In the Name of Smaller Car Fires

I have participated in five track days at full sized road courses. The first time was in a 1990 Eagle Talon at the Reno-Fernley Raceway. That car had sporty brake pads and stock rotors. It made around 230 horsepower and weighed around 3000 lbs. I pulled that car into the pits after my second session and decided not to come to a complete stop. The other competitors, you see, kept saying things like “don’t stop, your brakes are on fire.”

The second and third track adventures took place in the mountains of Taebaek in the north eastern corner of South Korea. That car, dearly departed Daewoo of Death, at the time had about 100 horsepower and weighed around 2600 lbs. Combined with the sporty brake pads and taxi brakes, I didn’t light the brakes on fire at all. I thought I’d solved the problem until after I performed an engine swap.

The fourth track adventure was at the Korean F1 circuit and it was the first time I’d taken the new engine out for a spin. It was only about 135 horsepower and the F1 circuit isn’t as hard on brakes as Taebaek so I thought I was safe. Nope, the brakes caught fire after both sessions.

I did the fifth track day in my Tuscani at the Injae Speedium in Gangwon Province Korea. Injae is murder on brakes. My Tuscani makes over 300 horsepower and weighs about 2800 lbs. I drove really hard. Bet you can’t guess what happened next.Y91

As such, I turned my attentions to brake cooling for this latest round of modifications.

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Clockwise from upper left. I bought a sheet of clear polycarbonate and used CAD (cardboard aided design) to make a prototype brake duct. After Sawzalling the entire thing out, it was time to bust out the torch. A little heat and the polycarbonate was feeling cooperative enough to bend into a box shape. After that, I needed a means for connecting the high temperature hose to the polycarbonate air boxes. Lee Jung-man, whose race shop I was using, solved this problem by repurposing sink drains. Just cut out the center, spread out the metal tongs and then use a clamp to join the two. Once the boxes were connected to the hose, it was just a matter of running the hose to the back of the rotor. With any luck, this system will supply the brakes with a continuous supply of cold air and keep the fires to a minimum. It’s a little hard to see since the plastic is clear, but the boxes were carefully designed to force all the air in the car’s nose to do some sort of work. The partitions force high pressure air into the brake ducts while also preventing any intercooler/ radiator air from spilling around the edges. Hopefully, this will get be better air inlet temperatures and a less stressed cooling system.

Speaking of air doing work. The upper most grill slit on a Tuscani is useless. It allows outside air to spill into a maze of radiator supports and hood latches. This creates a high pressure area that reduces flow in the lower cooling opening, creates drag and provides next to nothing for cooling. As such, I decided to block it off. Another piece of clear polycarbonate, trimmed to miss all the mounts and bumps, renders this second grill slit purely ornamental and hopefully more efficient.


This last picture is just a little reminder of how clever engineers are about packaging. The engine block you see here displaces up to 1.6 liters and will, after Team Spark fettles it, make around 250 horsepower. It will enable the Kia Pride it powers to easily eclipse 150 mph. It is about the same length and height as my size 10.5 boots and is light enough to carry in your hands.

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Also saw this little monster outside. Yes, that’s a turbo, bumper exhausting Hyundai Verna (Accent in the US). Machines are fun.



  1. I Brew - U Brew · · Reply

    “1990 Eagle Talon” ㅋㅋㅋ.

    1. Hey! Don’t make fun of my eggplant shaped car! 😉

  2. My dearest gear head son – nicely written

  3. Nice craftsmanship! If the cooling ducts don’t work maybe you can rig a sprinkler system like they have in public buildings inside your fenders hehe.

    1. Lol. Will do. 😉

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