Maybe you had a remote control car when you were a kid.
Odds are it didn’t break even 50 mph, let alone 200. This car, though, is something special. It’s a prime example of the subset of hobby vehicles called “tether cars.” These tiny speedsters race around a circular track, regularly reaching speeds unheard of by the standard slot car or RC vehicle enthusiast. Tether car racing has a long and storied history. It all got started in the 1930’s when someone (the name is lost to history) got the bright idea to mount a model airplane engine to a tiny cart.
From this simple beginning, tether car racing exploded into an international hobby with tracks all over the world. Every three years, the Tether Car Racing World Championships pit the fastest of the fast against each other, with hobbyists vying for the year’s record. In 2009, driver Gualtiero Picco won the championship, reaching a maximum speed of 214.358 mph. The car in this video doesn’t quite break that record, but it brushes right up against it. As the tether car zips around the track, picking up speed, a digital speedometer tracks the acceleration. After a few laps, the car gets up to 204 mph!
That’s pretty good for such a small vehicle.
Interestingly, tether cars aren’t actually radio controlled. They’re powered by tiny two-stroke engines, complete with a fuel tank. Lately, though, some competitors have introduced cars with electric motors that zip around the track at blistering speeds. Tether cars don’t have any steering apparatus. Instead, they’re attached to a central pole by a line, which keeps them on the track. If you’ve never heard of a tether car, you’re in for a treat. Watch this video and then try not to go out and build one yourself. This hobby appeals to the speed demon inside us all.