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How to Make a Fast Awana Grand Prix Car

There are a few tricks to make a pinewood car go faster.
toy wooden cars image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com

Awana is a Christian organization geared toward children ages 4 to 18. One event that Awana hosts every year is a pinewood Grand Prix race similar to the races done by the Boy Scouts. Each participant is responsible for building their own car. There are some tricks that you can employ to make a car go faster. However, luck and the style of the track also play a factor in how fast the vehicle will go.

Create a design for the car that is built for speed. Heavier cars that are streamlined will travel faster than cars that have a lot of wind resistance. The ideal design should look somewhat like a real racecar, which are designed to minimize wind resistance. If you choose a streamlined design, however, remember that the car still must weigh 5 ounces. You will need to leave room to add additional weight with a streamlined design. Put the majority of the weight toward the back of the car.

Cut out the car design and sand and paint the car as desired. The fastest cars are not painted around the wheels to reduce friction in that area.

Inspect the wheels for irregularities. Usually it is illegal to use wheels that did not come in the original kit, but you can sand them to eliminate burs and to even the wheel so that it is perfectly round.

Polish the axles with steel wool and metal polish to eliminate burs.

Lubricate the wheels and axles with graphite powder.

Secure the axles inside the bottom of the car. Check the alignment before gluing the wheels into place. Test run the car by rolling it down a book ramp. If the car drifts to one side, then the axles are not aligned properly. Adjust how they sit in the car and then glue into place.

Drill several holes into the back of the car. Place the weights inside the holes until the car weighs just under 5 ounces. Glue the weights in place with wood glue.

Things You'll Need:

  • Pinewood car kit
  • Miter saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Spray paint
  • Steel wool
  • Metal polish
  • Graphite powder
  • Wood glue
  • Weights
  • Small scale
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