Motorsport, is it OK for a Prius owner?

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by patsparks, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    Today I spent my day at Colingrove Hillclimb track which is about 650 metres of bitumen than weaves it's way up a rather steep hill. I spent my time watching various cars, mostly classic cars climb this hill as quickly as the road, equipment and driver's skill would allow. What a great day.

    I made a pretty bad video with my phone of a nice red Celica getting away from the start line;

    My question is, is it OK for a Prius owner to enjoy motor sport?
    And a supplementary question, is it OK to enter hillclimb racing in a Prius?

    I should add that in my 20s I built and raced a Mazda RX2 race car but gave it away as too expensive. Now I have slightly better means and hill climb and circuit sprint racing is a bit cheaper than head to head circuit racing. My 15 year old is also interested and I see this may be a chance for us to share a car and race each other. Not the Prius but thinking about a dedicated race car we can share. I'm just thinking in the short term a run up the hill in the Prius would be a good chance to show off the Prius but it may also be a failure. Weight plays a big part in hillclimbs, and the Prius isn't a light car.

    Sorry about the rambling post.
     
  2. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Having a Prius doesn't change the sports you are allowed to enjoy. You can rationalized the expenditure of resources by the extra economy of your Prius. Humans have never been known to be overly logical or consistent.

    Tom
     
  3. rpiereck

    rpiereck Regenerator

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    I'd say go for it. I know people who race Yugos and Kias in SCCA Slo races, so a Prius woldn't be something too far off, you just have to make sure that the Prius' technology is allowed per the rule books of the racing organization you might want to join. I don't think it would be a very competitive car, but most people race for fun, not for profit.
     
  4. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    I only want to run the Prius up the hill once in a "come and try" day to see how it compares to other vehicles, I wouldn't be racing. It would be interesting how the rules would allow or disallow the hybrid drive, after all, all the power comes from the 1.5 litre naturally aspirated engine so it would be in the under 1.6L class.

    I'm considering a dedicated race car (not a Prius) to compete and it wouldn't need to be competitive against other cars as it would be about competing against my son and against our own best times.

    It would be interesting to transplant a Prius running gear into a Starlet, Yaris or Echo which would be a lot lighter just to see how it went.
    Even using a standard 1.5 litre engine instead of the Atkinson cycle engine!
     
  5. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    For these sort of events, Prius drivers sometimes use a forced charging method to bring the traction battery to full green. Leave the transmission lever in D, hold the brake down with your left foot, and press the gas with the right. The battery will charge until it reaches its limit. Make sure you don't slip and jump forward into anything.

    Tom
     
  6. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Hey, I know! Why don't you and your son race your bicycles instead? :blink:
     
  7. jammin012

    jammin012 The man behind The Man

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    Driving from the valley to San Diego I go over The Grapevine. Californians know it as "no fun at all" and "a mean thing to do to your car". Basically on the valley side it starts at about 600ft and climbs to about 4000ft at a 6% rade sometimes. It's taken it's toll on vehicles, especially in the summer when it hits 100+F. I've made the trip about 8 timmes since Nov 1. !st trip I was worried and wasn't "in it" like I should have been. I got the 1 pink bar in the battery on the way up.

    Then I got "smart". Now I do about 80 all the way over either "in it to win it" or on cruise control which works pretty well. The battery doesn't get below 3 bars and I get to pass everyone :p

    The Grapevine ends on the other side at Six Flags in LA with another 6% grade where the battery get whatever charge it needs. But by the time you get to the long downhill you're alreay at 75-80% full. You could be all green by the time you hit bottom if you wanted.
     
  8. tnthub

    tnthub Member

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    Motorsports are fun. :) Racing inpsired technology has helped vehicles become safer and more efficient.
     
  9. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    Article 3917, section 43 of the Toyota Car Code states: "No Prius owner shall engage in or watch contact sports or automotive racing. Prius owners shall attend the opera in their leisure time."

    A couple of years ago, at the alternative fuel fair in Lacey, WA, Frank Hudon showed us a totally burned-out electric motor from a Prius. It was fried by the method described above.

    Beware that sending a lot of current through an electric motor while holding it stationary can fry it.
     
  10. apriusfan

    apriusfan New Member

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    There might be excessive CO2 emissions....
     
  11. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    Every time I hear about auto racing in Australia I can't help but flash to "On the Beach".
     
