Joined: 24th Apr 2009
Ride: Mazda( kinda FORD..!)
Location: Sydney, Australia
Taking your car to the track for the first time is very nerve-wracking, and lots of fun! A little beforehand preparation and knowledge could be the difference among costing you the entry and service fees OR a ride home on a tow truck.
Seasoned Amateur racers who regularly attend track / club sprint days would suggest that only a healthy engine, good brakes and generally a roadworthy car along with some common sense being the minimum essentials. A quick search on forums will return pages of great advice on track day preparations for any level of car.
What I would like to cover in this article is something that is rarely asked and sometimes assumed by many including first timers to already know.
What to do with your brakes at a track day, more specifically how to manage your brakes throughout the day and how to reduce brake fade.
Brake Fade would be in the top five topics of discussion for any racer. It’s not surprising because everyone relies on the brakes to stop!!!
What is brake fade?
Reduction of friction level, particularly at high temperatures.
Braking converts the kinetic energy (speed) of the car into heat, which is carried away from the car by running cooling air over and through the brakes. If heat is going into the brakes faster than it can be taken away the brake temperature will rise.
Different friction materials have different optimum operating temperatures, but all will show a reduction in friction level when overheated.
How to stop or minimize brake fade?
1) Use a brake pad capable of functioning effectively at high temperature
2) Reduce the temperature of the brakes, either by adjusting driving style or by improving airflow to the brakes. Cooling ducts can be very effective.
3) Upgrade the brake system. Bigger brake rotors can absorb more heat with a lower temperature rise, and can be cooled more effectively.
How to manage your brakes throughout the day?
Basil an National Account Manager and amateur race car driver provides the following advice.
o Warm the brakes so they are at the optimum temperature for the 1st flying lap. A series of acceleration and medium force braking will warm both brakes and tyres. Ensure brakes are up to temp with a full speed brake on the final corner before your first flying lap.
o If brakes fade during a track day allow a slower lap to cool the brakes and this will allow another fast lap/laps once they come back. In a race this is not practical, you will need to adjust your braking points to compensate.
o Look at your brake package, i.e. rotor size, calipers and brake pad material, and upgrade if fade continues to be an issue.
How does Bendix Ultimates and SRT deal with Brake fade ?
Ultimate and SRT are formulated to maintain a consistent friction level across a wide range of temperatures. For more information on both Bendix Ultimate and Bendix SRT Click Here
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