When discussing racing with other motorsport enthusiasts, you’ll come across a curious expression that will get your gray matter working – “Brake Boosting”. What this word means? Is it simply what it sounds like, an increase in a car’s braking power? Or is it something seemingly contradictory, like braking the car but then accelerating?
The answer might surprise you. Today’s blog is focused on providing you with everything you always wanted to know about brake boosters but were afraid to ask.
What is brake boosting a car? How it works?
Brake boosting refers to the practice in racing (or launching a car) where drivers apply the brake and throttle at the same time. In doing so, they slow the car down momentarily, maintaining enough speed and engine power to “boost” the car, launching it forward as soon as the brake is released. Normally, this will only work on race-modified cars, because the key step in creating this effect is to prevent the ECU from closing the throttle as soon as you apply the brakes.
Can you brake by boosting while rolling?
Yes, indeed, this is exactly how many drivers achieve this effect, while rolling races. The purpose of a brake boost is to maintain sufficient roll speed before releasing the brake and then launching yourself back at a higher speed, usually to overtake an opponent ahead of you.
It seems like a strange concept to use the brakes to increase speed, but when applied correctly, the technique can be applied to tremendous effect.
Can you use brake booster to launch a car?
Yes, similar to features in other cars such as BMW’s “Launch Control”, the brake booster can be used to start from a standstill, but this practice can put a lot of additional strain on the car’s drivetrain. , which is why most people who use the technique actually perform a brake-raising maneuver from a roll.
Launch control features in cars are designed to use the same principle, but can be performed from a standstill. The built-in Launch Control mode of a car like the BMW The M4, for example, was designed to perform this action without unnecessarily taxing the transmission system.
Difference between brake booster and anti-lag
Although the effect of these two actions is practically the same, the difference lies in how it is achieved. Rolling anti lag is a function built into the car which, when activated – usually by an activation button – will limit vehicle speed or engine RPM, but will not inhibit the car’s turbocharger. This way the turbocharger builds up power while the engine is limited to what you preset in mph or rpm beforehand.
Brake boost, on the other hand, is the more direct physical action of applying the gas pedal and brake pedal simultaneously and using the gas pedal to maintain and build the same momentum.
Is Brake Boost Bad for Your Car?
The answer is yes, it can be bad for a car. Brake booster can add a lot of wear and tear to the drivetrain, especially the brake system. If used in excess, the heat generated can even cause the brakes to smoke and catch fire, which obviously makes the situation much more dangerous for everyone involved. Some claim that the strain put on the system is just similar to driving your car up a steep hill.
That said, it’s not exactly worse for your car than any other racing habit. Don’t forget that when you’re driving a car, you’re pushing it to the physical limits of its mechanical abilities. Brake boost is bad for your car in the same way that racing, in general, is “bad” for a car, because it puts enormous strain on the mechanical components, but when used properly, no damage will be permanent or irreparable.
How do you brake boost an automatic?
Boosting the brake on an automatic is a simpler proposition because you don’t have to worry about the manual clutch wearing out. First, you hit a steady speed of around 20 mph, and then you start gently applying the brake. When the brake is on, you press the accelerator pedal all the way down. A speed of 20 mph seems slow for something like this, a racing maneuver, but it serves the purposes of the technique very well.
Since the gas pedal is down, you have to wait until you hear the car’s turbocharger spool. After listening to this, you can release the brake and experience the energy surge and boost effect. You’ll hear a lot of engine noise, but the increase in speed is palpable and immediate.
Can you brake by boosting a manual car?
You can crank up the brakes on a manual car, but some caution that the strain on the clutch and drivetrain components can be too great, not to mention the brakes. The process of getting the brake boost is pretty much the same as described above, but the key thing to remember with manual cars is that you must do it in a lower gear to get the proper effect.
Can you brake by boosting a supercharged car?
The consensus among drivers is that while technically you can perform a brake boost maneuver on a supercharged car, the way the supercharger works prevents any real boost from being achieved, especially compared to that of a turbocharger.
A supercharger boosts the boost per rpm, but when you boost it with a turbocharger, you’re revving the turbo to beat the lag and get that boost when you release the brake. The same effect typically won’t be achieved with a supercharger without some other additional components being used to help, like a torque converter. A converter would allow you to start from a higher RPM, but whether that would give you any significant speed boosts is another question.
Conclusion: Brake Boosting – good or bad?
It’s clearly good running technique that gives you a significant advantage during the roll run. When all other things are equal, that power boost is just what you need to outrun an opponent and overtake them at the crucial moment of the race. Drivers need to be mindful, however, about what brake boosting can do to their car’s brakes and drivetrain components. Do not hold the effect too long, nor use it too often.