College's Electric Dragster Sets Second World Record
The MCC Motorsports Club’s electric dragster, “Short Circuit,” established an unofficial world record in the DR-G 96-volt class on Sept. 16 at the Mid-Michigan Motorplex quarter-mile track in Stanton, MI.
MCC freshman Zak Kirchner of Grant, MI, drove the student-built vehicle to its record-setting speed of 46 mph during one of four races the dragster completed on a sun-drenched afternoon. Last October with another MCC student driver, “Short Circuit” established the 48 volt world mark.
The lower voltage classes are not attractive to some electric dragsters out to break records, said Allen Thomas, who heads MCC’s Automotive Technology Program.
“It’s not necessarily exciting to watch a dragster go 50 miles per hour,” he explained. “But for me, this fits our automotive technology program quite well. It’s a safe speed and there’s a huge learning curve for our students, one which they can apply to their lives after college in an employment field that’s growing.”
“Establishing a world record with an electric dragster is so difficult because the battery technology and electric motor technology is limited by a number of factors. The electric motor cabling and batteries will get used up and melt over a quarter-mile.”
Thomas has submitted the time to the National Electric Drag Racing Association for official certification. He hopes to receive notification within a month.
Next up, Motorsports Club members are getting their 1996 Ford Ranger biodiesel-fueled truck, “Blue Thunder,” ready for the spring. In the meantime, Thomas hopes to have the MCC club’s ethanol-based race car, “White Lightning,” on the local race tracks a few more times this autumn.