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Longer wheelbases go faster

December 29th, 2005 · 1 Comment

Putting your wheels out at the corners of the car will help make your car more stable. Remember, the less your car moves around, the faster it will be. So why does putting the wheels at the very ends help? Let’s try an experiment.

Go grab a pinewood derby car block and a pencil. If you don’t have a pinewood derby block you can use something about the same size and shape like the box your car came in or a large candy bar. Now lay the pencil down on the table and lay your car down on top of it. Notice how high off the table the end of the car is. Now move the pencil toward the end of the car and notice how high off the table the end is. Now move the pencil toward the middle of the car and notice how high the end of the car is.

As you move the pencil toward the middle of the car, the end of the car is raised higher and higher. Now think about your car’s front wheel going over a bump in the road, like that pencil. The closer to the middle of the car the wheel is, the higher up the front end of your car will move. The closer the wheel is to the end of the car, the less movement that bump will cause.

Check your local rules, because not all rules will allow you to change where your wheels are attached. But if you can, it’s an easy way to make your car a lot faster.


1 comment so far ↓

  • Bill Klingler // Jun 26, 2012 at 1:22 am

    This is fascinating. Let’s say you are racing on a Brand New aluminum Freedom track. There are no bumps. You have a standard wheelbase car where you have shifted the wheelbase toward the rear. The rear wheels now line up with the rear wheels of the extended wheelbase car. The CM is the same on both cars. Both cars are rail riders. Everything else is perfect. The standard wheelbase car should win because of the Physics involved when the cars travel through the curve. However, we all know the experts run extended wheelbase cars when allowed. It must be due to stability and the stability overcomes the disadvantage an extended wheelbase car has going through the curve.

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