If you're a car guy at all, you probably know the name "Brembo." But when you hear it you probably think about brakes for Ferraris, F1, and NASCAR Sprint Cup race cars. For years, Brembo has produced only the highest of high-end braking systems. They've had a lot of success on cars that have won races and championships, but unless you were on TV on Sunday, they probably didn't have a system for you.
But all that has just changed. Brembo recently decided to bring its significant engineering muscle to bear on helping Saturday-night racers. The company now has a complete braking system for both Late Model and Sprint Car teams, and at first glance it looks like it may have something here.
Brembo's Dirt Late Model braking system is designed to be a direct bolt-in system for cars with wide-five hubs. This is one of the lightest braking systems utilizing a cast-iron rotor that we've seen. The rotor measures in at 10.9 by 0.7 inches and comes pre-bedded so it's ready to race right out of the box. The rotor is also a floater to minimize thermal-induced warping and the chances of cracks forming over time.
Here's a shot of the Dirt...
Here's a shot of the Dirt Late Model racing setup. What is difficult to tell here is the small size of the components which significantly reduces the unsprung weight on the race car.
The caliper is a four-piston forged unit that to the uninitiated looks like a toy compared to other calipers on the market. But the design is not only lightweight, it's also quite strong and capable of developing plenty of clamping load. The caliper mounts on a radial mount using a lightweight aluminum bracket. Of course, there's nothing too unique about all that, but Brembo has also designed in what it is calling its "HRB" or "High Roll Back" technology. This helps pull the pads back into the caliper so that they don't rub the rotors when the pedal isn't engaged and add unnecessary drag. Incidentally, the HRB feature also aids easy pad changes because the pistons can be pushed back into the caliper with your bare hands.
Other features also include a crossover tube that has been moved to the interior of the caliper body to prevent mud and other debris that is a constant in dirt track racing from damaging the caliper. Knock-back springs are also pre-installed on all the calipers. Brembo has also developed a line of brake pads to go with the new calipers and rotors, but for racers that already have a favorite pad combination that works with their particular setup and driving style, other brands' pad will also fit in the calipers.
Overall, between the calipers and the rotors, this new braking system comes in at about 10 to 12 pounds lighter than most braking systems currently being used in Dirt Late Model racing.
Here's a close look at Brembo's...
Here's a close look at Brembo's new rotor and hat for its inboard Sprint Car braking system. Brembo went with a cast-iron rotor even though it can be heavier than coated titanium because iron handles heat better, is more consistent, and is more affordable for the racer on a limited budget.
On the other hand, Brembo's new braking system for Sprint Car racing comes in just a bit heavier than the lightest setups currently on the racetrack. Brembo's Brandon Miller says that while the company considered using an ultra-light coated titanium rotor, it instead decided to go with a lower-tech cast-iron rotor because it handles heat better, resists warping more, and is more consistent over the course of a race. Plus, Miller says that costs to the racer were also a consideration--and we all know that iron is a heck of a lot cheaper than titanium.
Like the Dirt Late Model caliper, the Sprint caliper is a four-piston design. It also has been built to exhibit minimal deflection without any excess weight. And also like the DLM caliper, the Sprint unit features Brembo's HRB tech along with an internal crossover tube and a radial mount on an aluminum bracket to help keep heat from moving from the caliper into the rear end housing.
Last season Kasey Kahne Racing...
Last season Kasey Kahne Racing used Brembo's Sprint Car inboard system as the rear brakes on all four of its cars with great success.
Brembo has also developed a new friction compound specifically for its Sprint Car braking system that it uses in its pads. The material has a wide operating range so that it provides good braking qualities on those early laps when the rotors are still cold. We're told the effective operating range is between room temperature and 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Last season Kasey Kahne Racing used Brembo's Inboard Sprint Car rotors and calipers on its entire fleet of four cars and helped secure several big wins. KKR crew chief Justin Adams says the system worked well for the team because it provided consistent braking and minimized failures.
"The Brembo brakes did what we needed them to do," he says. "They are about a pound heavier than what we had used the year before but our drivers liked these because the brake pedal stayed the same all through the race, where a titanium rotor can vary more. Plus, we didn't have failures, and being able to finish races is always the priority around here."