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“Big Daddy” Don Garlits Goes Electric in Quest for 200 MPH Pass!

Racing legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits officially began his latest quest for another racing milestone at the 2013 SEMA Show in Las Vegas last November. That’s where his latest dragster, the SR-37 “Quest for 200 MPH of Batteries” made its debut.

Garlits, along with SR-37 co-owners Brad Hadman and Mike Gerry, are pushing to break the hallowed 200 mile-per-hour barrier in the quarter-mile—a mark Garlits first officially broke through in 1964. This time, the drag racing icon is trying to break the 200 mile-per-hour barrier using renewable battery power!

“I am anxious to get on the track and go 200 MPH in 2014,” Garlits said. “My, how time flies when you get old!”

The SR-37 dragster is currently at The Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, FL, where Garlits is overseeing the final preparations of SR-37 prior to commencement of spring testing.

The dragster will be powered by a 1500-kilowatt array of lithium polymer batteries producing an equivalent horsepower rating of over 2,000 horsepower. The Quest dragster has already been launch-tested by Garlits with early versions of the LiPo battery-power packs and electric motor/controller systems. The chassis is constructed similarly to a Top Fuel dragster and meets applicable professional drag racing safety criteria.

Testing revealed the acceleration potential of the car to be nearly as quick to 60 feet as a Top Fuel dragster (60 feet in .9 seconds!). This acceleration can equate to a force upon the body in excess of 5 G’s. With that sort of power at hand, “the Quest” was on to equip SR-37 with the latest in cockpit comfort and safety for the beloved Garlits.

Garlits and the SR-37 spent the last week with renowned motorsports fabricator, Jeff Garvin of Garvin Motorsports, being custom-fitted for the latest in race seat technology. Garvin prepared a fully conformed resin and bead-foam mold to the sitting Garlits and added provisions for a HANS device. He trimmed Big Daddy’s new throne in Carbon X fiber.

The team hopes to commence spring testing soon with a buildup to full sub-200 mile-per-hour quarter-mile runs.  The summer event schedule for record runs is being developed and will hopefully be announced during spring training.

About “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Brad Hadman, and Mike Gerry

“Big Daddy” Don Garlits of Ocala, FL is considered the father of organized drag racing. He began racing in 1950 and scored his first major victory in 1955. His first NHRA national event came in Top Fuel at the 1963 Winternationals in Pomona, CA. His legendary career includes 17 world championships; 10 AHRA, 4 IHRA, 3 NHRA as well as 8 NHRA U.S. Nationals Top Fuel final victories.

Chassis builder Brad Hadman of Tacoma, WA has been constructing dragster chassis for nearly 40 years. Brad is widely regarded as the industry leader in modern dragster chassis design and fabrication. Brad Hadman has produced more Top Fuel championship cars than any other chassis builder worldwide (59 and counting). Brad’s customer list reads like a “who’s-who” of drag racing history.

Mike Gerry of Las Vegas, NV created the Quest BEV Dragster project. In 2001, Mike produced a custom battery-electric dragster to herald drag racing legend Darrell Gwynn’s return to the U.S. Nationals. Mike fabricated the battery dragsters for and promoted the 2011 Darrell Gwynn vs. Don Garlits “Match Races for a Cause” in support of the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing.



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  1. Pingback: Garlits' Electric Powered Swamp Rat 37 to Begin Full Systems Testing Next Week - OnAllCylinders

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