For the Red Bull Soap Box Race, set for June 9, speed is important, but creativity and showmanship count, too.
Unveiled last week at Park Tavern in Midtown, the 41 selected vehicle designs for the adults-only race range from rocket ships and bathtubs to a giant penguin and a re-creation of the Georgia Tech tower.
However, two teams whose members hail from Buckhead have gone with guaranteed crowd-pleasing themes — beer and America.
The first, the defending champion The Beer Connoisseur magazine group, plans to construct a 5-foot high by 4-foot wide wooden cask for this year’s race on 10th Street near Piedmont Park in Midtown.
Despite their best intentions, the team previously won in 2009, the last year the race took place in Atlanta, with a rolling mash tun.
“We wanted to be the slowest, most obnoxious soapbox to extend our time in the limelight,” member Chris Miller said.
Now the team’s motto is “If you’re not first, you’re last” and plan to rely on the experience to create a purposefully fast vehicle with a round, aerodynamic shape.
“We know from experience to start early because we’re going to rebuild it three times,” Miller said.
Among the challengers will be the newly formed team The Prezidents of the United States, a group of Buckhead friends who will base their soapbox car on the presidential limousine.
“We’ve got the design,” said Buckhead resident Drew Weller. “The first goal was getting accepted.”
The rules of the race state that all vehicles must be human-powered and less than 6 feet wide and 7 feet tall and very few other requirements.
Even a first-place finish is not necessary to win. Because of this, many teams create costumes and skits in an effort to sway the crowd.
The Prezidents plan on racing as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Bill Clinton.
“[Our edge] is showmanship, definitely,” Weller said. “We may not have the most sound design, but we’re the presidents.”
A Vinings group — The Comcast Team — also will participate.
The top three teams and a People’s Choice Award-winning team will be treated to a range of prizes, from a day at a local go-cart track to professional high-performance driving instruction on a closed course for all team members.