In a world that's getting faster...
...a company that's concentrating on slowing things down
If you have ever been involved in racing, either as a fan or a participant, then you are probably already familiar with the name Goodridge. The company has been designing and installing high performance brake hoses and fluid transfer systems for over 30 years to the world's top race cars - F1, World Rally Cars, Indy Cars DTM, Sportscars and NASCAR - and has a reputation for reliability throughout the motorsport industry.
What you might not know is that the same brakeline technology, derived directly from racing, is also finding its way onto some of the most prestigious production road cars and motorcycles including Aston Martin, Jaguar and Harley Davidson. In fact, all the leading prestige UK marques specify this type of brakeline on some of their vehicles.
Why are these manufacturers prepared to pay that bit extra to run racing technology on road-going vehicles? The answer is simple, explains Adam Ramsden, of Goodridge UK.
"The standard flexible brake hose, which runs from the wheel arch to the caliper, on any road car is manufactured from a rubber compound. This expands under braking pressure, and ultimately leads to a loss of 'pedal power' being transferred to the caliper. In the motorsport industry, where pedal feel is critical, we utilise a stainless steel braided PTFE tube that has virtually no expansion, even at 5,000 PSI. This means that all hydraulic pressure is transferred to the caliper, resulting in a stiffer pedal, sharper braking performance and ultimately a better braking response. Many leading manufacturers have now recognised this as a major advantage, as the brakes are such a critical part of the vehicle from a performance and safety aspect, and we provide a very cost-effective and immediate improvement to the system. These same hose properties also offer advantages in suspension, power steering and other automotive applications."
Obviously, there is a huge difference in the requirements of a racing team, and those of a manufacturer producing thousands of vehicles each year, but the principle of maintaining the highest standards of safety and performance remain the same. The brakelines have to undergo stringent testing and quality procedures, both at the Goodridge factory and with the end customer. In addition to this, the hoses have to meet world wide approval for road use, and the legislation differs from country to country.
Over the last 7 years, a full production-line manufacturing operation has been set up and developed at the Exeter headquarters, which now operates independently from the racing division. In addition to ISO9002, the company was recently awarded the QS9000 quality approval, which monitors all aspects of manufacturing, processing and assembly procedures.
Goodridge also has branches on the trackside, at Silverstone in the UK, and Indianapolis and Mooresville in the USA, to ensure that the new technologies from the racing industry form the future product development for the road car industry.
"One of the main challenges was to re-design the end-fitting connections to meet TUV and DOT approval for the US and Germany - it's makes no difference to these guys if the brake hoses have just completed a 24 hour Le Mans, they still have to pass these tests! We are the only company who produces a system that is legal in every country in the world, and which has passed the additional individual requirements of our major production car customers."
What's more, the brake hoses are also available for standard road cars, and can be bought in a kit form, ready-to-fit for any vehicle from a Ford Fiesta to a Subaru Impreza WRC Turbo. The brake line kits again are derived from the race-specification hose, modified to meet road approval, and come complete with a 'Forever Guarantee' card - the hoses directly replace the existing rubber hoses, and can be easily fitted during service or by the owner.
"We have subsidiaries in all the major manufacturing countries - UK, Germany, USA, France, Spain, Holland and Japan - and so can gather the correct information about a vehicle in one part of the world, and then centralise this information for use elsewhere. The fact that we are used by so many of the leading manufacturers at production level just helps to reinforce the advantages of what we offer."