Braking points: enduro vs sprint racing

Image by Robert J. Yorde

Braking points: enduro vs sprint racing

SCCA / SportsCar Magazine

Braking points: enduro vs sprint racing

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SCCA’s Enduro National Tour holds its inaugural event May 20-22, 2022, at Nelson Ledges Road Course in Northeast Ohio. The storied endurance venue is just a stone’s throw from Cleveland, Columbus, and Pittsburgh, and the entry fee for the SCCA Enduro is an unbelievable steal, so stop what you’re doing and register now. Well, read this article, then register.

On the topic of stopping, Hawk Performance — the Official Brake Products of SCCA since 2003 – knows a thing or two about stopping, and one of the company’s many experts has offered up prudent thoughts about brake pad selection for SCCA Enduro National Tour participants. The knowledge could very well “stop” mistakes from happening down the road.

Pick a pad

Any discussion about brakes quickly spirals down a rabbit hole, which is easily done when you consider that Hawk brake pads are available for just about every application, from race cars to street vehicles and tow rigs, many with varying compounds therein. But for the purpose of this article, we’re centering on motorsports – specifically, Hawk’s endurance-focused ER-1 brake pad and the DTC family of pads most sprint racers are familiar with.

Enduro and sprint races can look and feel remarkably similar on track. They’re both wheel-to-wheel action that reward pinpoint accuracy in braking, turn-in, throttle application, and more. The giant difference is a single SCCA Enduro National Tour race is conducted over two days, with each day consisting of eight consecutive hours on track. Sprint road races, such as those held during most Summit Racing Equipment SCCA Road Racing weekends like the Hoosier Super Tour, U.S. Majors Tour, and Regionals, see upwards of 35 minutes of track time for a single race. Another significant distinction concerns tires, since Enduro National Tour participants are limited to street tires with a 200 UTQG rating. Those differences require specific brake pad strategies.

John Butler, Hawk’s Program & Marketing Manager who also has Time Trials and endurance racing experience, notes that while every foot gained in a braking zone holds huge value in sprint and endurance races, in enduros, time lost due to extended or unnecessary pit stops for brake-related issues is both disastrous and avoidable.

“Lifespan is completely dependent on application,” Butler says of brake pads. “Some cars can burn through a set of DTC-60s in five hours while others can have them last over 30 hours. However, generally, a DTC-60 is observed to be a 10- to 12-hour pad. The ER-1 offers more stable friction characteristics, better modulation, and increased life over DTC options [in an endurance application].”

While the ER-1 brake pad is designed for endurance racing, it will work for both sprint and endurance events. “Hawk’s ER-1 is designed to be a user-friendly motorsport pad, offering competent feedback to drivers,” Butler explains. “It works in partnership with ABS systems and lasts throughout a typical enduro weekend.”

Race car setup gurus may look at the torque difference between the ER-1 and DTC pads and wonder if a car’s brake bias can be adjusted by installing different compound Hawk pads front to rear. According to Butler, that solution is plausible, although tires used in enduros play a key role in the decision.

“You can always run staggered compounds to adjust braking bias. However, it’s worth remembering that a car can only brake as hard as the tire will allow,” Butler advises. “For this reason, the torque difference observed between the ER-1 and some aggressive DTC compounds, such as DTC-70 or DTC-80, offers results not incredibly noticeable outside of cars on full race slicks. Cars on 200 treadwear tires, where most enduro or grassroots racers play, won’t miss any of the extra torque capabilities [of a DTC brake pad].”

For more information on the capabilities of its compounds, Hawk Performance offers data graphs for its various pads, offering insight into temperature range as well as pad torque.

More Hawk help with Enduro contingencies

SCCA’s Enduro National Tour is designed to be pocketbook friendly, and contingency programs certainly help with that. Hawk Performance is offering product rewards for the top three finishers in each Enduro National Tour class. First place receives one axle set of brake pads, second place earns a $100 certificate, and third place claims an $80 certificate. Hankook Tire is there, too, with first-place finishers in each class receiving two tires, second place earning one tire, and third place taking home a $50 certificate when tires are purchased through endurancetire.com.

Enduro National Tour contingency offerings and requirements can be found by clicking here.

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