In any type of car, a solid brake system equals safe driving, and it is this fundamental reason that underlies the necessity of ensuring that you have regular up-to-date checks on each component of the entire brake system in your car.
Supercars – typically those you find in racing and on tracks – travel at incredibly high speeds and therefore require powerful, soft-touch brake systems that work immediately for better control and less drag.
We’re all (hopefully) aware of why and how brake systems aid the safety of all cars, but why is quality a prerequisite of assuring high performance in supercars?
How Brake Rotors Work
The physics behind the functionality of brake systems rely on the exchange and transformation of kinetic energy into either heat, light, or sound energy. Due to the desire for noiseless (for the most part) braking in vehicles, and the safety concerns that the production of light would cause, heat is the primary method of energy exchange. Once the brakes are applied, the calipers squeeze the brake pads against either side of the rotor to build up friction and, as a result, heat, with the kinetic energy produced being turned into thermal energy. The brake rotors absorb this thermal energy, dissipating it in order to slow the vehicle down. The more effective your brake rotors are at absorbing this heat energy, the longer they last at a higher standard.
If the brake rotors aren’t able to complete this absorption and dissipation process efficiently, the vehicle’s stopping distance will be increased. When used in high-performance cars, which often travel at excessive speeds and frequently brake hard and suddenly, the brakes have the potential to glow orange with the vast amount of heat conducted, leading to the brake pads overheating and fading, which can then result in the brake rotors cracking and thus not functioning correctly. Australian supercar enthusiasts can find the best brake rotors at VMAXBrakes.com.au, which specialises in the highest quality aftermarket products in Australia.
Disadvantages of Economy
As it happens, the quality of the metal used has an impact on the life of brake rotors, with the use of better metallurgy in production aiding performance and extending the lifespan. The vast majority of brake pads are formed of petro-chemical resins, which produce a lower level of friction on the brake rotors. These much cheaper pads have a tendency to warp under high levels of thermal energy exchange, leading to pulsing brake pedals and shortening their life span. In terms of brake rotors, those present in most ordinary cars are formed of reprocessed irons due to their cheaper cost of production; modern vehicles rely, therefore, on the brake pads to avoid overheating. An unrealistic expectation, however, this actually leads to the damage of the brake rotors as overheating is inevitable.
Additionally, the incorporation of thinner facings creates a wider air gap between the rotor faces – this is to save costs and cut iron use. The rotor is unable to effectively absorb and dissipate the thermal energy produced, eventually leading to warping, cracking and, ultimately, rotor failure.
Supercars, Racing, and Track Use
Cars intended for the race tracks frequently undergo what is known as ‘hard use’, meaning that the various components need a certain level of durability and consistency. Brake pads need to create a good level of friction to retain hold throughout the entire braking cycle without warping or breaking in the heat produced. Additives such as copper or coke, when blended into the brake pads, help to create a high-performance brake system, enhancing durability. Combined with brake rotors formed of G3000 grey iron (or, even better, virgin alloy iron ingot), the brake systems in supercars are able to withstand higher levels of heat for longer periods, maintaining consistency and high levels of performance.
Essentially, every aspect of high-quality brake rotors relies on the material and fin design being geared towards the effective, efficient absorption and dissipation of heat during the braking cycle, allowing for sharp braking, consistency, and durability – all of which lead to higher performances on the race track.