24 Hours of Le Mans: Brembo illustrates the 4,200+ braking points in 24 hours


 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 87th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is the 8th and last race of the 2018-2019 FIA World Endurance Championship, on 15 and 16 June.

In the tally of achievements garnered over a driver’s career, winning the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in France counts much more than triumphing in a World Championship.

The 62 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.




Brake use during the GP

Even though it is a very long track, especially when compared to those used in Formula 1, 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 12 Formula 1 GP races. For the LM GTE Pro cars, which according to regulations have very sophisticated braking systems, the brakes are used 17% of the time or for more than 4 hours. 

Outstanding numbers that demonstrates how the braking systems on the cars competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans have to guarantee the greatest possible performance while also providing the utmost in reliability. So, Brembo considers this race the ideal test bench for technical solution developments; once these developments pass the test here, they can be transferred to street cars.

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 (1,764 lbs) per lap. Taking into consideration the last edition of the race, the winning team (Toyota TS050 Hybrid with Brembo brakes) completed 388 laps, which means the three drivers applied an overall load of 310 tonnes.

The amount of energy dissipated in braking by the best LM GTE Pro drivers during the entire 24 Hours of Le Mans is 354-360 kWh. 




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 Arche Chicane who interrupt the Mulsanne Straight: the LMP1 cars arrive at 335 km/h (208 mph) and brake for 3.21 seconds to go down to 111 km/h (69 mph) in just 195 meters (640 feet). The drivers apply 105 kg (231 lbs) 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 (184 mph) because they are less powerful and heavier, and are not equipped with carbon brakes.

The braking section that follows, on the same straight, is the Florandiére Chicane, is hard on the brakes too. The LMP1 cars go from 325 km/h (202 mph) to 125 km/h (78 mph) in 2.6 seconds, during which they travel 174 meters (571 feet). 




The Ford Chicanes, little before the finish line, 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 metres (883 feet) to drop from 285 km/h (177 mph) to 100 km/h (62 mph). The load on the pedal amounts to 88 kg (194 lbs) 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 meters (600 feet) are needed because they are going 257 km/h (160 mph) at the beginning of the turns and 97 km/h (60 mph) 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 (137 mph), the highest on the track, going from 321 km/h (199 mph) to 86 km/h (53 mph). The average deceleration is 3.01 g and they brake for 188 meters (617 feet).

The LM GTE Pro cars go from 281 km/h (175 mph) to 80 km/h (50 mph) in 310 meters (1,017 feet). The braking section at the Maison Blanche requires a modest use of the brakes. 

The LMP1 cars go from 264 km/h (164 mph) to 221 km/h (137 mph) in 1.5 seconds, while the LM GTE Pro cars drop from 217 km/h (135 mph) to 193 km/h (120 mph) in 2 seconds. While they may seem moderate, both categories still surpass 100 meters (328 feet) in length: 105.5 meters (346 feet) for the LMP1 cars and 107 meters (351 feet) for the LM GTE Pro cars.




​Brembo Victories

The prototypes equipped with Brembo brakes have won 27 of the last 30 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 8. 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 with Brembo brakes.