I think we can all agree cars are great fun to drive. We also like comparing cars side by side, lining up the specs: horse power, torque ratios, top speed, and 0-60 times. One spec, just as important as the rest that we often overlook is 60 – 0 times, or stopping times. The fact remains, though, cars must stop. Many of today’s cars do that function using something called Antilock Braking or ABS. ABS uses sensors to monitor the wheel speed in order to determine if a wheel, or multiple wheels, are about to lock up. If the sensors determine this is happening, a series of hydraulic valves limit or reduce the braking on that or those wheels. Since this works on all four tires, we can confidently depress the brake pedal without our knuckles turning white (hopefully).
Good braking is vital for first and foremost safety, and for more of an entertainment purpose, of getting a low time on a hot lap every now and then. Efficient stopping power means you can apply the brakes later, and you are able to get back on the power quicker. Another handy feature to this whole shaving seconds off lap times is traction control. As complicated as traction control may seem to the naked eye, it is pretty basic in that it actually shares computer sensors with the ABS control sensors, instead of slowly applying the brakes to slow the tires down, however; traction control measures rotational speed of the tires to determine if the wheels receiving power have lost their traction. If they have, and one wheel is spinning faster than the other the ESP system “pumps” the break to that wheel, reducing the speed and in doing so, also reduces the tire slip, especially in slippery conditions.