Race Information

Date and Location

The next NATCAR will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2018.

IMPORTANT NOTE: There have been some rule changes. Please see the revised rules. In particular, cars must automatically stop at the finish line or they incur a 4 second time penalty. In addition, the course will no longer have a current-carrying wire under the white tape, so magnetic sensing is no longer an option. Also, each car must have a manual kill switch that can be used to stop a run-away car.

The event will be held in the ballroom of the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC). For directions to the ARC, please see the Contact and Directions page.


IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO COME to Davis for this race, please RSVP by email (natcar@ucdavis.edu) by May 1, 2018,, if possible. (Late entries will be accepted as long as there is still room.) Please include a list of teams with the names of all team members and indicate if any competitors are graduate students or returning competitors. Also indicate anyone else who is planning to come and what their affiliation is (e.g., Professor, TA).

Teams MUST arrive and register by 12:00. Lunch will be available when you arrive (for registered racers and affiliates only). We will then go over the rules with everyone, check over the cars and answer any questions. The race will begin at 1:00 PM and should be done before 3:30 PM. We have to be out of the room this year by 4:00 PM.

Practice Time
This year we will make the competition area open for practice between 7:30am and 12:00pm. There will be several small tracks set up so students can tune their sensing systems. For example, teams using optical sensing can tune their system to the lighting and carpet conditions.

At 12:00, we will provide lunch for the participants and we will set up the competition track. There will be no practice runs on the actual competition track.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If too many teams want to participate, we may have to limit the number of teams that can compete from each university, which means that there must be sufficient time for us to notify all of the competing schools and for them to hold internal races (or whatever other method they choose to use) to determine who may come. Therefore, you must notify natcar@ucdavis.edu by May 1, and you must receive a confirmation from us (specifying the number of teams you are allowed), or you will not be guaranteed a place in the race (i.e., we may limit you to fewer teams, or even no teams if there isn’t space)

Practice Runs and Last-Minute Work

We will provide two small practice tracks on which you may test your car and make any last-minute adjustments. When the race is under way, the next two teams due up will have priority on these tracks (see the rules). Please note that the ARC ballroom is a carpeted facility and we will NOT permit any soldering or other work that could damage the room, so you should NOT expect to be able to do any real work on your car. The competition also moves quickly enough that it is usually impossible to do any significant work on the day of the competition.

The schedule does not allow time for everyone to make significant adjustments to their cars prior to the race beginning, so you must come with your car ready to race. As described in the race rules you are guaranteed 3 minutes on the warmup track, but you cannot count on having more time than that.

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