"I think we could do something, although I tend to show not tell."
That was the demure response Rattlesnake Electric Sport principal Richard Hilleman sent us after we inquired as to whether he wanted to discuss his latest kart and his desire to set the overall electric lap record at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the upcoming Refuel Sport Electric TT. He went on to say that he could get us some footage from some pre-event testing last weekend, but after suffering a technical difficulty that didn't happen. We've since heard everything should be ready for primetime.
The Rattlesnake 4 (pictured above) is a carbon fiber arrow poised to slice into the 1:31.376 time set down by Kevin Mitz in the Kleenspeed EV-X11 in 2012. Originally a MKI Monaco R1 250 Euro Superkart, its drivetrain has been transplanted with a permanent magnet electric motor from Zero Motorcycles, and uses a size-six Sevcon controller to pull juice from the custom three-kWh lithium polymer battery. Hilleman suggests that the new configuration can dish out in excess of 75 horsepower and says testing has seen 0-to-60 times in "the two-second range." With bodywork designed to keep the kart glued to the track, we expect to be impressed as we watch it snake its way through the coil of the infamous corkscrew on Sunday.
After the competition, Rattlesnake 4 will be used as a demonstrator for the RES Road Race Championship series. In addition to this impressive piece of track-destroying machinery, the outfit has also produced a Rattlesnake 3, which is similar to the karts from 2013 but with a ton of improvements involving better weight balance and titanium bits, and has been racing them in the Zero Motorcycles Group2 EKart Championship.
Lady Luck seems to have more than her fair share to say about these matters, and there will be others arriving with similar intentions and impressive arsenals. Still, Hilleman has proven to be a man whose actions manage to meet expectations, so we won't be completely surprised if he achieves his goal. Stay tuned.