Here is some general track information.
- Track Analysis: Here are some places that you can go to get some information to help you determine if your track is a "fair" track.
- How Good is Your Pinewood Derby Track? - Some analysis from Stan Pope.
- How Many Lanes is Best? The most common track size is 4 lanes, followed by 3 lanes. If you are looking to buy a track, generally you will find 2 through 6 lane versions being offered. If you build one, you can make it be any number of lanes. I have heard of some 8 lane tracks and even a couple of 12 lane tracks, but the greater number of lanes that you have, the more problems that you will run into. Here are some things to consider when trying to determine how many lanes your new tack should have.
- Staging Cars - The more lanes that you have, the longer it will take to get all of the cars staged at the start line, which will make for a longer race overall. However, with some basic organization of your race staff, you can keep this to a minimum.
- Timing Systems - For commercial serial port timers you can find them to support from 1 to 8 lanes, though over 6 lanes, your choices will be limited. You can build a custom serial port timer, that will accommodate more lanes, but then you will probably need some custom software to communicate with it.
- Race Scheduling - If you run with a method that has each racer race on each lane, then the more lanes you have, the more times a racer gets to race. However, some scheduling methods only work up to 6 lanes. Other methods may allow for more lanes, but they most likely will not do a good job of having each racer race against as many other racers as possible.
- Race Management Software - It is easy enough to find software that will support 4 lanes, but your choices narrow as there are more or less lanes. With less choice, you may not be able to find software that will let you run your race as you would like to.
- Track Section Alignment - The wider the track, the harder it will be to keep the sections in good alignment across all of the lanes. Over the years, this may become even more of a problem.
- Storage - A larger track takes up more storage space, which is something to keep in mind. Also, the more lanes that a track has and the longer it is, the heavier it will be, which becomes an issue when transporting the track.