It might only have three wheels, and it’s considerably smaller than the real Batmobile, but one thing is for certain: If Batman drove the Batmobile designed by the Watertown-Mayer Supermileage Challenge team, the superhero would’ve gotten a lot better gas mileage while fighting bad guys in Gotham City.
Michael Burns, Zack Eliason, Jack Brueggemeier and Isaac Vries drove the replica Batmobile on May 14-15 in the modified division of the Supermileage Challenge at Brainerd International Raceway. Sponsored by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association for most of its 25-year existence, the Supermileage Challenge is an event where high school students try to build the most fuel-efficient vehicle possible. Nearly 500 students from 50 schools built more than 80 cars to compete in this year’s Supermileage Challenge, which included E-85 (ethanol), modified, stock and electric divisions.
“We have a Batman suit to go with the vehicle, but it’s too hot to bring that out today,” Burns said while standing in the 95-degree heat and waiting for his team’s turn to run.
Watertown-Mayer’s Batmobile replica had a top run of 714.48 miles per gallon (mpg), good enough for second place in the modified division. In 17 total runs, it averaged 527.12 mpg.
The replica Batmobile was painted two years ago and the body work was completed last year.
“We’re always tinkering with it,” Burns said. “I’m sure it will only get bigger and better.”
In addition to the BatMobile, the Watertown-Mayer Supermileage team, made up of 16 sophomores and juniors, had a car take third place in the stock class at 476 miles per gallon. Overall, the Watertown-Mayer team completed over 200 miles of racing.
Supermileage was such a fantastic experience for me,” Watertown-Mayer student Jon Vouk said. Making the car with all of my friends was a blast, but the actual event was the best. Racing the car was really neat. Whenever we had our car lined up, it was always turning heads. We easily had the best looking car there. I really enjoyed this year, and I can’t wait to win first next year.”
Teammate Ben Hayden said Supermileage is a valuable experience because it exposes students to different career paths.
“For me, Supermileage was a great experience,” Hayden said. “I learned a lot about engines and welding. These are things I might want to explore as a career.”
Dana Vraspir, the advisor for the Watertown-Mayer team, agreed that Supermileage can have a lot of benefits for students.
“Being exposed to the world of engineering and mechanics is a great opportunity for students and we are very grateful for the generous donations from the Watertown Lions and Royals Booster Club,” Vraspir said.
Members of the team that attended the state competition included sophomores Jon Vouk, Luke Juusola, Isaac Vraspir, Zach Eliason, Alex Gillett and Jack Brueggemeier, juniors Nick DeNomme, Zach Zuelzke, Allan Janikula, Matt Henderson, Mike Herd, Dillon Derner, Colby Welch, Mitchell Diers and Ben Hayden, and advisors Dana Vraspir and Aaron Vraspir.