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Efficient braking is pivotal to the success of a NASCAR team. Braking occurs when the brake pedal is depressed, causing hydraulic pressure within the caliper housing and on the pistons, which forces the pistons to push the brake pads against the rotors reducing the vehicle’s speed due to the high friction between the pads and rotors. High performance brake calipers are arguably one of the most crucial components of a race car braking system. Short track brake calipers were designed to efficiently decelerate vehicles traveling upwards of one-hundred twenty miles per hour. This is an essential function of vehicles on short tracks due to their characteristically short straightaways and tight turns. Therefore, the objective of this project was to reverse engineer a brake caliper capable of competitive performance under the extreme conditions of short track racing, while simultaneously reducing the weight of the caliper and maintaining its structural integrity. The reverse engineering process was accomplished by scanning the brake caliper in VX Elements, using the scanned data to create contour geometry in SolidWorks, which was then used to effectively model and prototype the brake caliper. To ensure structural integrity, strain gauge testing, material testing, and a finite element analysis were performed. This testing was used to validate the model and justify structural modifications for weight reduction. Reducing the weight of the brake caliper will give the NASCAR team a competitive advantage in short track racing.

Publication Date



Brake Caliper, Reverse Engineering, Manufacturing, Analysis


Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Charles Cartin

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

May 2018

Design and Prototype of Next Generation NASCAR Brake Caliper