Australia – YOU MIGHT THINK that increasing power is the first thing you’d do if you want to take your sportscar to the track, but that’s just not the case. Your first investment should be driver training, and then after that, your first car modification should be the brakes…unless you own a Hyundai i30N.
The weakness with standard brakes is not stopping power. Even from high speed, the average sportscar can generate enough braking power such that the tire traction is the limit of braking, not the power of the brakes – unless you run very grippy track tires. For most sportscars, the actual problem with the standard brakes is heat dissipation.
At any given speed a car has kinetic energy, and at a lower speed it has less energy, so the act of deceleration means the car must convert some kinetic energy into another form of energy. For cars, the brakes convert kinetic energy into heat energy. But the braking system cannot take unlimited amounts of heat, so it needs to constantly get rid of the heat in the same way a car’s engine needs to get rid of the heat it generates, and humans sweat to get rid of their heat.
Aside from upgrading the actual stopping power of the i30N with calipers which more strongly grip the pads to the rotors compared to a standard i30, Hyundai also have a range of measures to improve heat dissipation:
Thicker and high-temperate brake pads – the thicker the pad, the longer it lasts and the better able it is to soak up heat. A special compound is used (a “track/street” compound) so the pad can tolerate higher temperatures than standard – the usual tradeoff for that is cost, brake dust and noise although I didn’t notice any such issues on my i30 Fastback N test;
Cooling air to front wheel arches – a duct which pipes fresh, cool air from the front of the car directly into the innards of the wheel well which is where the heat builds up from the brakes, tires and engine;
Hot air removal system – fast moving air routed past the front wheel which draws out heated air from the wheel arch.
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