COVENTRY, U.K. — Globally renowned clutch and brake system manufacturer, AP Racing, is supporting more than 50 percent of the upcoming LMDh starting grid with braking systems that will simultaneously enhance performance while being cost-effective.
The new systems draw on AP Racing’s extensive pedigree in the design and manufacture of premium products for world endurance racing, having supplied to successful LMP1 and Group C bids previously.
While AP Racing has supplied calipers for GT for many years with ongoing success, the upcoming LMDh classification saw them having to start afresh with designing the systems.
This is because the hybrid element and outline of the new cars could be pushing braking system elements more than previous iterations of endurance racing. Another key challenge facing the world-leading design engineers at AP Racing in this instance, was the need to produce the ultimate part but at the lowest cost possible.
Jason Carpenter, race engineer at AP Racing, said: “Efficient collaborative design was key with this project, and our design teams worked hard to reduce costs. We regularly re-assessed the effectiveness of designs to ensure we could take a sympathetic approach to machining but with no effect on performance. Making parts quicker to produce was a key aspect of this, which meant reducing machining time.”
This was not the only aspect of the project that was tailored towards reducing costs, however. Maximising product batches and careful forecasting played a key role, as did generating efficient, yet cost effective designs based on experience.
For example, with the calipers intended to last for typical mileages involved in LMDh racing – circa 5500-6000km before servicing – and much more for the overall lifecycle of the parts, AP Racing was able to use its patented Radi-CAL asymmetric design concept.
Cooling properties for the complex braking systems also needed specific attention during this project. With higher top speeds and longer stopping distances tending towards more energy and heat per braking event, this meant adapting designs accordingly to manage temperatures of components to stay within target ranges.
An additional challenge that arose during the project was the fact that the regulations for the classification had not been fully determined when design started.
Carpenter concluded: “LMDh regulations were still being agreed when we started working on our new systems, which meant we had to adapt designs as we received further information. Having a moving target when it came to the final requirements was challenging at points, but we are well-equipped for agile working, adapting designs and making modifications.
“This is why on track experience is always useful. It gives us solid starting references and knowledge of our products within a specific environment and the challenges that may be faced. So, a lot of recent LMP2 and LMH experience for AP Racing was very nice to have under our belt.
“The initial outcomes on track were close to expectation but, as always, if there is more time to exact performance based around on track data then designs can always be pushed a little more. Being race ready is key and, happily, testing so far has pretty much paralleled design expectations, which is always great to see.”
The AP Racing parts produced for LMDh are as follow:
- Six piston front calipers CP6177 family
- Six piston rear calipers CP6187 family
- C/C discs and pads
- Master cylinders