Everything there is to know about the very special brakes used in the world’s most prestigious single brand championship
More than 40 years of partnership. The collaboration between Brembo and Ferrari began back in 1975 when Brembo started supplying the Scuderia with cast iron discs for Formula 1 GP races.
As the years passed, this tie became even stronger, so much so that all the Ferrari street cars now use Brembo braking systems.
Not only the Formula 1 single-seaters bearing the brand of the manufacturer from Maranello use Brembo brakes, but also the cars that compete in the GT championships, as well as those racing in the three Ferrari Challenge events: Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.
For once we shift the focus from the Formula 1 single-seaters to the braking systems on the cars competing in the Ferrari Challenge, the world’s most coveted and envied single brand championship.
From its founding to today, more than one thousand drivers have participated in the Challenge. In the last three years, the 458 Challenge EVO has been on the track. Here are 5 things to know about its brakes.
Ever since the founding of the Ferrari Challenge in 1993, the brakes on the cars racing have always been produced by Brembo.
This includes the 348s that raced in the earliest editions, the F355s introduced in 1995, and the Ferrari 360s admitted in 2000.
Even the F430s that took to the track in 2006 were equipped with Brembo brakes, just like the 458s that the regulations have allowed on the circuit as of 2011.
The use of Brembo braking systems ensures the highest standards in safety, a priority the organisers have always pursued.
The Ferrari Challenge is the only single brand competition in the world where the participating vehicles use Brembo carbon-ceramic discs.
Compared to carbon, this material is highly reactive and does not require reaching a specific temperature to guarantee excellent braking performance. Indeed, the drivers are able to brake immediately out of the pits without needing to warm up the system first.
The braking surface of the 458 EVO is the same as its street counterpart, except it is combined with purpose-built pads, which are necessary to handle the stress caused by wear on the track.
It is impossible to verify the wear of the discs simply by observing or touching them because they are made out of carbon-ceramic.
The thickness of these discs remains unchanged and even an analysis of the surface does not lead to any conclusions.
That is why Ferrari’s management software checks the mileage. This software determines the rate of consumption through an algorithm and warns when it is necessary to replace the discs.
Similarly, the Brembo pads are equipped with a wear sensor.
The 458 Challenge EVOs perform exceptionally from the point of view of both speeds reached and braking conducted. The 4.5 litre V8 engine guarantees 570 horsepower, allowing the cars to reach 290 km/h.
The deceleration is just as impressive: to go from 270 km/h to 60 km/h, for example, these cars need only 5 seconds and 250 metres. The credit goes in part to the Brembo calipers: 6-piston calipers in the front and 4-piston calipers in the rear.
This is different from the production cars because they allow air intake to be used. Understandably, the drivers are required to apply significant force as they undergo a deceleration up to 1.8 g.
Just like its street counterpart, the 458 Challenge EVO is fitted with an ABS. However, on this count it was mapped out in a slightly different manner because the track requires a more reactive system.
During the more violent braking manoeuvres, the ABS increases the temperature of the discs (390×38 in the front, 380×34 in the rear) significantly, in some cases reaching more than a thousand degrees.
Such noteworthy thermal values explain why the Brembo calipers adopted have an oxidised surface finishing, which is typical of racing applications, rather than painted surfaces like the 458 street version.
Next year, the Ferrari Challenge will be raced by 488s and once again Brembo will be called on to provide a braking system that guarantees fun for the drivers but doesn’t jeopardise safety.
In the meantime, you can delve even deeper into the most exciting car brakes in the world at www.brembo.com.