Brembo Explains NASCAR Brakes


All NASCAR Cup Series enthusiasts have the number of their favorite driver inscribed on their hearts: some love 48 (Jimmie Johnson), some go crazy for 18 (Kyle Busch), others are fans of 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) and still others think the world of 4 (Kevin Harvick).

The only number that has been officially retired from NASCAR is 61, which is the number Richie Evans used before his fatal crash in 1985 at Martinsville Speedway. Evans won more than 400 Whelen Modified races and earned the Nascar National Modified Championship title eight times in a row from 1978 to 1985.

Many believe that Richard Petty’s 43 and Dale Earnhardt’s 3 ought to be retired as well. The same honor should be bestowed on Jeff Gordon’s 24 and number 21 used by the Wood Brothers Racing Team. We at Brembo aren’t sure because some of us think it’s right to retire the numbers of legends, others think the opposite.

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But experts all agree on one thing: NASCAR race cars can’t forego use of the brakes, even when competing on oval tracks. To highlight the importance of these components, we have put together a list of 28 numbers having to do with brakes.

0: the times the drivers use the brakes during the race on large size oval tracks such as Indianapolis, Talladega and Daytona for true braking events, except for the lap to return to the pits or for an accident. But the brakes are used on these tracks when a car is right behind another one, in order to avoid a contact. The drivers prefer to apply the brakes just a little and keep the engine at full speed, rather than not touching the brakes and having to release the throttle.​ ​

2​: the number of NASCAR Cup Series in which Martin Truex Jr. ranked in the first 2 positions. With his Furniture Row Racing Team Toyota, equipped with Brembo brakes, he won eight races and the title in 2017 while in the 2018 championship he won 4 races and was runner-up.

Martin Truex in the #78 car

​​2.5​: The maximum deceleration (g-force) NASCAR drivers experience, which is more than 25 per cent higher than for the cars that race in 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LM GTE Pro category. An incredible difference considering that the NASCAR cars weigh as much as 1,540 kg, use cast iron disc (less preforming than the carbon ones) and reduced size braking systems.

2.65​: The weight in pounds of a brake pad. The ideal operating temperature is 400°F. Besides being different from the front to the rear, often the brake pads differ from side to side because oval tracks only have left-hand turns.​​​

3​: The number of NASCAR Cup Series Jimmie Johnson won with Brembo brakes.

4​: The number of pistons in the Brembo calipers for Intermediate Tracks and Speedways. All of the other manufacturers still use 6-piston calipers, which used to be mandatory. Through ongoing technological advances, our current 4-piston calipers ensure the same results as the 6-piston calipers made by the competition, but offer a better pedal feeling. ​​ 

4.5​: The weight in pounds of the rear caliper used on Short Tracks. On the Speedways and Intermediate Tracks, this figure is even lower because the brakes are used less often: 3.37 pounds for the basic version and 2.67 pounds for the Light. Whatever the circuit, the front calipers weigh more than the rear ones because the braking force falls mainly on the front system. ​​​​

6: The number of pistons in the front calipers for Short Tracks. On these tracks, the braking system is used for both braking and for helping the car to turn within a limited space, which explains the use of 6 pistons.

8: The number of NASCAR Cup Series won by Brembo brakes with six different drivers.​

9: The millimeters of wear on the pad registered this year in Martinsville. In Watkins Glen, 11 millimeters were consumed. These figures may be different on other similar tracks depending on the friction material used and the pilot’s driving style.​​​

14​: The number of seconds that the brakes are used on a lap in Martinsville, which is about 7 seconds per corner. Taking into account that the fastest drivers complete a lap in just over 20 seconds, the percentage of time the brakes are used corresponds to 70% of the whole race.​​

​17.7​5​: The weight in pounds of the entire rear wheel corner for most of the Short Tracks. The term “corner weight” refers to the whole system including the disc, caliper, pad and the necessary hardware to connect the parts.​​

21.26​: The weight in pounds of the front Heavy Duty disc for Short Tracks. This is the model used most often by “heavy-footed” drivers, which is why it is 42 mm thick. The Super Light disc, on the other hand, weighs less because it is “just” 38 mm thick, which is still thicker than the 32-35 mm of the cast iron discs used by GTE-Pro cars in Endurance races.

22: The thickness in millimeters of the disc ventilation channels used in Watkins Glen, the most challenging circuit in the championship for braking systems since it is 3.35 miles long and has 11 turns spaced around it. Besides being the hardest, it’s also the racing circuit in the USA where Brembo has been winning for the longest time. In fact it was here that it collected its first Formula 1 successes in the seventies.​​

25: Years since the debut in NASCAR Cup Series of a car equipped with Brembo brakes. The first was with P.J. Jones driving a Melling Racing’s Ford at Watkins Glen. He crossed the finish line 8th, leaving behind 30 cars. ​​ ​

32​: The maximum thickness in millimeters of rear discs with 72 ventilation channels for Road Courses and Short Tracks.

40​: The lowest pressure in bar (800 psi) reached by the brake fluid at the Watkins Glen’s first curve. In several occasions a 1.200 psi (60 bar) pressure can easily be reached in this same point of the track.

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42​: The maximum thickness of the front discs for Road Courses and Short Tracks. On Intermediate Tracks, the maximum thickness of the front discs is 38 mm and on Speedways it is even lower at 28 mm.​​

43​​: The number of Bobby Hamilton’s Petty Enterprises Plymouth that won in Phoenix on October 27, 1996, Brembo’s first triumph in NASCAR Cup Series. Qualifying in 17th place, Hamilton shined during the race, holding the lead for 40 laps, including the last 30 laps. A number 43 car had not won a NASCAR Cup Series race for 13 years.​

72: The maximum number of ventilation channels on each disc. Not much compared to the 1,400 holes on the discs used in Formula 1 or the 430 holes on the discs that equip the prototypes in the LMP1 class.​​​​

154​: The maximum load in pounds on the brake pedal for one single braking action. Considering that the races are 600 miles long, unlike the Formula 1 races that are never more than 190 miles long, the effort that
NASCAR’s drivers have to endure is definitively longer.​​

308: The diameter in millimeters of the front discs that are usually used for Intermediate Tracks. This value has been scientifically calculated to achieve the best performances possible with these cars on these tracks, minimizing the weight and maximizing the efficiency at the same time. Using larger (or smaller) discs would not provide the same combination of advantages as the 308 mm ones.

328​: The maximum diameter in millimeters that can be used on the front discs. The same size is used on the motorcycles racing in the Superbike World Championship.​

600​: The number of miles that can be covered before replacing the discs. Unless the car crashes or catches fire, one caliper is sufficient for multiple races, and it is sent to Brembo once a year for routine maintenance.​

635:The degrees in Fahrenheit at which point the Brembo HTC 64T brake fluid boils, a figure that is better than rival products. This ensures greater resistance to Vapor Lock and efficient braking under any conditions. ​​​​

1.000: The overall number of braking sections on 500 laps of racing on Short Tracks. In Formula 1, each single-seater completes about 500 braking actions per race, peaking at 940 braking sections at the Monaco GP.​​

1800​: The degrees in Fahrenheit of the highest temperature reached by the discs.​

1999​​: The year the first car with Brembo brakes won the NASCAR Cup Series. Dale Jarrett earned the title with the Robert Yates Racing Ford. That year, he won four races and secured the championship title with a lead of 201 points over his competitors.​​

Now that you’ve got all the numbers, you are all set for an exciting game of Bingo! Playing responsibly and with moderation is a pleasant, positive experience, but going to a NASCAR race is even more fun.​

Source: Brembo​​​​




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