Everything on the use of Brembo brakes in the Endurance World Championship (motorbike)


 Bol d'Or for dummies: winners 2017 reveal the curiosity on the use of Brembo brakes at 24 hours


​Saturday 27th May 1922, 6.30 am: 17 motorbikes are lined up at the starting line of the 5.1 km dirt road track that connects the villages of Vaujours, Clich-sous-Bois and Livry-Gargan. After racing for 24 hours a winner comes out of it, the Frenchman Tony Zind with his Motosacoche: he has traveled 243 laps (1,245 km), 19 more than the second that made it to the end, with a 51.9 km/h average speed.

The Bol d’Or is the world's oldest motorbike endurance race and according to its first edition's regulation, each bike had to be ridden by only one pilot. The riders were entitled to 4 hours rest that were discretionary: in fact, Zind did not take advantage of them. None of the 17 bikes at the starting line was using Brembo brakes: the reason is simple, Brembo was founded in 1961 and only since 1972 it started producing brakes for motorbikes.

Since then this great race and Brembo brakes have gone a long way. The 82nd edition will take place from 15th to 16th September at the Circuit Paul Ricard and will also be the inaugural race of Fim Endurance World Championship 2018/2019). For this occasion, we have prepared an in-depth look at the braking systems and at how they are used. ​​​


For once, though, instead of letting Brembo's technicians talk we have given a say to one of the most winning teams of all times. We are referring to Yamaha's GMT94 team which was created by the Frenchman Christophe Guyot: In fact GMT94 stands for Guyot Motorcycle Team and 94 is the number of the French department where it resides. GMT94 has won 3 World Endurance Championship titles (in 2004, 2014 and 2017) out of the last 20 as well as 17 races, gaining 13 pole positions and reaching the podium 36 times.


The 2017 Bol d’Or (only 29 got to the end out of the 59 bikes at the starting line) was dominated by the GMT94 Yamaha that stayed in the lead for almost all the race and seized success 9 laps ahead of its pursuers. In total Mike di Meglio, Carlos Checa and Niccolò Canepa completed 683 laps, losing only 27 minutes and 8 seconds at the pits, compared with the 33 minutes and 44 minutes of the other two bikes that made it to the podium.


This year, due to the coincidence with the round of Portimao of the World Supersport Championship, the GMT94 will not be at the start of the Bol d'Or but this did not stop us from giving the floor to Christophe Guyot.




«We have been using Brembo's braking systems since 2008. We have been the first to use the calipers for the Superbike Championship in the Endurance World Championship. The reason? They provide us with all the braking force we need and they assure a consistent performance during the whole race. In fact many have copied us».




«Although we are supported by Yamaha, we buy the bikes from the dealers and we customize them in our workshop. Our strategy to try to beat the competition has always been to pursue innovative solutions: consistently with this philosophy, we produce our own bike fairings, our quick refueling systems and all the special parts. In 2008 none of Brembo's brakes were designed for Endurance bikes, all the official teams used the competitor's brakes. So we had an idea».




«The first time we used Brembo's brakes for the Superbikes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans we had to replace them 4 times during the race. Our rivals that instead changed them just once thought we were crazy. But my idea was pretty simple: Brembo's brakes allowed us to gain 3 tenths each lap. Over the 24 hours this meant 240 second, that is 4 minutes». ​​





«At the time we needed 45 seconds to change the brakes. The 3 stops more than the other teams meant that we were losing 135 seconds compared to the 240 seconds we gained. Not only but Brembo's calipers were easier to replace compared to the competition's which required over one minute. In practice Brembo allowed us to gain more than one and a half laps in 24 hours, despite the 3 extra replacements».




«In the light of this result Brembo's French importer has organized a meeting with Brembo's engineers at Milan's EICMA Motorcycle Show. We spoke about our requirements with them and they accepted to produce a caliper designed for the Endurance races having the same performances of those for the Superbike World Championship. The result achieved was exceptional because at the price of a limited weight increase that was needed to cover the entire mileage no loss in performance was noticed. Also the gain in the pad's duration was huge».




«We have won 8 EWC races and two World titles with Brembo's brakes. A part from the performances these components assure, we were able to succeed because we never came across any kind of trouble with the braking system. It has been one of the keys to our success».






«During the Suzuka 8 hours races we don't change any parts belonging to the braking system while at the 24 Hours of Le Mans we replace the calipers twice, at every third of the race. At the Bol d’Or instead we can keep the same brakes from start to finish because the track and the weather conditions are less demanding for the braking system».



«In order to have the brakes ready for an Endurance race, Brembo suggests to do 3 laps to allow the pads to get to temperature: The running-in is all here because once they have cooled down they are ready. And indeed in this way the wear is even from start to finish or until they have to be replaced. The calipers instead don't need any running-in: let's start off with the new calipers».



«Unlike what who isn't familiar with the Endurance races can think, at night the bike's performances, the lap times and the brakes' efficiency don't change compared to daytime. To keep up with the same pace the pilots have to choose visual references that shall not disappear in the darkness. This avoids them being late on the brakes or to apply the brakes too early. Besides, with the same number of braking sections, often the lap's record is achieved at night because the engines perform better». ​



«As 3 drivers take it in turns and have different requirements and preferences, the Endurance drivers know that they have to adapt. As far as the disc's dimensions and the pad's quality are concerned, there are no alternatives: they are selected to last and to be top performers. Instead the master cylinder has a system that can regulate the brake lever: the pilot takes advantage of the pit-lane's 60 km/h speed limit as he enters the track and adjusts the lever's position according to his needs. This system is also used in the Grand Prix motorcycle racing and Brembo's system is by far the best».




«Changing the calipers and refueling takes us less than 40 seconds: in one case we managed to do this in just 35 seconds. But in this period of time we change the wheels, grease the chain and increase its tension and to pup the engine's oil. It's a critical stage that can cause a great waste of time if it isn't carried out properly».




«The quality of the tools (such as the pistol screwdriver) and the titanium screws is in part the reason of our speed, but the intensive training of the mechanics during this operation also plays a role. During the racing week the training is very frequent. And of course we must not forget about Brembo's "quick couplings", one of last decade's great innovations about changing the calipers and the pads, an option that so far wasn't possible in such a short time».