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Louis Schwitzer Award For Indy Tech Goes To PFC

Andy Clary Photo

Andy Clary Photo

by Allan Brewer

Each year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the best racing engineering and technical inventions are celebrated with the America Society of Engineers Louis Schwitzer Award.

This year’s winner was Don Burgoon, given posthumously, along with his team of engineers from PFC brakes for their carbon disc brakes. PFC engineers James Borner, Darin Cate, Paul Rankin and Mark Wagner were included in the award.

The innovation that carried the day for PFC was a carbon disc brake with a special mounting system that reduces vibration from pad rubbing on disc. In turn, this permits the wheel and tire to run true without any discernible wobble, improving the tire’s wear, its handling and its traction.

“The spirit of innovation drives progress,” said James R. Verrier, President and Chief Executive Officer, BorgWarner who annually gifts $10,000 toward the prize. “Past award winners have been revered for improved performance, efficiency and safety for generations of race car drivers.”

The PFC carbon disc brake consists of a carbon disc and pad unit made from continuously wound strands of the material. The manufacturing process lays down a strong but resilient base that insures the tire and wheel remain in balance during their travel over the road.

The carbon disc brake is attached to the axle with a double rolled ring and locating bobbins which also reduce mechanical stress, bending moments and distortion without undue friction.

This is the 51st year the Schwitzer Award has been granted, and the names of the recipients is a veritable “Who’s Who” of the greats of automotive and aerodynamic innovation in the twentieth and twenty-first centures: Jim Hall, Colin Chapman, Bruce McLaren, Mario Illien are just a few of the luminaries who have been feted by the Indiana Section of the SAE International at Indianapolis.

Borg Warner is an international powertrain and technology company that provides the turbochargers that will power every car in the 2017 Indianapolis 500 field.

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Allan Brewer covers IndyCar and other racing series for RacingNation.com. Allan is a fixture at the race track, armed with keyboard and camera, eager to take you inside open-wheel sport where the news is being made. He comes to RacingNation.com with multiple professional awards from the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AWWRBA). He began his motorsports writing career at FastMachines.com; and solely published IndyProRacer.com and A1GP.com, two award-winning websites for open-wheel racing’s junior leagues, prior to becoming IndyCar correspondent at Motorsport.com. He has also covered Formula 1, NASCAR, Formula E, the Indy Lights Series and its predecessor Indy Pro Series, NHRA events and major auto shows. His major interest outside of competition is automotive technology and its application to the cars we drive every day on the public highways.