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Amp Heads And Battery Brats Converge On Portland Raceway

Electric drag racer Mike Willmon says that “green doesn’t have to be slow,” and he’s out to prove it this weekend.

            Willmon, president of the National Electric Drag Racing Association, will be among the racers at the Wayland Invitational, being held on Friday and Saturday, July 24-25 at the Portland International Raceway. Willmon will race his electric “Crazy Horse Pinto” at the event (see the Crazy Horse in the June Design News slide show) and will be joined by John Wayland, who has turned an 11.4-second quarter-mile in his street-legal “White Zombie” Datsun, and by Bill Dubé, whose electric “KillaCycle” motorcycle has done the quarter-mile in an unbelievable 7.82 seconds.

            “If people want to see some fast electric cars beating up on all the high-performance street- and gasoline-vehicles, this is the place to do it,” Willmon said earlier today.

            The exploits of Willmon, Wayland and Dubé, featured in a Design News cover story in June, are amazing, even to engineers familiar with electric vehicles. They’ve repeatedly achieved extraordinary quarter-mile times by “slamming” as much as 2,000 A of electrical current into the dc motors that power their cars. Over the past few years, they’ve beaten gasoline-powered Dodge Vipers, Corvettes and Audis.

            For electric car fanatics, this weekend’s event will also feature six electric Tesla Roadsters, including a rare Roadster S-Series vehicle, which produces about 40 HP more than conventional Tesla Roadsters (the S-Series is not to be confused with Tesla’s Model S vehicle, due out in 2011). The Tesla vehicles are scheduled to race on the Portland track.

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