  12. Rae Vynn

    Rae Vynn Artist In Residence

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    Which one? :confused:
     
  13. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    The original novel by Shute
     
  14. gerlando

    gerlando New Member

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    I would say go for it, having your 15 year old learn how to properly control (and respect) a vehicle at the limits will make him a more competent and safer driver on the road. That alone is worth the effort and should offset any environmental guilt ;)
     
  15. Pinto Girl

    Pinto Girl New Member

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    I feel like, over here, there's sometimes a certain [ahem] I hate to say it, but vulgarity, which some fans of motorsport seem eager to exhibit; that maybe doesn't make it any more accessible for me, but it's just my perception. I was just a bit too young to go to races during the 60's and early 70's, so I don't know how it was then, but I have this fantasy, perhaps, of it being a bit more chivalrous than now.

    Like, as the manufacturer's logos got bigger on the cars, racing (not motorsport, but racing...heck, even THAT term has changed, hasn't it?) lost a bit of class, along with a few of the customs seemingly drawn from the equestrian days.

    Yeh, now that I think of it, I am old fashioned, I guess; I still use the 'r' word!
    :)
     
  16. samiam

    samiam Antipodean Prius Poster

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    Pat,
    1) of course!
    2) not unless you are doing it to provide comic relief.

    Ozzies! Sheesh!
     
  17. tnthub

    tnthub Member

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    Although not yet a "done deal", I may actually enter a Prius in Maine's "Shoe, Shine, and Drag" event this summer. I have been asked to obtain vendor information from a local dealer about being a sponsor. My wife thinks I should race a Prius but I'm not sure if that would be the best way to impress the spectators or not... This is the largest single day automotive event in Maine and to win I would have to go over ten rounds as "everybody" who thinks they are the next Don Garlits enters the race...
     
  18. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    Mine has a flat tyre.

    I just wanted to climb the hill in one event in the Prius just to see how it goes. As far as getting the battery charged, when you go up a hill you need to come down so I can get the battery up coming down the hill. If using the supercharging method I wouldn't press hard on the accelerator.

    If you have the impression that racing is always about men who drink too much and live in overalls (cover-alls) maybe you need to have a look at the clubrooms of my car club which is the organiser of the hill climb races.
    [​IMG]
    The club owns this building, the historic Mawson House and the hill climb track too. This is a real "gentleman's club" but women are most welcome as guests or members.

    The club isn't all about racing but about collectors too. I count myself as a classic car collector and Toyota enthusiast, it is the reason I bought the Crown.

    Oh if you have the impression a V8 is the only way to go racing, wrong! 4 cylinder cars dominate in hill climb. The track record is held by a Volkswagen, a supercharged purpose built car but a 4 cylinder all the same.

    The track at Colingrove is about 600 metres (about 0.4 miles) and climbs about 60 metres (about 200 feet). The track record is a tad under 30 seconds. There are a lot of corners in that 600 metres.
    Here is a picture of the track from Google Earth
    [​IMG]
    By patsparks at 2008-03-27
     
  19. Pinto Girl

    Pinto Girl New Member

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    How about...minimotorsports(?)

    1/32 slot racing is, I think, what it's called...

    Anyway, here's a way to race one's own electric car; in the old days the pros even used to use batteries to power their club tracks...wouldn't a PV array be a natural?
    :)

    Okay, I'll admit, everything else about it is an environmental nightmare. 'Specially the MDF used for the routed track surface.

    I built this racing slot car; it's one of 25 entrants into the '2008 Slot.it Summer Series' featured on slotcarillustrated's website (thank you to Terry and everyone who's been so helpful). It's the first time I've done anything like this!

    I've always enjoyed maps and miniatures and that sort of thing, and since we got onto the subject of motorsport...or should I say, [ahem] racing...'n all...

    Fun stuff, but (like 1:1 racing) can be very time consuming.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    I have a few 1/24 slot cars, unfortunately the track closed down and I lost interest. There is a new track but I haven't been there yet.

    [​IMG]
    I have some good gear for slotcar racing, I have a high power motor in one of my cars which will push it at 60km/h real speed, that is a scale speed of 720km/h! Hard to see a car at that speed. I have an external resistor custom built controler with adjustable braking as well. I got my son a car too but he is more into the XBox racing.
     
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