Guide to the 11 braking sections found on the Circuit de la Sarthe for the 24 Hours of Le Mans

6/17/2016

LMP1 and LM GTE Pro use of Brembo brakes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

The Circuit de la Sarthe (France) will host the 84th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is the 3rd race of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship, on 18 and 19 June. The 60 cars at the starting line are separated into 4 categories: LMP1 and LMP2 are the two categories set aside for prototypes, while LM GTE Pro and LM GTE AM are the two categories reserved for series production cars.

According to Brembo technicians, who have more than twenty years of experience in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Circuit de la Sarthe challenges the braking systems of each category differently during the 24 hours of racing. Therefore, the braking systems are characterised by variations in technical solutions and amount of stress.

 

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Brake use during the GP

Even though it is a very long track, especially when compared to those used in Formula 1 (LINK), the cars brake only 11 times each lap. The time the LMP1 cars spend braking totals 15% of the duration of the race, which is about three hours and fifteen minutes. This means that at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the prototype braking systems are used as much as 10 Formula 1 GP races. For the LM GTE Pro (LINK) cars, which according to regulations have very sophisticated braking systems, the brakes are used 17% of the time or for more than 4 hours.

The numbers for deceleration are also different: the LMP1 drivers face an average deceleration of 2.3 g per lap; the LM GTE Pro drivers stop, so to speak, at 1.6 g. Another measurement of the effort drivers and braking systems are required to give is the load applied to the brake pedal: up to 800 kg per lap. Taking into consideration the last edition of the race, the winning team (Porsche 911 Hybrid with Brembo brakes) completed 395 laps, which means the three drivers applied an overall load of 316 tonnes, which is equivalent to 52 African elephants.

The amount of energy dissipated in braking by the best LM GTE Pro drivers during the entire 24 Hours of Le Mans is 350-355 kWh, that is the same amount of electricity consumed by about twenty French residents during the 24 hour race.


 

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The most challenging stops

​Of the 11 braking sections on the Circuit de la Sarthe, only 6 are classified by the Brembo technicians as very difficult on the brakes, but 4 are of medium-difficulty and 1 is light. The most challenging is the Forza Motorsport Chicane. The LMP1 cars arrive at 333 km/h and brake for 3.21 seconds to go down to 111 km/h in just 195 metres. The drivers apply 105 kg of force on the pedal and face a deceleration of 3.21 g. The LM GTE Pro cars, on the other hand, peak at a velocity of 'just' 296 km/h because they are less powerful and heavier, and are not equipped with carbon brakes.

The braking section that follows, the Michelin Chicane, is hard on the brakes too. The LMP1 cars go from 327 km/h to 102 km/h in 2.6 seconds, during which they travel 174 metres. The braking of the LM GTE Pro cars is decidedly longer: 309 metres to go from 290 km/h to 97 km/h in 5.4 seconds.


 

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The Ford Chicanes also have to be counted among the most stressful braking sections for the braking systems. These curves require the LMP1 cars to use their brakes for the most time, a good 5.5 seconds, and over the longest braking space, as much as 269.4 metres. The load on the pedal amounts to 88 kg and the deceleration is 2.07 g. On the contrary, the braking space for the LM GTE Pro cars is more limited with respect to the prototypes because they don't come into the turns as fast: only 183 metres are needed because they are going 257 km/h at the beginning of the turns and 97 km/h when they come out.

The most relevant curve that presents a mid-level difficulty on the brakes is the Mulsanne. The LMP1 cars undergo a drop in velocity of almost 220 km/h, the highest on the track, going from 321 km/h to 86 km/h. The average deceleration is 3.01 g and they brake for 188 metres. The LM GTE Pro cars go from 281 km/h to 80 km/h in 310 metres. The braking section at the Maison Blanche requires a modest use of the brakes. The LMP1 cars go from 264 km/h to 221 km/h in 1.5 seconds, while the LM GTE Pro cars drop from 217 km/h to 193 km/h in 2 seconds. While they may seem moderate, both categories still surpass 100 metres in length: 105.5 metres for the LMP1 cars and 107 metres for the LM GTE Pro cars.


 

​Brembo Victories


The prototypes equipped with Brembo brakes have won 24 of the last 27 editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The most winning manufacturer with Brembo is Audi, which has won 13 races, followed by Porsche with 5. Peugeot, McLaren, Mazda and Mercedes have also been successful at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the help of Brembo. The most winning driver is Danish Tom Kristensen, who earned 8 victories, each time with Brembo brakes.


 

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Brembo S.p.A. | P.IVA 00222620163

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