The Long Beach Grand Prix takes place every year on the famed Long Beach Street Circuit. The IMSA United Sportscar Championship race and Pirelli World Challenge series both host challenging sprint races at the Long Beach Grand Prix. Brembo Racing is a technical partner and supplier to the top teams competing in both series. Racing on street circuits pose several challenges to the teams as well as setting up a reliable brake package for the driver.
Street Circuits are challenging for teams for the following reasons:
– Limited track time for the drivers and teams to dial in car setup, hard on equipment (brakes, tires, dampers, etc…).
– Limitations in circuit grip levels due to dirt as well as pavement changes/bumps/curbs. The circuit’s grip level always changes thru the race weekend as different series run on the track adding different types of rubber directly on the racing line. This can affect car balance and brake performance overall.
– Passing opportunities are few as any type of contact means instantly being taken out of the race. It’s quite difficult for drivers take huge risks (and what risk are taken have to be precise & calculated) as there are concrete barriers which line the course and contact with these barriers can immediately take you out contention for the race win.
Having consistent, reliable brakes which offer the driver maximum control and modulation can give drivers a significant advantage in Turns 2, 9 and 11 where all the passing opportunities are under braking.
Street Circuits are demanding on the brake systems for the following reasons:
– Long High speed, high pressure brake zones which are generally “point and shoot”. Typical GT Cars hit 150-160 miles per hour in the main straight on Shoreline drive, braking down to 50 mph roughly. Driver confidence in the initial “attack” and brake “feel” without over-slowing the cars is important here.
– Bumpy road surface which is can make a driver brake early and spend more time on the brake pedal trailing off. (on motorsport ABS equipped GT cars, active use of the ABS can raise disc temperatures even more).
– Concrete barriers always limit effective airflow to the brakes causing the average disc temperature to be high (About 550-650 C on a Typical GT application).
– In categories where brake setup is “free or open to change”, teams always have to choose between having a higher thermal capacity setup versus running the lightest brakes as possible to help the driver have the competitive on-track advantage. The optimum balance of braking durability, reliability and performance is key.
Depending on the team’s desired direction, the team can choose the specific brake disc and friction options to suit their needs.
In the IMSA United Sportscar Race: Wayne Taylor Racing’s Daytona Prototype took overall honors equipped with Brembo Racing carbon-carbon brakes. In the GTLM class, the Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 GTLM finished a very competitive 2nd equipped with Brembo Racing brakes.
In the Pirelli World Challenge race: All the podium finishing cars were equipped with Brembo Racing brakes (Winner – R.Ferri 458 GT3, Runner Up – Dyson Racing Bentley GT3, and third place – Effort Racing Porsche 997 GT3R)
Photos: NH512 Photo, Nicolas Hur