I'll be blogging the effort, so if there's interest, you can follow.
BTW, we'll have a great time, too - win, finish, break, or even fail-to-start - and we'll learn how to do more with less (not just less with less). C'mon down! jc[/i]
 

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Welcome to the forum JC. Thanks for bringing another perpective to this topic. The "race" sounds like a lot of fun and a real challenge for those who participate.

You are correct that this would be little challenge for the Insight. My 4,000 mile trip this summer involved driving over 750 miles a day solo a couple of times. :D Aside from a few GPS misdirections, the challenge of averaging 74 miles per gallon, and trying to stay awake it was rather straightforward.

Is your team running electric, solar, biofuel, or zero point energy?
 

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What is the fast-fill fuel when it's not fossils?

What indeed is the way to power a carbon-free car?
If electric, how can we recharge in the few minutes we have at each stop? OK, we could have quick-change battery trays, but that seems expensive and not-quite-real in a useful someday if we all had them kind of way.
If solar, how can we make it safe and registerable in normal traffic, with severe power limitations - really just a slightly augmented electric.
If biofuel, though carbon-neutral, it may be just too small a leap (buy the alcohol, run the car. yawn).
If zero-point energy, well, so far the usual laws of physics have worked in every trial, so this one seems a non-starter.
We'll lok at bio. We'll look at using cryogens as cold sinks for heat engines. We'll look at metal oxidation cells. We'll start the project by framing this question in terms of the rules of the road and race, then evaluating all practical options. Stay tuned! jc
 

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Simple: ;)

1. Buy a Prius and a trailer.
2. cover the trailer and the prius with solar cells.
3. Use the solar to boost the mileage.
4. Fill the trailer with hog manure and use the methane to run the Prius.
5. Use the exhaust from the Prius to heat the manure.

That stinks so alternately:

1. Buy an Insight and convert it to run on ethanol.
2. Build your own still and distill a mash of fermented potato peelings etc..
3. Fabricate a 35 to 40 gallon reserve tank to fit the underfloor storage area.
4. drive the entire race without stopping for fuel. :D

Or smoke the competition:

1. Fabricate, Beg, borrow, or steal a steam powered car.
2. Run the race on scrap transport pallets.
3. Save the nails for recycling.
 

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Brilliant, Kip! I particularly like the potato mash approach. We may have to adjust the numbers a wee bit though.
Let's see... on gasoline, a Prius can reliably give 35-50 mpg, so a 4000 mile run will require 80-120 gallons to be stop-free. If we use ethanol, which has about 20% less energy per gallon, we'll need a tank of 100-150 gallons! That's a lot of jack Daniels, and it will add a bit of mass during the early going (at 7 lbs per gallon, that's like 3-4 extra linebackers sitting inside with the driver and navigator) - so the mileage estimates need to be revised downward, and the fuel requirement further up. Darn! No stops would be a REALLY neat trick!

On the other hand, the goal I have in mind is to demonstrate a carbon-free system that would be a reasonable alternative within the present service-station infrastructure. So, cool as it is, a 4000-mile range is not a credit. What I need is a power supply that can go at least 150-200 miles per FAST re-load (minutes, not hours) and that can be imagined to be supplied at stations, as liquid fuels are now; but without duplicating the efforts underway elsewhere. Here are some conceptual possibilities (though many have the same numbers limits that the long-range ehtanol does):
liquid air: expand through motor as it absorbs surroundings' warmth
ultracapacitors: can take a really fast charge
flywheels: spin up quickly
metal-air reaction cell: dump oxide and re-load metal

Whatever the choice of prime mover, the vehicle will need to use effective regenerative braking, as much of the rally is slowing and accelerating, stopping and starting. I am particularly impressed by the new hydraulic hybrids from Eaton and EPA, recently deliver to UPS (see: http://www.hydraulicspneumatics.com/200 ... ilTrucking ). These rascals give 60-70% better mileage in pacakge delivery service. The same system, if scalable to a small car could be an excellent part of a system with mechancial storage power like LN2 or flywheels.

This is the just first part of the fun: scoping out a possible solution! jc
 

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jc has conveyed a bit of justification regarding the hybrid and alternative fuel division in the Great Race. Just as the vintage cars we have been rallying with in the Great Race the past 24 years were a stepping stone for a more reliable, safer, and efficient automobile; the hybrid cars of today will be a stepping stone for the same improvements for tomorrow. The motto "To Finish is to Win" for the Great Race has applied with truth for the antique cars that have been competing for the past couple of decades. The motto may not mean as much with a production hybrid which is used in competition, but it definately will for most means of "green technology" not found on the showroom floor.

I don't own a hybrid vehicle yet, but I have been able to gain an impressive mpg increase in my 1928 Ford I use in the rally. In stock form, a Model A Ford can average 12-17 mpg. In my case, I shaved some weight, pulled the fenders off to reduce the drag coefficient, super-tuned with time on the dyno and exhaust analyzer, modified the cylinder head and ignition, plus, added an overdrive. With those attributes, I've achieved over 30 mpg. Not bad at all for a vehicle going on 80 years old! Many of the other competitors tune their cars the same way. With such attention; our cars aren't the smoke-blowers we can easliy visualize when thinking of an antique car. In fact, many of the cars in the race run cleaner than a large majority of cars on the road today.

Many misconceptions are made when not familiar with the event. It isn't an all out speed race or a tour group. It goes far beyond not breaking down and staying on course. The Great Race is about navigation, computation, and tenacity. It's a sport of physical and mental endurance combined with precision driving and awareness. It hasn't been described as the "most grueling event in motorsports" for just shining the cars up and lolly-gagging around. Sure, there are a few teams each year that use the event as a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. But, the race gets in your blood. It's not about the $6000 entry fee. It's about the experience, the friendships, and the competition. Next summer, it's also about stepping forward with new technologies.

So many hometowns welcome us into their community as guests... And we enjoy the country as we normally couldn't. Combine love of cars, split second competition, friendships forged, beautiful country, and the freedom to compete in such an event as the Great Race you create the Ultimate Adventure in Motorsports. I'm hooked for life- as many competitors are.
 
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