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.