Winning Pinewood Derbies - Basics

So what does it take to make a winning car?  Below I out line some of the basic and key things you need to do.  You may read tips in books or at other sites but often they are just conjecture.  Most are good but some you can't really be sure if they work.  Now it may not be possible to test everything, however I have made an attempt to test some of the key ideas to see if they work.  In addition looking at the data you can get an idea of how much of an impact a modification might have.

So here are some of the basic things you need to do

  • Make the car streamlined, the race is short enough that areodynamics doesn't play a huge part but you still want to avoid blocky designs , streamers or flags.
  • De burr and polish axles, (article coming soon).
  • Make the weight of the car close to maximum, (but don't go crazy trying to get it exact).  Article here
  • Lubricate your axles with a graphite / molybdenum lubricate.  Article here

If you want to take your car to the next level then I recommend the following:

  • Lengthen the wheel base, (coming soon)
  • Make the center of gravity around 4 1/2 -5 inches from front of the car.  Article here
  • Round and polish wheels (article coming soon)
  • Cut speed axles (article coming soon)
  • Select the four fastest wheel/axle combinations. Described in this article
  • Put the slowest wheel/axle combination on the front and raise it off the track. Article here.

Remember to have fun.