IndyCar brake supplier responds to concerns of reliability

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on June 29, 2014 5:30 pm

After the conclusion of yesterday’s first race at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing General Manager Rob Edwards had some strong words regarding the reliability of the Brembo brakes used in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

SPHM driver Simon Pagenaud explained the issue from a driver’s point of view. “When a brake rotor has a high temperature it performs very well,” he said. “Inversely, when a rotor is colder it doesn’t stop like it should. I was having trouble slowing down and stopping the car on the wet surfaces at the beginning of the race.”

Edwards called IndyCar to task for not addressing the issue. “We have made IndyCar aware of the fact that there is an issue with the brakes, and they have not fixed it,” Edwards said. “Until they, act teams are going to have days like we had today. I hope IndyCar can see that there’s an obligation on their behalf to address the situation, and I look forward to the discussion with them.”

For IndyCar’s part, Director of Communications Mike Kitchel clarified that IndyCar’s role in the situation is mainly to pass the any team concerns on to their manufacturer partners.

“We listen to every concern communicated to us by the teams,” Kitchel said, “and we always convey those concerns to the manufacturers. It’s important to us to do that and retain the spirit of competition and safety in our racing.”

A representative from Brembo, brake supplier to the Verizon IndyCar Series, prepared a statement for More Front Wing on their assessment of the situation with the No. 77 Oculus SPHM entry on Saturday explaining that the wetter and cooler conditions than anticipated contributed to the problem:

“As per Brembo’s technical bulletin provided to all IndyCar teams, the optimum operating temperature for the carbon brake discs is 350o – 400o C. If the disc temperatures are too low it is possible to encounter consistency issues in the performance of the system. In wet conditions, the same technical bulletin recommends to cover all or some of the brake ducts to bring the discs to optimum temperatures.

“The temperature range the brakes were running in the beginning of the race was lower than the optimum temperature.

“Brembo is still collecting data from the #77 car and will have a better understanding after they analyze the data.”

Regarding what was perceived as potentially being a brake issue on the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Scott Dixon today, Steve Matchett of NBC Sports Network assessed on air that although the team appeared to be cooling the brakes with a blower during repairs, a bracket supporting the master cylinder reservoir had broken away. The resulting damage may have drained the brake system and caused the issue. More Front Wing has confirmed that the bracket in question is not a Brembo issued part.

Should the data analysis from either incident return with anything to report, More Front Wing will share that information as we follow this developing story.

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