Powerbrake™ Racing News
Powerbrake PB62I rally-raid brake calipers make an impressive debut in the 2010 Dakar Rally
Powerbrake was approached by Glyn Hall (head of the Hallspeed / Nissan Motorsport) during 2009 and asked to develop a front and rear brake system for the well known, space-frame Nissan Navara race trucks that are built by the company in Midrand, South Africa. The Hallspeed developed Nissan Navaras, have won major events and championships in Portugal, Hungary, Russia and South Africa as well as achieving numerous top ten finishes in the prestigious Dakar rally. The vehicles each require 1000 man-hours to build, feature six-speed sequential gearboxes and a state-of-the-art suspension system.
The design brief was for a 6-piston caliper that would be able to operate within the harsh conditions encountered in international off-road rally-raid racing, matched to heavy duty brake rotors (of diameter 315 – 320mm) that could be packaged within the 16 inch race wheels used on the Hallspeed Navaras. Emphasis was placed on performance, durability and cost (both in terms of initial purchase price as well as future running costs).
Powerbrake engineers went to work immediately, developing an entirely new billet race caliper to be designated the Powerbrake PB62I. The PB62I caliper is extremely compact considering the large volume brake pad profile it is designed around. Caliper features include: internal fluid crossovers, thick wall stainless steel pistons, recessed bleed screws, heavy-duty stainless steel pad abutments and fluid inlets designed to protect banjo-style fittings from damage from rocks, stones and other debris.
Powerbrake also produced custom 315x32mm 2-piece GT-Series rotor assemblies that are included in the front and rear brake kits for the Hallspeed cars. The rotors feature Powerbrake’s staggered cooling vane technology and thick friction plate walls for maximum durability and wear life. The GT-Series rotor friction rings are cast from proprietary cast-iron alloys and undergo multiple stress-relieving processes during manufacture resulting in exceptional stability and maximum resistance to distortion and cracking.
The rotors are matched to lightweight billet alluminium mounting hats/bells. The assemblies employ Powerbrake’s unique semi-floating mounting system, which allows the rotor friction rings to expand and contract, independent from the mounting bells, without the negative aspects associated with full-floating systems in terms of mud, sand and stones clogging up the floating bobbins and resulting in accelerated wear and reduced reliability.
The complete front and rear brake kits (including PB62I calipers, rotor assemblies, billet mounting brackets) were fitted to a brand new Hallspeed Navara (destined to be campaigned by Alfie Cox and navigator J¸rgen Schrˆder in the 2010 Dakar) at the beginning of August 2009. After initial field trials, the vehicle competed in the Highveld 400 and Toyota Dealer 400 races in South Africa, which served as an excellent proving ground for the newly developed Powerbrake system. The team was very happy with the brake performance and durability during testing and ordered the necessary spare parts necessary for the upcoming 2010 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally.
The PS Laser team (consisting of driver Alfie Cox and navigator J¸rgen Schrˆder and backed up by Hallspeed technical staff) fared extremely well during the 2010 Dakar and were running 5th overall when they were forced to retire after a crash into a ravine resulted in engine damage. The incident occurred about 144km into the 2010 event’s second longest special stage of 483km.
"One day things work so well and the next it goes wrong so badly," said a devastated Cox on his 47th birthday. "We were really doing well, the car was great and we were in a good rhythm. Coming down the hill this ravine looked pretty easily accessible. The car landed nose first and that pushed the oil-cooler into the engine and damaged the sump. Our T4 support truck blew a turbo yesterday, so we have no back-up with spare parts. We have seen how scores of cars almost made the same mistake, unfortunately we were not so lucky..."
A number of cars went down the embankment at the same place where Cox and Schrˆder crashed. Some were lucky to avoid serious damage but quite a few suffered a similar fate to the PS Laser Navara.
Powerbrake is proud to have been chosen as the brake system supplier to the Hallspeed / PS Laser 2010 Dakar team and look forward to working closely with Hallspeed moving forward.
For detailed information on Powerbrake’s PB62I brake kits – click here