The races take place with a minimum gap and an unpredictable result
And in the Grand Prix championships, there is practically no spectacle. Still, here advanced technology reigns with technical solutions implemented in racing cars: Formula 1 is undoubtedly the queen of motorsport, but precisely because of its features, it lacks balance. From 2015 until today, only 3 teams have been able to win at least one race.
The Nascar Cup Series, by contrast, is the queen of spectacle. This is confirmed by the fact that in 2018, 12 pilots won at least one competition.
The format of the championship, the minimal difference in the budget of the team, and the similar performance of the 3 engines used to create a balance that ensures that the competition is held with minimal margins and an unclear outcome until the very wave of the checkered racing flag.
Many people think that Nascar Cup Series races achieve these results only by limiting technological development to a minimum and using outdated technical solutions for the status quo. On the contrary, precisely in order to optimize the use of cumbersome vehicles (1.542 kg including driver and fuel), new solutions are constantly being applied.
Those who don’t follow the Nascar Cup Series might be surprised by the attention paid to systems in terms of engineering and how they are used. To that end, we’ve rounded up 10 myths about Nascar Cup Series race car speed reduction system to debunk each one.
Formula 1 uses more brakes than the Nascar Cup Series.
Considering circuit time, Formula 1 uses brakes between 13 and 27 percent, with lower percentages at Monza and Spa-Francorchamps, where brakes are used for 10.5 and 13 seconds each lap, respectively. Spielberg uses the brakes for 9.8 seconds per lap, but it’s a faster circuit and therefore up to 15 percent usage.
In the Nascar Cup Series, on the other hand, the different tracks have more noticeable differences: on large ovals, such as in Talladega and Daytona, drivers do not use the brakes, except on the return lap and in the event of an accident. On shorter oval tracks like Martinsville, drivers use the brakes for about 7 seconds on each of the two corners. With a lap time of 20 seconds, brake usage is up to 70 percent.
The brakes are not critical because the races only take place on oval tracks.
As many as 3 races have taken place on the road since 2018: Nascar Cup Series championship cars compete at Sonoma Raceway (3.2 km with 10 turns), Watkins Glen (5.4 km with 11 turns), and Charlotte Motor Speedway (3.7 km track with 17 turns). The latter, in September 2018, became the first road track used in the Playoffs, thus confirming the growing importance of these tracks.
Obviously, on these circuits, they are used to slow down before entering almost all corners. On average, the total use of the speed reduction system per lap is twenty to thirty seconds, which is equal to 30 percent of the entire race. Watkins Glen uses Brembo discs with 22mm vents to prevent excessive overheating.
Nascar rims are obsolete because they are not made of carbon fiber.
One of the main differences between Formula 1 and Nascar Cup Series rims is the material they are made from carbon is banned in American racing and so cars use cast iron rims. Some consider this a sign of technological backwardness, not knowing that Brembo is constantly researching and testing the various performance and characteristics of cast iron brake discs, starting with ventilation.
This means designing ventilation ducts that regulate the cooling of the disc during competition. And the number of computational experiments and static and dynamic tests carried out by Brembo in terms of the dimensions, shape, number, and curvilinearity of the channels is no less than the tests of holes in carbon discs.
The contact systems between the braking surface and the hub have also been optimized to prevent deformation and cracking in the event of overheating.
Brembo pays similar attention to research and experimentation in the design and surface finishing of cast iron wheels for the Nascar Cup Series racing cars. And finally, the chemical composition of the cast iron used should not be underestimated as a result of continuous testing.
Precisely because it is cast iron, all these studies were carried out on the wheels of the most common American road cars. Braking systems are the same for all pilots.
In Formula 1, each team, together with the Brembo engineers, determines the optimal balance between the weight and stiffness of the brake caliper, depending on the car’s specific needs. Some prefer a lighter and less stiff caliper, while others opt for more conservative solutions with the most stiffness but more weight.
A delicate balance helps Brembo to develop a completely independent system for each brand.
But not everyone knows that in the Nascar Cup Series, too, each team demands a more or less significant individual approach to the system from Brembo. Since drivers in the same group have different braking styles (someone uses a racing car style with initial heavy braking that then decreases, and another prefers the exact opposite), two members of the same team may use different friction materials.
In this case, attention is mainly paid to the friction material and ventilated brake discs, with different diameters and thicknesses, depending on the aerodynamic needs of specific vehicles. In order to meet these needs, Brembo develops special disc ventilation solutions.
Does the evolution of cars ruin history?
Even though the improved cars could no longer technically be called production cars, the race remains true to its origins.