Valve Cover Race Rules


What are Valve Cover Cars?

They are small cars that are constructed using a car engine valve cover.  Most cars are constructed from overhead valve covers, but it is also permissible to use the plate that cover the valves on a flathead style engine.

How are the cars used?

The cars are raced down an incline track.

Most tracks are designed to allow two cars to participate at a time.  The winning car can be determined by electronic beams or by human judges

There may be 20 to 30 cars at a race but the track can only run two cars at a time.  The registrant will race at least three times during the elimination process.  The fastest cars will probably race up to 7 or 8 times.

What is the criteria for the cars?

Length  – up to 36 inches

Width  – up to 10 inches

Height  – up to 9 inches – including an optional ‘driver’

Weight  – up to 10 pounds

Wheel diameter – up to 4 inches

Construction Tips

Most successful cars employ ball bearing wheels.  The type of wheels used on inline skates work very well.  Some people machine wheels from steel or aluminum and insert small ball bearings into the center of each wheel.  The car can have three or four wheels.  It is vital that the car track straight or it will run into the side of the track and friction will slow the car.  Cars should be built with some way to adjust the axle so that straight tracking can be achieved.

No form of propulsion is allowed.  Gravity draws the cars down the track.  The cars are held in the start position by vertical pins about 1.5 inches height.  No part of the car may extend past this pin.

Some cars even contain a battery so lights can be turned on for the race.

Many of the cars owned by members have unique design and may carry humorous names.  For Example:  Gord Angus painted his car black and white, attached ears and a tail and called it the “Black Angus”.  There was also a car called the “Green Machine” and another called the “Pink Ladies”.  These cars provide a great opportunity for imaginative design.

At some race sessions, they may have a Junior event to encourage younger people to become involved.  Building a car is a great project for a grandchild and grandparent or parent and child to work cooperatively

Some Chapters will even announce a variety of categories and prizes may be awarded for such things as best engineering and most unique design.