Team Kshatriya are one of the best teams to compete in BAJA SAE INDIA, consisting of a number of highly skilled and productive individuals. They have competed for many years in the competition and in the last year finished the race with a commendable 51st rank out of 429 participating teams. Today, we are going to talk about a very crucial component of their off-roader, brakes. They are one of the few teams that build their own braking systems in the competition.

Talk to any motorsport team and they will say that good brakes will make you go faster. There is no doubt that a good engine will give you all the power you need to zoom down the track, but if you do not have good brakes, you will lose precious time while entering corners and without slowing down properly, you are most likely to choose the wrong racing line. Therefore, it is very important to have a quality braking system that will enable the driver to have more control over the car. A braking system uses the principle of energy conversion, transforming kinetic energy into heat, which in turn retards the velocity of the vehicle. The braking system needs to dissipate heat very efficiently to prevent brake fade under extreme temperatures.

Team Kshatriya have a few fundamental standards for a braking system that includes :

  1. The system should not have interference with other assemblies, either in static or dynamic condition.
  2. It should be a compact and lightweight system which is reliable and provides satisfactory braking under tough conditions.
  3. The braking system must be robust and able to achieve the desired stopping distance and stop times. Additionally, longer service intervals and reduced service times are also a priority.

As the team makes their own braking system, they need to have a proper selection of braking components and their strategic placement in minimal space. The rigid pipes are routed in such a manner that they do not interfere with other components of the car or affect the functioning of any other component in any way possible. The brake pedal is also placed in a such a manner that the driver can engage the brake in a moments notice without wasting any time to position their feet on the brake pedal. This results in instant braking reaction and hence a better control over their car. The team uses computer-aided design models for all the brake components and is done using SolidWorks and is further analysed in ANSYS workbench.

Diving a bit deeper into Team Kshatriya’s braking system, we come across three basic components :

  1. Master Cylinder - The teams uses a dual master cylinder set-up which features different cylinders that are paired with each pair of wheels. Due to the dual nature of the master cylinder, the driver can still apply brakes even when one circuit fails due to any untimely reason. But if both fail, there is not much that the driver can do, but that is a very rare scenario. The team has also created a brake bias wherein the front of the car gets the majority amount of brake pressure than the rear in order to improve braking performance. They have achieved this by using a bias bar, which is the use of callipers with different bore and a custom dual master cylinder.
  2. Brake Calliper - The calliper is the heart and soul of any braking system and for an effective braking unit, you need extremely well-functioning callipers. The braking unit is designed around the strength of the callipers and an optimised design of a brake calliper thereby ensures reduced size of the wheel assembly, reduced weight and effective braking. The team uses a braking system where 70% of the brake force is transferred to the front wheels and 30% is sent to the rear wheels. This is done using custom brake callipers, where, a larger bore brake calliper is fitted in the front and a smaller brake calliper in the rear. This ensures proper brake force distribution as well as brake force balance.
  3. Brake Rotor - The team uses steel brake rotors that provide better heat dissipation than the tradition drum brakes. Although, today almost everyone uses disc brakes due to the better braking performance that they offer. Brake rotors are clamped in brake pads when brakes are actuated and withstand the compressive forces. The team uses customized brake rotors as they are lighter, stronger and more effective than OEM rotors.