Today’s Tip – Braking Part 2

Braking AerovNonLast time we looked at braking as a way of controlling the car balance into a corner.  This time lets look at the technique of actually applying the brakes, and more importantly, releasing them.  In the book ‘Race and Trackday Driving Techniques‘ we talked about being smooth with the car and in particular the brakes.  This avoids ‘surprising’ the car and allows car weight to build on the front wheels to avoid lockup or ABS intervention too soon.  However you can be too smooth.

In an non-aero dependant car, i.e. a saloon or GT style car, your initial brake application needs to be smooth but fast, progressive and positive.  Get to maximum brake pressure as quickly as you can before you gently bleed off brake pressure as the speed decresases and the friction between the tyre and road decreases.  At the end of the braking zone roll out of the brakes as we discussed in the previous tip, thinking about the weight management of the car and how much weight you want distributed fore and aft in the car.

In an aero dependant car, i.e. a modern slicks and wings single seater, sports/prototype car or modern GTE/GT3, you can brake later and hit the brake as hard and as fast as you car as the aero effect will usually (at higher speeds) give the tyre far more grip than the brake can overcome.  As you slow the car you need to roll out of the brake to match the downforce on the tyre to the grip level available.

The graph shown here illustrates the two styles with the brake pressure shown against distance.