Red Bull Soapbox Challenge

The big question when designing a vehicle that has to run down hill as fast as possible without any propulsion other than gravity and an initial push: Build heavy or build light weight? Mass can be taken out of the equation when converting potential energy into kinetic energy, so it shouldn’t make a difference… This however, is only valid when resistances can be neglected. And they can’t!

Many of the 70 contenders chose to go for heavy. Once a heavy object gains speed, it’s momentum ensures that it will not be stopped easily and speed builds up. But the Red Bull Soapbox Challenge is not a regular down hill race. Beside regulations, one has to take other things into account as well: obstacles on the racing track like ramps, water basins and stairs. So your vehicle has to be strong enough to survive these hurdles. And the maximum weight for the vehicle was restricted to 80 kg. So there is a balance to be found…

8tn Engineering chose to go for light weight. Less weight reduces the loads on the suspension and chassis and the initial push will give it a higher velocity to start with. And then it’s all about reducing resistances and getting your vehicle to cross the finish line as fast as possible. Which our pilot did successfully! We won the Dutch Red Bull Soapbox Challenge!

– Vehicle completely designed in CAD
– Light weight aluminium chassis
– Independent suspension front and rear
– Custom made 20″ BMX wheels
– Disc brakes at the front
– Superb vehicle handling dynamics
– Costs of components only € 500,-