Frequently Asked Questions

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education is crucial to preparing North Carolina students to lead in the next generation of innovators. Today’s students will drive tomorrow’s economy. In order to do that, we need to make sure that we continue to show students that science can be fun. That’s why Google, working with co-sponsors at Appalachian State University, the University of North Carolina and the City of Lenoir, invests in STEM initiatives like the annual North Carolina Gravity Games.

The NC Gravity Games competition supported by Google, Appalachian State University, the University of North Carolina and the City of Lenoir. The NC Gravity Games are an educational, hands-on activity designed to get young people excited about science. The NC Gravity Games are a signature event of the North Carolina Science Festival, a multi-day celebration highlighting the educational, cultural and financial impact of science in our state.

The NC Gravity Games are always looking for the best, brightest and speediest engineering minds in the state. More than 50 teams of middle and high school students compete each year. Adults can also participate in the “open” race category.

Encourage students in your class to compete in the NC Gravity Games. If you’ve never participated before or want to make the jump up to the engineering division, consider applying for funds from the NC Science Festival to help cover the cost of materials and transportation. 

This exciting event is a way students can take the concepts they learn inside the classroom and apply them in a fun way. What other advanced engineering challenge involves zooming at top speeds through downtown streets?

Teams can compete in one of three categories:

Kit - New teams may want to start by building a car from an approved  kit

Engineered - The majority of teams design and build their cars from scratch

Challenge - There’s a unique engineering challenge each year for teams to test themselves

Many teams have asked about the use of lubrication for wheels and axles. Since we consider this to be a component of "engineering" to make the cars as fast as possible, lubrication of wheels, axles, etc is permitted, but you may be asked to provide data on the lubricants used, and you must not leave residue on the starting ramp or race course.

The 2023 NC Gravity Games will be held on April 29, 2023 in downtown Lenoir.

Teams are accepted on a first come, first serve basis. Registration closes at midnight EDT on March 17, 2023.

Five students, including the driver, and one teacher or advisor can be registered for a team and only five students will be awarded prizes. However, teams may add additional “honorary members” as they see fit.

Google supports a number of STEM initiatives in North Carolina. In addition to the NC Gravity Games, Google sponsored Caldwell County School’s first robotics teams and funded the Caldwell County School system’s first “Lending Laptop” program, which provided 150 computers for classroom use. For more information about Google’s programs for schools and teachers, please visit

Timeline for individual division registration and racing will be distributed to all teams 2 weeks before the event dependent on the number of teams competing.

The team from ASU will conduct the safety inspection. This is comprised of a visual and physical inspection of the car. For the physical inspection of the car, the driver must get in the car and travel along a short-course. ASU is making sure that the car is both within the proper weight guidelines (both with and without the driver) and that the car can stop when pressure is applied to the brakes. The car must stop BEFORE hitting the hay bale that is located on the short course.

We strongly recommend that you, as an adult supervisor or family member, stay at the event with your students/competitors. 

The race is in downtown Lenoir, NC, running West to East on Ashe Ave.

That’s a surprise.  Just note that bragging rights, awards and medals will be distributed and some cool stuff from ASU and Google.

Yes, but your time may be limited.  Your assigned heat will run without your vehicle if the second inspection is not completed in time.  Plan to bring tools to to the race to make any necessary changes.

It is suggested that fine tuning of the weight be done very quickly.  Removable weights need to be loosely fastened during weigh-in and added or removed during that process to reach the ideal weight.  The weights must be securely fastened within 1 minute of weigh in to complete the live brake test.