Tech Session: How Can High Performance Development Profit from Racing Development?

Orlando, Fla. – A look at the overall impact of motorsports on brake evolvement for street vehicles as well as a performance retrospective and specific companies’ intersection  of the two disciplines encompassed the scope of the presentations during Tuesday’s Technical Session How Can High Performance Development Profit from Racing Development Panel at the 37th Annual SAE International Brake Colloquium & Exhibition here.

Organized by Michael Schorn, Link Europe and Axel Stenkamp, TMD Performance GmbH, the panelists presenting – and then taking questions from the audience – were Eric Brown, TMD Friction Inc.; Richard Joyce, APRacing; David Mohr, PFC Brakes; Roberto Nicastro, BREMBO, and Andrew Smith, Alcon Components.

This session focused on OEM and aftermarket brake systems for high performance sports cars and sedans. It included new trends in brake-system technology applied to these type of vehicles, how they differentiate from standard brake systems, and the specific development challenges on component and system levels.

Following Schorn’s opening remarks from the podium, Smith provided a broad overview with his “Motorsports and High-Performance Brakes” presentation keying on the technical innovations coming from racing and making their way into street vehicles, both of today and the future.

Specific approaches to adopting racing technology for both OEM and aftermarket applications were provided by the next two speakers: Richard Joyce and Roberto Nicastro.

Joyce traced the genesis of APRacing’s Radi-Cal caliper design and forging technologies from its track birth and development to applications on unique, high-performance street cars culminating in their use on the Bugatti Veyron (1,200 horsepower/$2.25 million) and Bugatti Cheyron (1,500 horsepower/$3 million).

BREMBO has been synonymous throughout the automotive world with on-and-off-track performance and its colorful calipers have found their way on many high-end road machines (like Mercedes-Benz AMG, Porsche, BMW, Maserati and Lexus). Nicastro explained that brakes for motorsports and high-performance road vehicles might have different missions, but technical development synergies tightly link the two.

“Results in motorsports have a direct impact on the upgrade and tuning [high-performance] segments,” he explained.

David Mohr opened with LOUD videos of an Indy Car race zipping through the streets and a NHRA top-fuel dragster blasting down the track to both wake up the audience and point out that brakes play a role in all types of motorsports. His presentation theme “Taking Race Technology to the Street” by focusing on the most important motorsports innovations and how they might help in street cars.

TMD’s Eric Brown provided a different perspective, “A Performance Retrospective,” to provide context for those in the room who had no understanding of how far brakes for performance cars have come from the glory muscle-car days of 1969. It was a romantic period, automotively, but the cars were not good except for going fast, he explained.

“It’s only in the last 10 years that performance brakes have become a feature on the car,” said Brown, summing up the program’s premise. “And people are now concerned with how the car stops. Now the overall package of the vehicle is more important than just one aspect of who has the biggest motor.

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.