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Going downhill fast with Formula Gravity

Going downhill fast with Formula Gravity

Rapid has recently joined forces with a pioneering educational and engineering initiative that builds racing vehicles powered by the ultimate renewable source: gravity.

David Ackroyd is the founder and director of Formula Gravity, a project which seeks to promote engineering and technology within schools, colleges and universities through the universally popular medium of soapbox cars. His company supplies a custom-made kit, frame and components to schools, as well as encouraging students to build, test and brand their own vehicles. We were delighted to support David at the recent Gadget Show Live event at the NEC Birmingham. Local schoolchildren helped make mini gravity racing cars from kits provided by Rapid, and we look forward to offering further assistance in years to come.

David told us: ‘We are proud to form links with Rapid. Education is at its best giving an achievable challenge with fun projects. Having visited Rapid at Colchester I could see that their products, from experimental models to electronic gadgets, did just that, and so much could be used to enhance our own projects.’

David first embraced his downhill destiny in 2000, when his then 9-year-old son Johnny asked him to build a soapbox car. David thought it would take a few hours. Twelve years later he is still dedicated to the cause, having driven gravity racing to new heights of innovation. Soapbox racing has gone global in recent years, but while events like the Red Bull Racing series owe more to Wacky Racers than Formula 1, David is passionate about pushing gravity racing vehicles to their professional limits.

Through over ten years of development he has refined his original build countless times for ever more demanding races and challenges. In 2008 that same son, by now 17, drove the VXR Nimbus to the world land speed record for a gravity-propelled vehicle, achieving speeds of up to 62mph. The following year David was challenged to build a vehicle to race against a high spec sports car for TVs ‘The Gadget Show’.  The result, the Lotus Eater, built by David and a team of Loughborough University students in just four days, ran the Lotus close.

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