Thursday, October 10, 2013

Young Racing Enthusiasts Create Their Own Le Mans

At eight and eleven years old, Christopher and JP Noga of La Grange, Ill., prove that you are never too young to get into racing. Proud members of Cub Scout pack 83, JP and Christopher are both avid car and racing enthusiasts. Winter is their favorite time of the year, as this is when their Cub Scout pack’s annual “Pinewood Derby” event is held. Hundreds of Cub Scout packs around the country hold their annual Pinewood Derby races during this season to help with the onset of cabin fever, especially in the colder regions. 

Cub master Don Murphy of Pack 280c organized the first of these Pinewood Derby events on May 15, 1953, in Manhattan Beach, California. Murphy's son was too young to participate in the popular Soap Box Derby races, so he came up with the idea of racing miniature cars made of wood. The cars featured the same gravity-powered concept as the full-size Soap Box Derby cars, but were much smaller and easier to build.
Today, Cub Scouts build a special car made of wood for these races that usually come from kits containing a block of pine, plastic wheels and metal axles. Putting together these cars is a big part of the fun and a great way to involve family members and friends in the competition. For this year’s race, JP decided to build a Ferrari, and Christopher, an avid Corvette lover, built the Compuware C6R Corvette in homage to the Corvette Racing team--recent winners of the ALMS GT title. 

Excitement was building up as race day came, and the competitors rolled out their cars to the starting line. All the time spent building, testing and setting up their entries had led to this moment. With Ferrari and Corvette being rivals at the world’s most famous race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, all eyes were on the Noga boys as they prepared to defend their car’s honor. Christopher Noga, driving the C6R, took his place behind the wheel and put together a time of 9.224 in his combined runs of four heats. His brother in the Ferrari took his runs, driving for all he was worth to put together a four heat combination time of 9.245. In a performance reminiscent of the 2011 Le Mans race, Corvette came out on top.
JP and Christopher are eagerly looking forward to their pack’s 2014 Pinewood Derby race, and already have design ideas in mind. Just like the teams that have been facing off for years in Le Mans France, the Noga brothers are working on their cars for next year, hoping it will be their turn to claim victory. One can’t help but wonder if these Pinewood Derby racers will one day find themselves on the grid of the Circuit de la Sarthe, revving their engines and ready to chase the checkered flag again.