Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How in the hell do I stop this thing?

As race car drivers we spend most of our time trying to find ways to go faster but as any great driver will tell you, "If you want to go fast, first you have to learn to go slow." I know it sounds crazy but it's a fact and if you want to be fast you have to learn how to go in at the correct speed and many times that begins with setting up at slower speeds so you can accelerate out faster than you came in.

Having talked to many drivers who have driven the La Carrera Panamericana the three most important things they talk about the most are brakes, brakes and brakes. Phil Hill told me, "If you think you have enough brake, get twice that much and still you will need to prepare by saying your prayers."

This car we are building will without any doubts be a very fast car with the ability to turn on a dime. Now it's time to make it stop on one as well. Unlike most racetracks, there is no safe run-off area or sand traps while racing on the La Carrera Panamericana. There are however plenty of cliffs, narrow roads with few or no guard rails, and just about every reason in the world why this is not a safe place to run a race. Needless to say brakes are now the key issue.

The major problem with getting great brakes is the fact that the rules require us to use 15 X 7 inch wheels. Anyone who races can tell you that with a 17 inch wheel you can install calipers large enough to stop the space shuttle from taking off however finding the ultimate brake setup for 15 inch rims is another story and took lots of research. After speaking with all the major players in the brake world some of which were actually the engineers whom design and build their brakes I finally found what I was looking for with CNC. They are setting us up with an awesome brake caliper set up that works so well that if I hit the brakes hard enough a spatula comes out, removes my navigator from the inside of the windshield and places him back in the seat.


TheUnlimitedClass said...

Hey Gary .. good stuff and we have been following your blog .... I'll throw in 2 cents here ... you may set that up great for your car with those brakes .. but if you get in a pinch .. most guys are running wildwood (http://www.wilwood.com/) ... and unless you are going to bring a full set of replacement calipers ... you may want to run wildwood as you can cannibalize other entrants crashed cars/ and or parts from them you may have not brought ... just a thought ;)

Gary Faules said...

Glad you're enjoying the site and that's what it's for. It's been fun and it gives me time to relax between the build process.

Thanks for the good advice and some that sounds practical as well. In fact I did speak with Wilwood in person on several occasions both to their engineers as well as the owner. At one point I had almost made up my mind to use Wilwood but after one more call to their top engineer he talked me out of it. Keep in mind, it was only because of my specific application and not all cars. Their better "racing" application will not fit my car. Being a racer I do know Wilwood is a great product and they were extremely helpful and honest, something not all marketing people have these days.

Regarding spares.... We are an endurance racing team and we "try" to always bring backup parts.

I tried to check out your site but it says it's not available. What team are you with or who are you?

TheUnlimitedClass said...

Bret from www.TheUnlimitedClass.com

When Mockett hit his wheel last year he got the Wildwood replacement off of Churchill's car after Churhill had an off. Without that, he would have been looking at loosing at least a day and having parts shipped from the States ... so yeah ... redundant parts in the support vehicle are worth the effort!

All the best,


Gary Faules said...

Thanks Bret. I thought that might be you and I'm looking forward to meeting you. One thing I have learned about parts for race cars is, If you don't bring it... You'll need it for sure.

What will you be running this year?

TheUnlimitedClass said...

bret •at• theunlimitedclass •dott• com

feel free to drop an email!

Gary Faules said...


I sent you an email. Hope I got your address correct.