Whenever a new version of Assetto Corsa hits, you can make the watch for feature requests or even complaints in the official forum. This drama queen has to wait additional 21 years before he finally can have some fun, and received a pretty sensible answer of user Tiago Lima:
Which reminded me to pick up some of the poll options – today: Brake temperature simulation (and fading).
Today, Assetto Corsa does not simulate brake temperatures, although it seems there is a huge desire. The funny thing is that “the community” always talks about brake fading, while Kunos would like to simulate the temperatures explicitly without the fading element. This should be up to modders and has no place in the vanilla product, as it could be extremely frustrating and confusing.
As far as I can see, brake simulation could have six consequences:
#1 Street car brake fading
Street cars, even most road legal sport cars, have brakes that need to work safely and immediately in almost every “road legal situation”. They also have to be cheap – unfortunately brakes don’t match the importance of power, top speed or efficiency on a marketing spreadsheet.
Today disc brakes dominate the market, although some older/cheaper cars use drum brakes – both use friction to transform kinetic energy to heat, which slows down your car. The energy involved is pretty serious, usually the brakes do more work than even the most powerful engines you can buy – think of more than 2k Nm per wheel.
So you basically have a heat machine, your material needs to withstand several hundred °C, and needs to work even with -30°C to operate safely in the daily usage. If you add cheap, you get something that has limits. The physical reasons might be disputed, but it is safe to say that stock road car brakes can and will overheat on race tracks, reducing the brake power.
You will apply the same force on the pedal, it even feels the same – but your car will stop deccelerating like it did before.
#2 Boiling liquid
Your brake pad is the hottest piece, and it will transfer heat to your brake fluid up to the point it boils. Usually the dense fluid brings a huge ratio of pressure to the brakes, but as soon as there is gas in your brake conduit, you will only compress the gas instead of moving the pads – literally zero brake power, your pedal goes to the floor without any effect.
It also happens without any sign of warning.
#3 Cold brakes on race cars
Race car brakes are pretty different to the street car ones. They can endure higher temperatures, even above 1000°C – but to the price that they need to be heated to work properly, pretty much like race tyres. So if you pick your GT3 car and just leave the pits completely cold, your first corners would be even more exciting.
#4 Brake disc glow
Assetto Corsa 1.3 introduced glowing brake discs. Currently they just glow if you braked long enough, and stop glowing if you didn’t brake long enough – as AC just doesn’t know the temperature of the discs.
So this graphical effect could be much cooler with actual data. They would glow when they should.
#5 Tyre heating
Personally I don’t think this will ever make its way to Assetto Corsa, but somehow hot discs will heat up the rims, which will heat up the tyres. Aristotelis confirmed that (sorry didn’t find the source), but also added that there is no data available about the heat transfer rates – he usually doesn’t like guessing around.
#6 Numbers in RAM
Take it as marketing issue. Some people will have a better life when they know that the brake temperatures are simulated in Assetto Corsa, pretty much like other fluids.
Conclusion & Opinions
#6 would be pretty cool and educational. You have data, can cheat the sim by watching it via dev apps and learn. You can also add it to the marketing blabla.
#5 Won’t happen, although – for me – this would be most interesting.
#4 is serious as well – fake effects aren’t worth to exist inside Assetto Corsa. Personally I couldn’t care less about glowing discs or not – I’m sitting there in cockpit view and never know how the car looks from outside. But well, it is there and people seem to take note.
#3 Sounds extremely cool and important, but face it. Cold race brakes are a thing for 1-3 corners when you leave the pits in a practice session. Races are prepared by warm-up laps, and during a race your brakes won’t drop below the operating temperature.
#2 Boiling fluid is horrible. There is little skill you can apply to prevent it – aside from watching completely unrealistic numbers in apps you don’t have in real life. Once it happens, your crash is hardly preventable. There is no depth, no win – just frustration. It would be easier to ask Stefano for a random dice roll that wrecks your engine from time to time.
#1 Sounds cool as well, but be aware that you couldn’t really drive more than one lap of the Nordschleife with any street car before fading gets severe. You might be able to slightly reduce brake fade with skill, but you would also bring a huge problem for not-so-sophisticated users.
Sorry, this is bullshit. Yes, from a spectator point of view you could want brake simulation. I could also understand the devs that they want to do it, because it is tempting from an engineer’s point of view. But what for? Better glowing brakes?
Sure, everybody has his own preferences – but I’m not sure if some guys really know theirs.
By the way, the night races should be pretty cool.