Porsche Soapboard *PIC*

Anyone seen this thing? Herb, you like going fast downhill, right? Sounds like you get zipped into the grey part on top. Could be fun. Rob Olliges A Porsche Design Makes Waves The Porsche Soapboard will certainly make waves when it debuts in this year’s Gravity Car Derby Festival 2003 in Irvine, CA. Initiated and organized by America Works for Kids, a nationwide organization that helps foster children become confident, working members of our communities, the August 23 event brings together soapbox race fans from Southern California, an enthusiastic local crowd and businesses whose support and sponsorships allow some hundred deserving youngsters to experience the fun and personal growth of participating on a gravity car derby race team. Part of the day’s excitement comes from the race regulation that doesn’t allow for pre-assigned seats for the young pilots. “One of the biggest challenges we face is not knowing who is going to drive this vehicle until just before the race, “ observes Martin Meade, project leader of the Porsche Styling effort and an avid surfer himself. The age range of the drivers is between 7 and 12 years of age and they could be of any size. The answer to this problem was pretty obvious. “With a surfboard you need a wet-suit, and we have one,” says Martin. “The stretchy nature of neoprene to house the driver gives us the ability to fit a large or slim person of any height and still have them be comfortable.” So the lucky pilot will be zipped into the vehicle and will really become one with the board while taking on the 475-feet long racecourse. But it is not only the looks and the design of the Porsche Soapboard that are unique. Compared to your ordinary neighborhood soapbox racer, its material and components are pure high-tech thanks to the generosity of the studio’s suppliers. The wheels are aerodynamic in section and have the lowest rolling resistance tires available. This allows the use of a proper braking system adapted from a racing bicycle. The chassis is a monocoque construction made of carbon fiber with a honeycomb core material for added stiffness. The front windscreen is vacuum formed acrylic and is designed to streamline the air around the driver in the prone position who holds course with a handle bar covered for protection and low wind resistance. Porsche Styling, based in Huntington Beach, CA, is part of Porsche Engineering Services in Troy, Michigan, the U.S. branch of Porsche Engineering Group, the German-based subsidiary of Porsche that manages the Company’s worldwide customer project engineering activities. http://www.germancarfans.com/news.cfm/newsid/2030826.003/page/1/porsche/1.html

More and better pictures here: Rob Olliges http://www.lotuseuropa.org/Porsche.html