A major advantage to mag-lev is the tremendous reduction of friction in the vehicle/track interface. The introduction of wheels in the design would tend to negate this advantage and thus decrease performance. On the other hand, I would be surprised if real-world mag-lev vehicles don't use some type of guide wheels/skids to prevent incidental contact with the track. Imagine a mag-lev train screaming along at 100+ MPH experiencing a loss of levitation. Wheels/skids are needed to prevent/minimize damage.
Since the vehicle is likely to contact the track at one or more points during a run, it could be beneficial to have some type of wheels/skids to reduce friction if/when contact occurs. If there are no magnets in the vehicle, it's fairly easy to come to the conclusion it doesn't comply! Whether "levitation" occurs could be more difficult to determine. Simply state that "Magnets must be used to levitate the vehicle. When sitting at rest on the track in the starting position, no point on the vehicle may contact the track."
Let the contestants discover what is beneficial and what is not. If they use something detrimental to performance, the lack of investigation/understanding will be reflected in the score.
Of course this is always subject to interpretation/misinterpretation. Your comments/suggestions are welcome!
Flavorflav wrote:they get to wrap around the rail, which is a solution that is not open to us.
No, but the rail "wraps" around the vehicle.