High-Performance Brake Systems C0718

Topics: Chassis, Air Frame, Vehicle Dynamics

While most passenger car brake systems are quite robust and reliable under typical operating conditions, high-performance driving and/or racetrack operation generally require alternative design solutions to optimize consistency and longevity. Whether it is brake fluid fade, cracked rotor discs, chronic knockback, or insufficient brake pad life, the stresses of motorsports can pose unique challenges to even the very best brake system designs. Consequently, ceramic rotors, six-piston calipers, adjustable balance bars, and titanium backing plates have all made their way onto the high-performance brake system scene, but what is the right answer for your application?

This course has been designed to assist you in answering that very question. The day begins with a concise yet thorough analysis of brake system design factors relevant to all types and categories of high-performance vehicles. The principles of energy conversion, gain, balance, and deceleration are discussed and supported with straightforward mathematical models, allowing participants to realize the compromises that must be considered when designing from a system perspective.

From selecting an appropriate brake pedal ratio through the calculation of caliper effective piston area, the second portion of the course dives into the details of brake system component design. Based upon the principles learned earlier in the day, participants will quickly realize that just as with proper system design, brake system component design is an exercise in managing engineering trade-offs. As a result, the material presented will not disclose what components to choose as much as how to choose them.

Day two of the course concludes with a design exercise that will allow participants to put into practice several of the key concepts learned throughout the course. Detailed course notes and illustrations are provided along with a copy of High-Performance Brake Systems: Design, Selection, and Installation for on-the-job reference.

The course has been approved by the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction (ACTAR) for 13 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Upon completion of this course, accredited reconstructionists should mail a copy of their course certificate of achievement and the $5 participant CEU fee to ACTAR, PO Box 1493, North Platte, NE 69103.

Learning Objectives

By attending this course, you will be able to:

  • Estimate brake system energy capacity
  • Approximate brake system gain requirements
  • Calculate vehicle deceleration
  • Establish brake proportioning for ideal balance
  • Determine pedal ratios, booster output, and hydraulic system gain
  • Discuss the differences between brake fluid chemistries
  • Specify brake caliper components
  • Differentiate between brake pad friction materials
  • Select rotor technologies for application-specific needs

Who Should Attend

This course has been developed for individuals involved in the specification, design, installation, maintenance, and performance of brake systems and their associated components in high-performance and/or racing applications; however, the fundamental principles and design considerations presented apply to all facets of brake system engineering.

In addition to individuals involved directly in brake system design, this course can be valuable to those responsible for chassis design, suspension tuning, tire optimization, and overall vehicle dynamics in high-performance applications.



An undergraduate engineering degree or a strong automotive technical background is highly recommended. A basic knowledge of college algebra, college physics, and a familiarity with vehicle hydraulic brake system functionality is required to participate in the final course design exercise.


"Provides practical experience for engineers wanting to get an overview of brake systems and sizing."
Carlos Agudelo
Chief Engineer Lab Testing Services
Link Testing Labs


"Picks up where conventional braking systems courses leave off. Enthusiastic instructor with real racing experience."
Nikolas Krill
Vehicle Test Engineer
Continental Automotive Systems


"Mr. Walker (James) is an excellent instructor, very effective in drawing the class in and encouraging participation."
David Antanaitis
BOM Family Owner
General Motors


"Best coverage of subject in the allotted time frame."
Joshua Walters
Body CAD Co-op
Ford Motor Co.


"Interesting, realistic and factual!"
Alejandro J. Nunez-Del Rio
Design Engineer
General Motors


You must complete all course contact hours and successfully pass the learning assessment to obtain CEUs.

James Walker, Jr.

James Walker James Walker, Jr. is currently a Principal Engineer specializing in chassis, brake, and electronic brake control systems at Carr Engineering, Inc. His prior professional experience includes brake control system development, design, release, and application engineering at Kelsey-Hayes, Saturn Corporation, General Motors, Bosch, Ford Motor Company, and Delphi.Mr. Walker created scR motorsports consulting in 1997, and subsequently competed in seven years of SCCA Club Racing in the Showroom Stock and Improved Touring categories. Through scR motorsports, he has been actively serving as an industry advisor to Kettering University in the fields of brake system design and brake control systems. Since 2001, he has served as a brake control system consultant for StopTech, a manufacturer of high-performance racing brake systems.

In addition to providing freelance material to multiple automotive publications focusing on chassis and brake technology, Mr. Walker is the author of High-Performance Brake Systems: Design, Selection, and Installation. In 2005, he was presented with the SAE Forest R. McFarland Award for distinction in professional development and education and in 2010 he was awarded the SAE Master Instructor designation. He obtained his B.S.M.E. in 1994 from GMI Engineering & Management Institute.

Duration: 2 Days
CEUs: 1.3

Fees: $1339.00

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