1) Check the NC Gravity Games FAQ frequently! This is where clarification will be posted for specific rule questions received from teams.
2) To All Racers: Protective wear. Although all racers will be required to have helmets and appropriate foot-wear, don't forget appropriate clothing as well. The rules state "no loose fitting or dangerous attire will be permitted," but you might also want to consider protective clothing as well, such as a leather jacket and knee/elbow pads.
Complete Official Rules and Participation Agreement can be downloaded (PDFs) in their entirety at the bottom of this page.
NC GRAVITY GAMES
Description: With funding from Google Inc. (“Google”) in cooperation with Appalachian State University, this 2013 NC Gravity Games, also known as the “Lenoir Soapbox Derby April 13 2013” (the “Competition”) will provide students from levels of middle and high school, college/university, and corporate competitors an opportunity to design and construct cars powered by gravity and electrical energy sources, and compete against other teams for the fastest time.
The event will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 2 p.m.
To have a fun, educational, inspirational, and competitive event that allows hands-on engineering
To enable students and professionals to interact
To unite members of the community in an environment of fair competition and celebration
To develop an engaging competition and event that can be replicated for the future
To explore and demonstrate high-efficiency electrical propulsion systems
The Gravity Games strives to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with real-life application through construction and competition of a downhill racing event. The 2013 NC Games foster community engagement through sponsorship and will award prizes to the winning teams. The Competition focuses on the design, construction, and racing of a potential energy powered vehicle, on a downhill course.
Judging Committee - The Judging Committee will be comprised of representatives from Google, NC, Appalachian State University, and public officials from the City of Lenoir. The Judging Committee will be responsible for inspecting each car, participant, and race track for adequate safety and security. The Judging Committee has the final say on whether or not one may participate in the competition.
The Judging Committee has sole discretion as to whether a violation of these Rules will result in disqualification of a participant and/or team.
- Gravity Only – A race powered by gravitational potential energy. Any student from age 10-18 is welcome to participate.
- There will be a maximum of 48 teams in this category. Registration is first come, first serve.
- Open Powered – A race powered by a combination of gravity and/or a small DC battery (specifications are below). Team members must be at least 10 years of age to participate.
- There will be a maximum of 30 teams in this category. Registration is first come, first serve.
Registration information will be posted online at www.ncgravitygames.com. Registration must be received by March 22nd, 2013.
Parental Consent / Participation Agreement
Participants ages 10-17 (on the day of the Competition at registration) are required to have a parent or legal guardian sign a Participation Agreement on the minor’s behalf in the form attached to these Rules as Attachment 1.
All participants ages 18 and over (on the day of the Competition at registration) must have a signed Participation Agreement.
Gravity Only - Car and driver weight limit: 300 lbs
To any teams using pre-built kits (such as the All American Soap Box Derby kits): The combined weight of your car and driver must be less than the maximum weight rating from the manufacturer. Any vehicles or car/driver combos that exceed this weight will be disqualified.
Powered – Car weight limit: 400 lbs (without driver)
Maximum size varies by division. The dimensions of the car must not exceed:
Participants must wear adequate foot protection covering sole, toe, and heel while racing
Participants must wear certified protective helmets in their proper position on the head.
Head wear must be inspected and cleared by the Safety Committee.
Helmet approved for bicycle, derby, or motorcycle use is required.
Participants must wear adequate and appropriate clothing. No loose fitting or dangerous attire will be permitted.
Gravity may be the only propulsion source in the Gravity Only division.
Gravity and a single DC battery may be the only propulsion mechanisms in the Open Powered division.
No human powered cars or engines will be permitted. Other than acceleration due to gravity and a single DC battery, no external propulsive energy may be added to the drive system after the start of the race.
○ Forbidden propulsion systems
■ Chemical engines (gasoline, diesel, etc)
■ Any electrical power source besides the specified battery
■ Potential energy systems (besides gravity)
■ Nuclear (fission or fusion)
■ Any combustion-based motor
■ Pedals (human-powered)
■ Animal powered (mules, dogs, hamsters)
The battery may be replaced by a fully charged battery between heats, but any replacement batteries must be identical.
The electrical energy can only be engaged by the driver at the starting line (no additional team members are allowed at the starting line)
For the Gravity Only division, team members must take part in the construction of his or her car; an adult mentor is permitted to assist in the construction of the car, but the majority of the work should be completed by the team members. The Judging Committee will have sole discretion to evaluate and disqualify obvious violations of this rule.
A minimum of three wheels are required to remain in contact with the ground at all times.
Each car needs to be able to steer and stop in a reasonable distance (whether a car meets these criteria will be determined by the Safety Committee).
The car may be decorated and painted as long as this does not break any of the rules nor interfere with safety of the participant or other competitors.
Modification, alteration, or tampering with the car after inspection is only allowed with the approval and the supervision of the Safety Committee.
Each car and driver must be inspected and approved by the Safety Committee before racing. The Safety Committee may postpone, restrict, or disqualify any participant or car deemed to be unsafe to race. The Safety Committee does not need to provide explanation for disqualification and has the final say in eligibility of all cars, participants and teams competing in the Games.
- Each car must accelerate from a standstill by gravity and/or self-contained battery sources without the aid of external propulsion devices including human power.
- Participants must remain in the car until all cars have crossed the finish line.
- Participants may not interfere with other cars or drivers.
- If the car is not drivable at the time of the race, the round will be considered a forfeit.
- The Gravity Only and Open Powered races will both run down Ashe Street starting at Church Street, heading East.
Starting and Finishing
There will be awards given to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place team in each division for speed based on bracket results. There will also be an award in the Design and Engineering category based on the following:
- Design and Engineering- The car’s overall design and engineering, including the mechanical and electrical design (e.g. novelty of propulsion system, creative engineering solutions), artistic expression, use of materials, and aesthetics (rubric is below).
- Creativity: Is the idea original (not a copy of something else)? Does the idea show that you are skillful at
inventing something new?
- Form: Is the design really cool to look at? Will people think it looks different and interesting?
- Function: Are the controls easy to use? Does the passenger fit in well? Is the passenger comfortable?
- Craftsmanship: Are the details of the design as perfect as they can be? Do all the parts work perfectly
together? Do all the parts of the design work together visually?
Final judging will be performed on the day of the event.
Registration starts : 8:30 a.m.on April 13, 2013.
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.
Awards to follow after completion of all races on April 13, 2013.