Mercier-Jones Hovercraft Unveiled at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Survivalist Display at Sept. 19-22 Charlotte AutoFair
For years, the hovercraft has represented the ultimate in all-terrain vehicles, a futuristic mode of transport capable of traveling with ease over almost any type of surface. The prototype for just such a machine was unveiled Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where it will be on display as part of this weekend's Charlotte AutoFair.
Michael Mercier built his first ACV from plans he found in a Boy's Life magazine in ninth grade. He later earned a degree in mechanical engineering with plans to develop his own model. Mercier-Jones (started with cousin Chris Jones), now has a prototype that will "bring you the future of hovercraft design."
The Mercier-Jones design features an open cockpit where a pair of bucket seats is arranged in tandem fashion. At 149 inches bow to stern, the craft is about four inches longer than a Mini Cooper, although it is about 20 inches wider and 14 inches shorter.
Weight is a surprisingly low 800 pounds, about the same as a new Harley-Davidson Road King with full accessories. Construction techniques from automotive, marine, and aerospace industries, and liberal use of carbon fiber and metal alloys, help it step lightly on the scale.
The Mercier-Jones utilizes a patent-pending hybrid propulsion system that is quiet and efficient. It has a 40-horsepower, motorcycle-style, V-twin engine that charges a battery pack, which runs three independent motors spinning one lift fan and two side-mounted directional fans. A 10-gallon fuel tank gives the Mercier-Jones pilot up to five hours or 150 miles of cruising range. Estimated performance figures put the amphibian somewhere between boat and economy car territory - zero-to-50 takes 10 seconds, cruising speed is 35 miles per hour, and it tops out at 80.
The Mercier-Jones hovercraft is expected to sell for around $30,000 when it enters the market.
At this weekend's AutoFair, the Mercier-Jones hovercraft will be on display as part of the apocalypse survival vehicles display, alongside vehicles like the Local Motors Rally Fighter, Can-Am Maverick X rs utility terrain vehicle from Carolina Truggies and Organic Transit ELF solar/pedal-powered bike car. Although there's no such mention in the Mercier-Jones sales materials, the hovercraft would likely be on the short list of those looking to survive the undead in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
The fall AutoFair features more than 50 car club displays and more than 7,000 vendor spaces that offer a vast array of automotive parts and memorabilia. More than 1,500 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway. In addition, up to 200 cars will be auctioned by Dealer Auctions Inc., and kids can enjoy bounce houses and other games and entertainment in the huge Play Zone.
Hours for the Sept. 19-22 AutoFair are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Ticket prices are $10 per day for adults and children 13 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Fans who buy three tickets get the fourth day free. Parking for the event is $5. For more information on the four-day event, contact the speedway events department at (704) 455-3205 or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
To purchase tickets, call the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267), or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
Keep up with all the latest news from the speedway by liking Charlotte Motor Speedway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.com or following on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cltmotorspdwy.
Hundreds of fans gathered along Bruton Smith Boulevard and at the entrance of Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday to help the legendary facility kick off an action-packed fall season during the 5th annual Parade of Power.
With more than 32,000 horsepower on display and cars representing 16 race events scheduled through the end of the year, fans enjoyed a parade, a question-and-answer session with NASCAR, NHRA and GRC stars, free monster truck rides and more during the free event.
"We've got The Dirt Track cranking up this weekend with the monster trucks and that means it's time to start our fall Season of Speed," Marcus Smith, Charlotte Motor Speedway president and general manager, said. "Most speedways don't have the events in a full year that we have in just this fall season. It's a great opportunity for fans to enjoy all the fun Charlotte Motor Speedway has to offer."
David Ragan, driver of the No. 34 Peanut Patch Ford for Front Row Motorsports, piloted a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car in the parade.
"Charlotte Motor Speedway not only has a lot of tremendous races out here at all the different tracks they have, but they give a lot back to the community," said Ragan. "I try to come out and support them any time I can. I'm a big race fan as well, so the races that I'm not strapped into, we'll definitely be watching. We'll come out to some of The Dirt Track races and if we're off on Sunday, we'll come out to the NHRA races."
Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Cargill Ford for Roush Fenway Racing; NHRA Top Fuel driver Doug Herbert; Scott Speed, GRC driver of the WIX Filters, N.O.-XPLODE Ford for DRR-SH; Global Rallycross driver Steve Arpin; Matt and Angie Smith, NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle riders; Wendy Venturini, Fox Sports 1 reporter and Better Half Dash driver; and George Brunnhoelzl, defending NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion; among others, also drove their racing machines in the parade.
The parade also included a monster truck, a fire truck with Santa representing Speedway Christmas, Corvettes representing the Charlotte AutoFair, a hot rod representing the Goodguys Southeastern Nationals and more.
The complete fall Season of Speed schedule follows (all events take place at the 1.5-mile superspeedway, unless otherwise noted):
Aug. 10 Circle K Back-to-School Monster Truck Bash, The Dirt Track
Sept. 11 Laps for Life Blood Drive
Sept. 13-15 NHRA Carolina Nationals, zMAX Dragway
Sept. 19-22 Charlotte AutoFair
Sept. 22 Global Rallycross, The Dirt Track
Oct. 4-6 Charlotte Super Diesel Show, zMAX Dragway
Oct. 10 Bojangles' Pole Night, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and UNOH Southern Slam 150, NASCAR Whelen Modified Southern Modified Tour
Oct. 11 Dollar General 300, NASCAR Nationwide Series
Oct. 12 Bank of America 500, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Oct. 25-27 Goodguys Southeastern Nationals
Oct. 25-26 XDRL, zMAX Dragway
Nov. 7-9 World Finals, World of Outlaws, The Dirt Track
Nov. 22-Dec. 30 Speedway Christmas
Nov. 29 Souvenir and Race Ticket Blowout
Dec. 7 Speed for Children in Need, benefitting SCC and The Hendrick Marrow Program
For more information on any of the fall Season of Speed events, including ticket pricing, camping availability or other details, visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. For the latest updates, connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.
Chevrolet Performance presents the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour® driven by Continental Tire at zMAX Dragway, Friday, June 7 from noon until 7 p.m. The Power Tour, one of the most famed automotive tours in the world, will spend its final day of its seven-day, seven-city journey in Concord, N.C.
See the pages of Hot Rod Magazine come to life as thousands of performance vehicles from across the globe descend upon Concord for the RK Motors Cruise Night during their annual 1,400-mile tour of America's car-crazy towns. The Power Tour is the signature event of Hot Rod Magazine, featuring more than a half billion dollars worth of chrome and automotive eye candy.
Event organizers will also attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the most cars doing a simultaneous burnout at the conclusion of Friday's activities.
12 p.m.-8 p.m. RK Motors Cruise Night show hours
12 p.m. Registration opens and tour begins to arrive
12 p.m.-7 p.m. Lucas Oil Dyno Challenge open to all registered participants
12 p.m.- 6 p.m. "Miss Hot Rod" and TV host of "Overhaulin'," "PowerBlock" and "Million Dollar Motors," Courtney Hansen, signing autographs at the SEMA display
1 p.m.-7 p.m. Quarter-mile fun runs on the strip - a part of the Mothers Driving Experience
1 p.m.-7 p.m. Game Zone at main stage (spin-to-win; hot rod trivia, etc.)
5 p.m.-7 p.m. Activities, giveaways and sponsor/VIP interviews at main stage
6:30 p.m. RK Motors giveaway at the main stage
6 p.m. Registration closes
7 p.m. World record breaking group burnout on zMAX Dragway
Local hot rodders can join the Tour for the one-day local stop for only $30 on-site or go to www.hotrod.com for more info on how to register your hot rod for the rest of the tour. Spectators are invited to come out and see the cars for free!
Connect with zMAX Dragway and stay up to speed with all the happenings at the Bellagio of drag strips on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zmaxdragway and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zmaxdragway.