Grand Prix Racing - How To Make A Fast Pinewood Car

Take a Stand!

You've worked hard anticipating great things. Your excitement builds and the wait begins. This may be the most critical time in the life of your car - what happens to it between now and the race. Here's a simple stand you can make to help avoid the many troubles that can visit a car on your shelf at home and especially on the "parking lot" table at the race.

The parking lot table is where you and all of your competitors will place the Grand Prix cars after check in. The table is often edged with masking tape to help coral cars that might otherwise launch off the table when it is bumped. It is always getting bumped! Design judging takes place in this parking lot too.

A car stand immobilizes your car and makes it stand out a little above the rest. The design judges will know you valued the time spent on your car enough to protect your result and present it nicely.

A simple car stand prevents pit area accidents.

To make a simple stand:

  1. Cut an 8 inch long piece of 3/4 inch by 1 1/2 inch pine (commonly called a 1-by-2).
  2. Mark and cut two grooves just less than 1/2 inch from each end of the face of the block. Make it about 1/4 inch deep. Pieces of cardboard or plastic from a lid will be slotted into them.
  3. Cover the blocks with construction paper. Green is perceived to look like grass, black or gray looks like pavement (don't forget the dashed, white divider line!). Smear school glue on the block and wrap the paper around it. Cut and flatten the ends. Glue them down neatly.
  4. Find the slots with your finger nail and make an indentation along each slot to mark them.
  5. Cut through the paper at the indentations with a hobby knife.
  6. Cut out two rectangles to fit into the slots. The one at the rear is there just to keep your car from sliding off the block. It can be shorter than the front one. Make the front rectangle taller so you can put your name on it. The rectangles can be made from cardboard, stiff transparency film or if you have a plastic lid, rectangles cut from that work fine.
  7. Use Paint, rubber stamps or transfer lettering to identify your car and decorate the rectangles.
  8. Glue the rectangles into their slots on the block with school glue. If you bend them in a bit or angle the slots in a little, they may be all you need to hold your car in place.
  9. To attach your car more securely to the stand, hot glue a small piece of Velcro to the bottom of your car and the top of the stand under it. Use the fuzzy part on the car. Make sure you still have median clearance before you glue it on. If you can't do that, make a strap around your car by tacking opposite faces of Velcro to the sides of the block.

Whenever your car is not on the track, keep it latched to the stand to protect it. It's a little easier to hold onto without disturbing the wheels and finish. You still need to be careful, Velcro lets go when jolted.

For the serious competitor
Always "lock" your car in the parking lot!
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Grand Prix Racing - How To Make A Fast Pinewood Car
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