Aerodynamics and Pinewood Derby Designs

Derby Monkey 2 - Pinewood Derby Designs Leave a Comment

There is a controversy regarding the importance of aerodynamics and Pinewood Derby racing. Some believe the car is too small and achieving great enough speeds where aerodynamics makes any difference. Others are convinced that having an aerodynamic car design creates a huge speed advantage.  Both sides can offer statistics and research to back up their positions.

At Derby Monkey Garage, we say ″It may or may not help… but build it low-profile anyway… it can′t hurt”.

The Derby Monkey Garage builds all of its “Xtreme Speed Series” cars with a very low profile body. This creates an extremely aerodynamic car that should cut through the wind with ease as it races down the track.

A low profile car design also reduces the wood weight of the car allowing an experienced builder to place tungsten weights exactly where its needed in order to place the center of gravity at the optimum location.

The Derby Monkey believes a  Pinewood Derby car should be designed to move as little air as possible as it speeds down the track. When we compare two cars with identical characteristics, except that one car has better aerodynamics, the car with good aerodynamics always seems to perform better. Pinewood Derby races are often won, and lost, by only a thousandth of a second so every little bit of speed increase is worth the effort.

Your young scout may have already drawn or envisioned this super cool looking car that he wants you to build. Before it’s too late, you should discuss this idea with him. The best looking cars are seldom the fastest cars.

However, with a cool paint job, you can make a thin body car look awesome.

But also remember, the Pinewood Derby experience is for the father and son to work together. If it means more to him to have the car design he wants then build it. You can always build your own car and enter it in the open class.

Follow these important factors while planning and building your car in order to make it as aerodynamic as possible.

1. Design a car body that is as low-profile as possible, we go 1/4″ thick.
2. Use tungsten to weight the car because a little bit goes a long way.
3. Round and smooth all edges of the car.
4. Do not ad accessories such as drivers, flags, engines, spoilers, etc. These only act like parachutes slowing the car down.
5. Fill holes and pockets with body putty, wood filler, bondo, glue or foam sealer. The easiest body filler to work with is Monkey Mud

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