TMD Friction’s high-performance braking product lines continue to prove their credentials on the racing circuit, with its renowned braking brand Mintex providing the stopping power to various racing and rallying championships nationwide, including Lewis Brown in the Quaife MINI Challenge.
TMD Friction’s commercial vehicle braking brand Textar is also no stranger to high-octane circuit racing, with Textar emblazoned across the front of John Newell’s MAN racing truck in the British Truck Racing Championship (BTRC). Such is the high-performance level of Textar’s commercial vehicle brakes, the MAN racing truck runs regular road-going braking products.
In a little car meets large truck match up, Mintex-sponsored MINI Challenge racing driver Lewis Brown and Textar-sponsored British Truck Racing Championship driver John Newell sat down at the recent Convoy in the Park event to discuss how their braking applications are different, and how far each affects how the drastically different racing vehicles are driven.
Brown and Newell will lean on the brakes differently in order to find the right over or understeer balance on each track.
“On corner entry, in the MINI I will tap the brakes if the rear of the car steps out in order to force understeer under braking and get the car straightened up again,” Brown said.
Newell explains: “It’s different in the truck racing as the opposite applies – I’ll try and slide first rather than coast into corners as some drivers would in the MINIs or touring cars. With the brakes still on I’ll then increase power, so as soon as we’re out of a sequence of bends I’m fully on power and off the brakes to get the best run down the straight as possible.”
In the Quaife MINI Challenge, a feeder series to the British Touring Car Championship, each MINI series III hatchback racing car runs Mintex F2 brake pads on the front axle, with Mintex M1144 pads on the rear. Conversely, in the BTRC, there is no specification on controlled, mandatory braking equipment – with all crews running any brand of brakes they want. On Newell’s MAN truck, the front pads are Textar’s high-performance pads, with trailer brakes on the rear axle.
The MINI Challenge features standard air cooling via large vents in the front bumper and aero package, with the John Newell’s specialist MAN racing truck benefitting from water cooling.
The cooling spray is applied manually to the centre of the brake disc by Newell to keep brake temperatures as close to the 400-degree centigrade optimum as possible. The water hitting the hot brakes creates a spectacle as the spray turns to steam under heavy braking, often into the first corner of the race.
A benefit of the water cooling means that in the high-octane setting of the race track, the truck won’t experience brake fade – as the rear brake force is gradually depleted as the race meeting goes on, Newell can overcome this by increasing the rear brake bias every few laps.
A significant driving dynamic affected by the brake setup is tyre temperature – something that can make or break handling.
“Not having the right brake temperature can mean you have no turn in. The brake heats the disc and elevates the pressure of the tyre, meaning it heats up quicker,” Newell explains.
Despite the differences in power and weight – a lap of Donington Park’s National layout will only see just over ten seconds’ difference between Brown’s MINI and Newell’s MAN truck.
The MAN weighs five times as much as the MINI does but delivers 1200 horsepower to the MINI’s 280 – with top speeds of 100 and 130 miles per hour respectively. This means on a fast circuit like Donington Park, a MINI JCW racing car will record a 1:12 lap time, with the MAN truck setting a 1:25. On longer circuits with more corners like Snetterton, the gap is similar, but relatively less when considering the lap distance, with the MINI setting a 2:02, to the truck’s 2:24.
In wet conditions, MINI Challenge field will increase rear brake bias, to improve rear grip and set the car up to be more balanced, however in truck racing this isn’t a weapon in the arsenal Newell turns to, in order to be able to attack in the challenging conditions.
“When we brake it will usually lift the rear wheels, so in wet weather this can cause a loss of grip. When we are racing in wet weather, we’re braking much sooner. So, with the bias set rearward, the car handles much better and won’t be putting weight onto its nose and maintain rear grip,” Brown said.
Sue McKay, category manager for commercial vehicles at TMD Friction, commented: “It was great to offer Lewis an insight into a different category of racing – something so different to the touring car formulas.
“People unfamiliar with truck racing may have preconceived ideas about the quality of the racing but once they see one race they are hooked!”
“Truck racing drivers have so much more to think about – the spatial awareness, brake cooling, so many controls and buttons to use each lap. Just looking at the truck, you would think it shouldn’t go around corners as well as it does either,” Brown said.
The final round of the BTRC takes place at Brands Hatch against the backdrop of a Bonfire Night celebration from November 5th-6th, with Brown completing his MINI Challenge campaign at the same circuit earlier in October.
By fitting Textar braking products, the Newell & Wright Motorsport race truck has the perfect combination of superior braking performance, long service life and low disc wear.
Mintex brake pads and discs are engineered to provide friction stability, comfort and consistently high performance over a wide temperature range and stopping distances.
Fleet operators can find Textar and Mintex’s latest brake equipment range via Brakebook, TMD Friction’s online catalogue. This virtual platform allows users to search for multiple part numbers, create their own personalised catalogue and offers weekly updates.
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