NASCAR’s Next Gen Cup car will feature AP Racing as the sole brake system supplier, marking a move away from the existing multiple-supplier model, which currently includes PFC, Alcon and Brembo.
Though regulations have tightened around braking systems in recent years, NASCAR teams have long invested considerable effort in optimizing their brake packages from race to race.
The various NASCAR circuits place differing demands on the brake system. The braking events on a full superspeedway like Talladega are very different from those on a short course like Bristol or a road course. For example, on the fastest circuits, braking is not a major requirement; the driver only uses the brakes to slow down for pit entry. This means that the lightest-possible package is run, with the minimum diameter and thickness discs being utilized. The reverse is true for short tracks such as Bristol and road course events. The brake system has also been leveraged for performance gains beyond braking; for example, teams have in the past run less than optimal brake disc sizes in the name of aerodynamic gain.
With the move to a single supplier, only one caliper option will be available for all tracks, to be combined with either a light- or heavy-duty rotor. These will be controlled by a spec pedal box, again supplied by AP, which will see a shift from the bulkhead-mounted pedals currently used, to a floor-mounted pedal box, which will utilize AP’s pull-type master cylinders.
It remains to be clarified whether teams will be limited to spec brake pad compounds.