Set to take place on September 16 on Sandton Drive in Johannesburg, the 2018 iteration of Red Bull Box Cart Race will see as many as 80 teams battle it out for the title.

Inspired by those set to take part in the downhill race and want to create your hand-made, non-motorised machine? Well, here are a few guidelines, courtesy of the folks over at Red Bull…

Use a solid base

Start with something that is already a reasonably proven and robust platform. You see so many box carts with a bicycle or go-kart design as the basis, or with elements of those things, and those tend to have a strong chance of working. You need strong wheels and strong axles, because it isn’t a smooth ride – there are bumps and jumps. You often see box carts take off, and everything looks fast and under control, but when they land, the wheels are broken and splayed … and it’s game over. They need to be pretty robust, not carry too much weight and have slippery bearings.

Get the basics right

If something is built on a sensible chassis – with a robust frame, four wheels and a means of steering – you can stick pretty much anything on top of it. You can put a metres-high Christmas cake on top or make it as aerodynamically efficient as you want. Still, with some of the really elaborate ones, you just know they aren’t going to make it to the bottom of the hill (even though they look really impressive). Yet some are built from scratch and, despite looking as though they’ll be slow and fall apart, they somehow work.

Pay attention to the weight

If you want to go quickly, your bodyweight should be low-sited as possible. The designs that tend to go the quickest are those that position the driver low and between the wheels, rather than up high.

Pay attention to aerodynamics

It may sound silly for a box cart, but aerodynamics do play a part. If you have plenty of flat surfaces and various things sticking up into the air, drag will slow you down. Again, if you build the box cart with the driver’s position low, then you are going to minimise drag.

Red Bull's final piece of advice? To have fun!


The Red Bull Box Cart Race is an international event that takes place across five locations in 2018, including Italy, Bulgaria, the United States and Portugal. Sandton, though, will offer the steepest track of the year.

CAR magazine will be at the event, so be sure to follow our view of the action on Instagram and Twitter