I think that's what they thought, but I just repeated Newton's famous experiment (I used an apple and a grape) and it seems gravity is still working the same nowadays. So the weight can not help acceleration. I suppose a lower CG would help a bit in the turns, but it seems to me that any such gain would be outweighed by the losses in friction (rolling resistance, bearing friction, steering vibration). Just a SWAG, though. I'd also guess that the difference the ballast makes (positive or negative) is probably much smaller than the effect of the driver's performance.I would have thought the ballast would add weight to help them get down the hill faster...
It suddenly occurs to me I meant 'Newton.' Oops.Galileo didn't compare a feather to a lump of lead, or he might have got a different answer, except in a vacuum, which he also didn't have available.
Max weight means max gravity force - minus the drag, which is more dependent on area, and not changed by the ballast, unless you make a sail out of it! It's the nett difference in those forces that gets divided by the mass. -poke-
I'll buy that. But wouldn't a momentum strategy only pay off if there were flatter sections on the track where the cars were decelerating? Whereas it appears in the video that the cars continued to gain speed for the large majority of the run.the ballast actual helps with momentum.....the heavier car will carry its speed further.
I don't have a bicyclist handy. Which is it?Neat video.
As for the ballast question--that's why max weight rather than min weight is specified. Or just ask any bicyclist who will go faster coasting down hill--the 110 lb lady on a 22 lb bike or the 180 male on a 27 lb bike (all else being essentially equal, of course).