HOW DOES THE M.L.C.P.C.™ SYSTEM FUNCTION?
A hard brake pedal is faster because you can brake later, and it is required to properly trail brake and use your muscle memory to do so, as explained later. You can consider a race car braking system as 2 stages:
The “soft stage”: When you apply pressure on the pedal, it will move 10-20 mm (0.39-0.79 in) (measured on the pedal plate), while you build up pressure, while the caliper pistons are traveling to and pushing the brake pads lightly against the brake disc, and to compensate for the small amount of play in all the mechanical parts on the pedal system that is required for them not to seize up.
The “hard stage”: When hydraulic pressure is built up, the brake pads are squeezing the discs hard and all mechanical play is compensated. In this stage, your foot is basically “pressing against a wall”, because now your muscles are pressing directly against the hydraulic forces (the brake fluid). Since the fluid cannot be compressed, you will feel the pedal is hard. When a race car driver complains about a “long” or a “soft” pedal, it is typically because there is air in the system, and since air CAN be compressed, the pedal will feel soft and long. The mechanics then bleed the brakes for air, meaning there is only fluid left in the system, and the pedal is once again hard after passing the “soft stage”.
Most mechanical sim racing pedals on the market, have an “unlimited” travel, as it is essentially a question about how hard you squeeze the elastomer. Oftentimes, the elastomer is overworked (compressed more than designed for) and it provides a spongy and inconsistent brake feel and eventually the elastomer will break because of being overworked out of spec. But worst of all: with the long brake pedal travel, you will have to brake earlier to build up full brake pressure!
In our quest to mimic the perfect race car feel, we have implemented a mechanical stop in our M.L.C.P.C. brake system. You can adjust the hardness of the “soft stage”, by changing elastomers, but the travel will be limited to 15-25 mm (0.15-0.98 in) on the pedal plate (around 12 mm (0.47 in) piston travel in the M.L.C.P.C cylinder) to simulate the “hard stage” where the pressure has built up, and the feeling is like “pressing a wall”. In the transition between the soft and hard stage (when hitting the mechanical stop) we have implemented a rubber damper, which will simulate the fully engaged brake caliper but still enable the load cell sensor to measure additional pedal pressure, which again allows for a perfect trail braking. This is the same feeling you get in a real race car.
Because the load cell sensor is implemented with a gearing (ratio between pedal pressure and load cell deflection), any user using from the softest elastomer to the hardest elastomer will experience the full load cell resolution of around 4000 points in only 12mm inside the M.L.C.P.C cylinder from released pedal to 2nd stage. That is a resolution of 1/5th of a human hair!
And THAT is the Asetek SimSports Forte M.L.C.P.C. difference!
By adjusting the piston and thumb lock nut in front of the mechanical brake cylinder, you can adjust the preload of the system to closely mimic the gap you will experience in a real car (between disc and brake pad). We have made this adjustable, so you can have the feeling just the way you like it – and just like your favorite car. Using the RaceHub software, you can also adjust your dead zone on the brake pedal. This allows you to rest your foot on the pedal without getting inputs to the game.
It may surprise you, but as described above, having a hard brake pedal will help you get around the track faster. It has to do with muscle memory and efficient trail braking.
Having a hard brake pedal will allow your muscle memory to be trained to perfection. Muscle memory is the subconscious telling your muscles just the right amount of pressure, leaving your conscious mind to take care of more important things at that moment – like watching traffic or hitting apex. Your muscle memory is not wired to remember a position. Try to lift your hand with your eyes closed and reach the same spot within 0.5 mm (0.02 in) 10 times in a row, and you will get the point. But your muscle memory can memorize a pressure extremely accurately, meaning going around a track, your muscle memory can make you brake the same way again and again. This cannot be achieved with a soft pedal – especially when trail braking.
Furthermore, a hard and short travel brake pedal will allow you to brake later. Imagine having a brake pedal with 50 mm (1.97 in) (common for many sim racers) of travel versus a brake pedal with almost zero travel. Imagine this scenario: You are going 300 km/h down a straight. With the long travel brake, it will physically take you perhaps 1/10 of a second more to reach full braking power. On the stiff brake pedal, you will reach maximum braking power instantly. If you have three hard braking zones on a track, you will lose 3/10 of a second each lap.
The Top 10 in F1 or GT3 is frequently determined in way less than 3/10 of a second. The conclusion is that we at Asetek SimSports® have developed our pedals to replicate a real race car. Why? Because it is the fastest but may not be what feels the most comfortable. It is your choice whether to be the quickest or have a brake pedal that feels soft and comfortable.
Should you wish to change the pedal stops, and thereby the angle of the pedals, it can be done entirely toolless. It will require you to recalibrate the pedals and remove the brake cylinder at the pedal arm and adjust the rod length to prevent any preload on the brake cylinder.