Ridiculous creative limitations hold sublime potential

Ridiculous creative limitations hold sublime potential

The Power Racing Series is a bit like Formula One, except the vehicles are miniature electric racing cars designed for childen and they’re incongruously driven by adults. Imagine Mario Kart brought to life.

I learned about it while listening to an episode of the Cool Tools podcast, where hosts Kevin Kelly and Mark Frauenfelder interviewed Donald Bell of the Maker Project Lab, who is working on a Power Racing vehicle of his own.

Season 8 Power Racing Series Trailer from Power Racing Series on Vimeo.

I was inspired by the way in which Power Racing crafts the experience from a set of creative constraints: the vehicles must begin life as children’s toys and typically cost less than $500. Similarly, they choose to reward not just speed, but also ‘moxie’ – an ill-defined measurement of how whimsical each contestant makes their vehicle. The rule book is entitled ‘The 2017 PRS Rules for the Terminally Humorless’ and includes this clause relating to the judging of ‘moxie’:

Teams will be voted on by a group of 3 small children randomly selected from the audience, on the old Olympic scale of 0-10

Above all, there’s something wonderful about the spectacle of over-sized adults ‘racing’ at really very sedate speeds in tiny, cartoon-like cars. The whole endeavour seems to combine a subversive swipe at the vast budgets and high stakes world of traditional motor racing, while also prompting multiple aspects of participants’ creative development: from electronics to branding.

Part of MEX Inspirations, an ongoing series exploring tangents and their relationship to better experience design.


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