Car with a hot tin roof

International racing event organised by energy drink company lets students design the bodies of radio-controlled cars using drinking cans, and then race the cars on a professional course.

entertainment Updated: Aug 20, 2011 14:07 IST
Nikhil Hemrajani
Nikhil Hemrajani
Hindustan Times

It’s not everyday that a college student gets to design a radio-controlled (RC) car’s body from used liquid cans and battle it out with other students’ designs on a special track. If you step into Wilson College at Girgaum Chowpatty today, you’ll see 12 such teams doing exactly this. Organised by the energy drink company, presumably for the love of the sport, this racing event titled Red Bull Racing Can is spread across multiple cities — Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. The finals will take place in Delhi on October 1. Moreover, the winning team will be flown to Milton Keynes, UK — Formula One team Red Bull Racing’s home turf — to race with the winners from 24 other participating countries.

“The objective was to provide engineering and design enthusiasts in India a taste of the world of Formula 1. The idea is to give wings to a student’s creativity. Teams are encouraged to use their imagination to build the fastest can on wheels,” says a Red Bull spokesperson.

The rules: the energy drink provides the same electric RC car with an intact chassis to all participating teams. Comprising two people each, the teams then need to physically engineer the car’s body from empty cans. The skill lies in creating aerodynamic and light bodies with which help the cars race better.

Murali Krishna from the team Bull Racer, who’s currently doing his post-graduation in design says, “We were given a presentation at college and I was quite impressed and excited about the concept. Since I’m a graphic designer, it was easy to visualise the car’s design and execute it accordingly.” Krishna also mentions that although he’s had no prior experience with racing such cars, he’s an ardent PS3 player and his gaming skills have been put to good use.

Twenty-year-old engineering student Avinash Mandal from team Apex Predators adds, “The subject engineering drawings in our course helped me a lot while designing the body. I have great interest in cars so this was an excellent opportunity for me.”

The judges for the event include model Vivan Bhathena, RJ Miss Malini and RC car enthusiast Siddharth Salian who also owns an RC car racing track in Khopoli. “It’s fantastic that corporates are taking this (car racing) initiative further because students otherwise wouldn’t get such a chance,” says Salian, before adding, “Some of the racers have shown tremendous potential, and events like these showcase it. The functional and creative designs I’ve seen could even work in real-world applications.”

Watch the race today at Wilson College at 3 pm.

First Published: Aug 20, 2011 14:03 IST