I don't think they would change the build portion of the event THAT much, although it will definitely be to the extent that nobody could use unmodified devices from this year for next year's competitions. Hovercraft will most likely keep electric motors, though they might change the maximum voltage or number of motors allowed. Most likely it will be changes to the rules pertaining to the competition itself, such as the track setup, number of runs allowed, or the scoring system, and they will hopefully be more clear than the 2017 rules (for example, the "or" in section 5.m. can be interpreted in two vastly different ways). The test will probably remain mostly the same though. I'm hoping that next year's rules will specify a specific track material to be used at all competitions, so we won't have to worry about different track surfaces affecting our hovercraft's performance.\I really am praying for fastest wins, I had a design that got under a second!
I would wager that they will not ever make the competition fastest wins, because Chalker has said multiple times that fast is a safety issue, which was the whole problem with maglev. I also think that he said slower is harder from an engineering stand point too? Correct me if I'm wrong Chalker, which you already have multiple times today XD.
You'd be right to assume that faster is more dangerous.... On our second trial during a Ohio invitational, our <1 second vehicle (it was the only vehicle we had at the time) slammed into the barrier unexpectedly forcefully, and dented the shielding. This compounded in the denting of our shielding and a few textbooks on the floor... Faster is not a good idea, but you never know, the people who make the rules make mistakes too.
Now that chalker is watching, may I suggest rubber band powered Hover? It would certainly make for safer vehicle!