With increasing drag racing performance comes the need to get all that related race car inertia stopped at the other end of the track. As a material, stainless steel is not new for competition disc brakes rotors, but the engineering team at Strange Engineering has taken the stainless brake package to a new level.
The recent expansion of the Strange stainless steel brake kits offers greater benefits compared to traditional steel brakes. We spoke to J.C. Cascio, Director of Business Development at Strange, to learn more about its latest engineering efforts.
New Developments Never Stop
Cascio offers some insight into the stainless steel material trend. “Strange Engineering is in a constant state of innovating and refining that improves our product lines. The Strange Engineering line of brakes is no exception.”
The stainless disc rotor designs provide a safer and more efficient rotor material that demonstrates 48 percent greater yield strength at 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit during hard braking as compared to steel. These material benefits also further maintain rotor integrity.
Two versions of Strange stainless steel rotor designs are available; the traditional Pro II S Series stainless rotor uses a similar design to the Strange steel rotors with directional slots. The new Evolution S stainless rotor features a unique aero-slot pattern design with much less rotating weight compared to the Strange steel brake rotors. Both of the stainless brake designs are developed for racers desiring minimal weight while not compromising brake performance.
The scalloped design of the aero-slot rotor further reduces rotating weight and promotes even heat dissipation compared to some common round drilled holes. These rotors typically measure 11.250 inches outside diameter, with a thickness of .355 inch.
The brake pads for the various stainless brake rotors come in various compounds. The pads are semi-metallic, but will vary in composition between the front and rear brakes. All of the pad compounds offered by Strange have exceptional cold-holding capabilities, as you would expect from a drag-racing-specific brake kit.
New Materials Plus Fresh Engineering
Both the Pro IIS Stainless and Evolution S stainless rotor designs are machined from premium stainless billets, heat-treated, and fully ground to dimension. Compared to steel brake models, both Strange stainless brake designs result in increased airflow around the rotors, demonstrating a more even heat dissipation.
The Strange Dynamic Drive Mount system is the relationship between the rotor, rotor hat, and Spirlox retaining ring. The clearance and exacting tolerances between these parts allow for more consistent heat expansion of the rotor, which will highly reduce warpage and coning by allowing for even heat dissipation during extreme braking. – J.C. Cascio, Strange Engineering
There are additional tech features within these new stainless brake sets, not limited to the rotors. Cascio states, “Over the past several decades, we have worked with customers, racers, and builders to test brake pad compounds. We changed piston and caliper configurations and have implemented changes to our rotor design to improve braking and increase the longevity of the components.”
There are additional tech features within these new stainless brake sets, not limited to the rotors,” Cascio states. “We changed piston and caliper configurations to improve braking and increase the longevity of the components.”
The New Dynamic Drive Mount
Another new engineering feature incorporated into these new brake designs includes the Strange Dynamic Drive Mount (DDM) system. The stainless rotors are connected to the new billet aluminum DDM hat with internal Spirlox fasteners.These new Spirolox fasteners eliminate bolts between the hats and rotors, which eases assembly, reduces rotating weight, and eliminates a significant amount of thermally generated stress, as the hat and rotor are allowed to expand and contract independently.
The Strange Evolution brake calipers are another fresh engineering design. These new stiffer calipers offer increased heat capacity and clamping (braking) force. Additional benefits at the brake pedal are high caliper piston retraction and weight reduction resulting in more efficient acceleration and, most importantly, better stopping duties.
This Spirolox fastening design also drastically reduces common warping, coning, and cracking. The DDM hat is fully machined from billet aluminum, which further reduces its rotating weight. Strange stainless steel rotors are machined from premium stainless billets, proprietary heat treated, and with a fully ground finish.
The Strange Evolution brake calipers are another fresh engineering design. These new stiffer calipers offer superior heat capacity and maximum clamping (braking) force. Additional benefits at the brake pedal are high caliper piston retraction and weight reduction — resulting in more efficient acceleration and, most importantly, better stopping duties.
“The Evolution line of brake sets was tested for over a year before it was put into full production,” Cascio adds. “The shape of the rotor and the slot design underwent a few revisions before we settled on the finished design. We looked at pad wear, piston retraction, and heat transfer to optimize the system as a whole.”
Two- and four-piston Evolution calipers use 1.750-inch diameter stainless steel pistons, which reduce heat transfer from the pistons back into the brake fluid. The pistons and caliper internal design use a reverse-dish pressure vessel that offers a smooth release motion and an O-ring design to eliminate caliper drag during acceleration.
Strange has used stainless steel material in our rotors for a number of years because of its resistance to heat and corrosion. The stainless rotors used in conjunction with the Dynamic Drive Mount System have resulted in a leap in performance in our racing brake system. – J.C. Cascio, Strange Engineering
This new piston and caliper design maximizes brake stiffness and pedal feel and improves pad wear and promotes effective braking performance.
Wide Spread Of Applications
The Evolution line of brakes is available in all the same applications as Strange’s steel rotor lineup, including front and rear heavy-duty kits, spindle-mount front brakes, and rear rotors for the Strange floater kits. The Strange Engineering website offers 74 different models between the Pro IIS and Evolution designs, which cover the general gamut of race car configurations and brake requirements.
Whether running on nitro, extreme boost, or any other level at the dragstrip, all drag racers have one need in common: get stopped before you run out of shutdown. Strange Engineering has been developing American-made motorsport drivetrain, steering, suspension, and brake products for more than 30 years, and with their experience, Strange can help your hot rod stop faster and more reliably.