As the rule goes, once you build a race car with plenty of power, one needs that car to also have great brakes. That’s where V-Sport comes in. Not only have V-Sport sponsored the Open Class for several years, we also helped last weekend’s winners make it across the line faster than ever before, by improving their stopping power. Thrilled to see Steve on the podium, we caught up with him for a chat, and a closer look at the brake set-up V-Sport installed on his Open Class winning R34 GT-R.
Steve has been slowly perfecting his Skyline over the past three years, initially coming to V-Sport to finish his pedal box set-up. After speaking with John Healey, V-Sport’s motorsport director, Steve decided to upgrade the brake kit he had fitted to his Skyline.
“I was running a Japanese brake kit for a GT-R, and when things got a lot more serious, I took the car to V-Sport. Under John’s advice I had a new brake kit fitted, did all the brake lines, put the pedal box in etc. That’s when he told me about Hawk Performance pads and encouraged me to try them,” said Steve.
The kit John put together for Steve’s car comprised of a AP Racing 6 piston calipers on the front, pressing Hawk Performance DTC70 pads onto a 375mm AP Racing disc, similar to what you’d find on a V8 Supercar. The kit also warranted a new master cylinder, also from AP Racing, teamed with Goodridge braided brake lines, AP Racing PFR 660 brake fluid, and custom made hats and brackets.
Whilst putting together a performance brake kit is one thing, the set-up of the brakes is equally important. It’s in the V-Sport workshop where the skills and experience of the technicians also comes in to play, leveraging the high-performance braking system to get the most out of it.
“Fitting brakes is a meticulous and intricate task, whether its for a road car or a race car, there a lot of important factors that need to be taken into account. This includes what the car is used for, weight, wheel size, piston size, disc size and master cylinder size. When fitting a pedal box, we extract a lot of data about the car to ensure the correct master cylinder sizes are used, ensuring the brake balance is spot on,” says John Healey, V-Sport’s Motorsport Director.
Something which has made a noticeable difference to Steve’s Skyline’s braking performance, in more ways than one. Steve not only won the Open Class with a time of 1:30:43 around Sydney Motorsport Park, his time placed him comparatively in second position in the Pro-AM category, and ahead of half the Pro Class. His Skyline was the fastest on track for the whole weekend, coming in quicker than all the entrants in the R35 GT-R Pro class, including Japan’s most famous tuning shops, HKS and Top Secret.
“Dean Lillie, who was driving my car at WTAC, said the brakes gave him a lot of confidence as a driver. When he was pushing hard, especially at the end, he knew exactly when he could expect to pull up. Another thing to note is that we don’t lock up at all, so whether that’s due to the brakes, the pads, or the whole set up and balance from V-Sport, it’s a new thing for us,” said Steve.
For some, podiums and trophies are proof enough, but for Steve, the evidence is undisputable – it’s there in the data. Upon reviewing the data from his Skyline after World Time Attack, Steve advised Dean was able to brake later, as he adapted to the car and trusted the reliability and performance of the brakes. At the test day, Dean was braking around 150 meters out from Turn 1 at Sydney Motorsport Park, narrowing that gap by 40 meters on their final flying lap on Saturday.
“Turn 1 at SMSP is a big one. Dean started braking at the 150 mark during testing, that slowly crept to 120 mark, and on race day he tells me it was 110. It’s an even bigger brake coming in to Turn 2 – probably one of the biggest braking corners in Australia. We were slowing from around 260km/hr to exactly 72km/hr, with the brake pressure applied up to 1100 psi,” said Steve.
Time Attack and all it’s requirements vary heavily from traditional circuit racing. Drivers only get one or two flying laps per session, which equates to only one or two attempts to make their move and record that winning time. This means the brakes needs to be ready straight away, and can’t take time to reach temperature. “We do our flying lap straight after the out lap, and found the Hawk pads come to temperature range very quickly and don’t need much warming up, which is crucial in Time Attack. When you’re driving that hard and producing figures like these, you have to have confidence in your brakes. Knowing when exactly to apply them and how the car will react makes your markers more consistent, and when you’re able to predict these things, you can chip away and perfect,” said Steve.
The composition of the Hawk pads has not only seen Steve shorten his braking distance and warm up time, it’s also helped at the hip pocket, with longevity being another point of difference from other brake pads Steve’s tried.
“We have tested at easily 10 track days this year, and after WTAC, I am still only on my second set of Hawk pads. I used to go through a set of brake pads every second or third track day. I just thought it was one of those wear and tear costs, and now, I am forever asking the mechanics what the brake pads are like. The response is always “Yes, they’re really good”. I think, damn these pads are good!” “These pads are really good on rotor wear side of things too, and by that I mean, there’s no signs of wear at all,” said Steve.
Steve’s been so impressed, he can’t help but recommend Hawk Performance pads to other drivers.
“Denis, who came second in the Powertune R32 needed a new set of pads, and I told him get the Hawk pads from V-Sport. At the event he was running these, and you could say, with both of us being on the podium, the proof is there.”
V-Sport would like to extend a big congratulations to Steve, Dean, and the whole crew for a phenomenal effort in their first Open Class victory.
To speak with John, or any of our highly trained staff at V-Sport regarding your brake set-up, Hawk Performance brake pads, or general street and performance automotive needs, please contact us on 02 9679 8644.
Thanks to the Flat Shifting crew for supplying images of Steve’s car at WTAC. Connect with Flat Shifting on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/flatshifting and on their site here: http://www.flatshifting.com.