Pinewood Freak

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Weight to the back

December 14th, 2005 · No Comments

On most tracks, you want to put the weight as far back as you can on the car while still keeping the car stable. This maximizes the potential energy of the car. Potential energy is the energy your car has stored up while it waits to be dropped down the track.

Why does it matter to put it higher? Let’s try an experiment. Go grab two eggs. Hold one egg an inch over your kitchen counter. Now drop it. It might crack a little, and even leak, or it might even stay intact. Now take the other egg and hold it as high above the counter as you can. Drop it. Which egg made the bigger mess? The egg you held higher up was moving faster by the time it hit the counter because it had farther to call.

The same thing applies to your pinewood car. The farther the weight has to drop, the faster your car will go because you’ll have more energy converted to speed.

However, if you put the weight too far back, you’ll make the front end too light and every little bump on the track will make the front end bounce. And movement is the enemy of speed.

A good rule of thumb is to center the weight about an inch to an inch and a half in front of the rear axle. If you have a car with an extended wheelbase, you should try an inch and a half. If you have a standard wheelbase, you can move closer to an inch in front of the wheels.

Remember at the beginning when I said this works for most tracks? Here’s when you want to put your weight at the front.

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