soapbox heavier is better

What's Better - Heavy or Light?

I'm building a soapbox cartie and I don't know whether to make it as heavy as possible or as light as possible. What should I do?

Physics says that - all other things being equal - a heavy soapbox will accelerate quicker and have a greater terminal velocity than a light one, so if you add weight to your cartie it will go faster.

Cool - so that means I should make it as heavy as I can?

Not necessarily. If it's a straight drag race where you need little or no braking until you get to the finish line, then yes the heavier you can make it the faster you will go. However, if you need to do any braking for corners then it depends on how good your brakes are. A lighter cartie will be able to brake later and so have a lower time on certain hills. There is an optimum weight for any given hill which depends on how good your brakes are.

Oh OK - so how can I tell what my weight should be?

You can use SCA CartieSim to model the speeds of any given cartie on any given hill and determine what is the best weight to be.

Hang on - you said heavier is faster on straight hills. Doesn't that just mean the heaviest cartie will always win?

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