The AI contest is very interesting, so I went on a quest to provide a new search algorithm.
I found one in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuckoo_search. Here is my implementation.
To use it, you must first download the test pack from viewtopic.php?f=4&t=99#p597
Unzip the files from the attached Cuckoo.zip in the same directory.
Point your browser to "cuckoo.html".
I have tested it in Firefox 4 and Internet Explorer 8. IE8 seems to crash occasionally, can't find the cause.
As proof of concept, I include a graph of one of my test runs on speedway (iterations vs time), all the way down from random cars to 14.76
You can set some parameters if you edit the cuckoo.html
I would appreciate your comments on various values for FLIGHT_SCALE, which corresponds to overall mutation rate, and WHEEL_FREQ which corresponds specific to mutation rate of wheels.