The science of downhill racing, video

redlinederby Tuesday, 2/10/2015
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No matter what tools we use, or which materials, or what color we paint our sweet mods, performance all boils down to physics. Science always wins!

Now, while Hot Wheels are quite smaller than your classic Pinewood Derby cars, it's all gravity racing and the same theories apply. I was killing some time at work and found some knowledge. Some of this gets pretty deep in the weeds but it's all fascinating and a great bit of learning. Even if you don't understand all of it (I don't), there will be some tidbits you can pull out.

This video does a good job explaining the science in terms of how you want your cars to handle energy. Some of it may be hard to apply outside of Pinewood Derby but it is very enlightening.

The PhD mentioned in the video has an exhaustive list of research about Pinewood Derby physics. It's all very math-y and so a lot of it was way above my head, but it made me feel smart and had me thinking more about what I can do to make faster cars.

For all the TL;DR crowd...put your weight near the rear of your car and focus on your whees/axles. Friction is the enemy of all racing.


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CrzyTrkrDude 2/10/15

A bunch of years ago, ( when I was in a collectors club that dabbled in raceing, but not to this level) the general rule was, for curved tracks, and loops for that matter, as much weight on the base, plastic bodies, and the wheels to the corners, ( Think Chryslers " Cab Forward " design) and the car should be wide and flat on the sides so when it passes through the launcher sponges, it shoots out straight and FAST.  We don't use launchers, but hmmmmm... Isn't there a race coming up this might come in handy for????

Hope this helps someone win!!

haha The Mark Rober video! That is gold for drag racers.

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GT_Diecast 3/15/22

Love the Mark Rober video. The way he explains it is so straightforward.

What a great video!  Long, but informative and well presented.  Check out this video on how to measure potential and kinetic energy of a diecast car.  Then following Mark's suggestions, see how much improvement you get by each of the mods.

Good luck.

How to Measure Diecast Car performance

Wow, this is brilliant, lots of interesting facts that you can add, wondering how much of that will work to 1:64 cars?

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