Onboard Data for Trail Braking
Before we get into the data, let’s go onboard. We’re going to watch turn one at Sebring in a GT3 car, and this will be the corner that we’re going to break apart using data and video.
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At the top here we have wheel speed. Then we have throttle position. At the bottom, we have the brakes. Where the line goes higher up, it means more pressure. When it comes down it’s less pressure. Now, this is important, we’re going to have time and distance, so let’s look at time and distance related to the brake zone to break apart how long it takes to do each thing.
The blue line is where we are. We’re at zero pressure, and we’re at 4.3 seconds. Now, at peak pressure, you’re going to see we’re going to have 69 bar, which is 1,000 pounds of brake pressure. In 0.7 seconds, so in seven-tenths of a second, I’ve gone from zero to 1,000 pounds of pressure.
Now, at half pressure, 29 bar, we’re at 5.9 seconds. At now nine-tenths of a second, we’ve gone from 1,000 pounds to about 500 pounds. In the same amount of time it goes from zero to full brake, we’re at half brake.
Now, here, at the very end where trail braking is five bars, 20 pounds of pressure, we’re at seven seconds, so now 1.1 seconds, so pretty much the same amount of time it takes me to go from zero to 100 percent pressure. I’ve reduced that in the same amount of time to 50 percent, and the longest part of the brake zone is this last little bit to go from 50 percent of the pressure to zero.
How Is Trail Braking Fast?
Now that we’ve talked about how to trail brake, how long it takes and overlaid it with data and video, we’re going to talk about why does it make you fast? Why is it so important? It relates to weight transfer.
In earlier videos we’ve talked about where the weight goes is where the grip goes. Ultimately when we trail brake, we keep the weight on the front end longer and we shift our brake zone deeper into the corner. Without trail braking we have to be finished braking at the turn in point which means we need to start our brake application earlier.
When we talked about those 20 pounds of pressure, we don’t really have that to slow the car down. It’s a tiny, tiny bit like your big toe just resting on the pedal. What that does is it keeps the weight on the front tires longer so we can carve down the apex. If we were just to release the brakes, we would get a lot of understeer. We would actually have less grip because the weight isn’t anywhere.
When we’re coasting, the weight is kind of lost in the car. When we’ve got it either braking or either accelerating, we find the platform, and the car hooks up and goes.
Trail braking just allows the front to grip and go, so most of the cars … What we’re driving on track days, more of your streetcars, they’re designed to have understeer. You need trail braking down to perfection to carve down to the apex.
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