More to Winning Le Mans Than Accelerating

Chances are when you think of this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, your mind goes to (1) speed and (2) durability.

Chances are when you think of this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, your mind goes to (1) speed and (2) durability. As in going really fast for, well, 24 hours. One is not enough, as the No. 5 Toyota team driving the TS050 Hybrid discovered to their dismay with three minutes to go.

But there is another element to all of this: braking. Yes, it isn’t all about the accelerator (and in some cases, clutch). Getting on the binders matters.

brembo

Brembo LMP1 brake system

So a real winner at the 84th running of the race is Brembo, the brake specialist.

Its brakes were on the cars that took the checked flag(s) in LMP1, LMP2, Grand Touring Endurance GTE Pro, and the GTE Am categories.

Yes, it swept all four classes.

Technically, the LMP1 and LMP2 cars have carbon-based pads and rotors. The front rotors range in diameter from 320 to 370 mm and the rear from 320 to 350 mm. The thickness is either 30 or 32 mm. The number of cooling holes ranges from 36 to 430.

In the LMP1 class the six-piston calipers use an aluminum-lithium alloy, while in LMP2, the material is aluminum.

In the GTE Pro and GTE Am categories the cars use cast iron discs in the front and rear. The front slotted discs are 380 or 390 mm, while those in the back are from 322 to 355 mm. Ceramic-based pads are used both fore and aft.

Two other interesting aspects of the brakes: One is that the pads Brembo developed were good for the entire 24 hours, and the other is that the Italian company’s brakes were on 28 of the 32 cars in the LMP categories and 24 of the 27 cars running in GTE.