PFC Brakes Engineers Win 2017 Louis Schwitzer Award

PFC Brakes Engineers Win 2017 Louis Schwitzer Award

The award, named for the founder of the early BorgWarner business and sponsored by BorgWarner, recognizes engineering excellence in Indianapolis 500 racing technology.


The 51st annual Louis Schwitzer Award has been presented to engineers Don Burgoon, James Borner, Darin Cate, Paul Rankin and Mark Wagner from PFC Brakes for the PFC carbon disc brake system. Featuring a patented mounting mechanism, the carbon disc and pad assembly provide a uniform matrix that reduces vibration and tire wear. Considered the founder and visionary for PFC brakes, Don Burgoon (1955-2015) received the award posthumously along with the rest of the team during a ceremony at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“The spirit of innovation drives progress. If you glance in the rear-view mirror, you’ll see that past award winners have improved performance, efficiency and safety for generations of racecar drivers. The engineers we acknowledge today will take their place in history, inspiring new innovations in the future,” said James Verrier, president and CEO, BorgWarner. “We are proud to sponsor the Louis Schwitzer Award and congratulate the engineers who worked tirelessly to bring this technology to the racetrack.”

The PFC carbon disc brake system consists of a carbon disc and pad assembly made from single continuously wound strands along with a patented mounting mechanism. The material and manufacturing process of the disc and pads provide a uniform matrix that reduces unwanted vibration and tire wear by improving the overall balance of the assembly. The disc is mounted to the hat with a novel, yet simple, retaining mechanism consisting of a double-rolled ring and locating bobbins. The patented hat assembly greatly reduces stress, bending moments and distortion while the friction behavior exhibits excellent modulation, cold bite and uniform heat distribution.

Presented by engineers to engineers, the Louis Schwitzer Award recognizes individuals for innovation and engineering excellence in racing technology associated with the annual Indianapolis 500. The award memorializes Louis Schwitzer, who won the first auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in 1909 and designed the “Marmon Yellow Jacket” engine that powered the Marmon Wasp to victory at the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911. After working in the automotive industry for many years, Louis founded Schwitzer Corp., which produced innovative cooling fans, water pumps and turbochargers. Schwitzer Corp. joined BorgWarner in 1999. Throughout his career, Schwitzer achieved numerous technological accomplishments, supported higher education, led the IMS technical committee and maintained a strong association with SAE.

BorgWarner continues Schwitzer’s legacy of technology leadership as the official turbocharger supplier of the Verizon IndyCar Series. The engine of every car in the Indianapolis 500 will be boosted by BorgWarner’s line of EFR (Engineered For Racing) turbochargers. Built for reliable and powerful performance, EFR turbochargers feature Gamma-Ti (titanium aluminide) turbine wheels, ceramic ball bearings and stainless steel turbine housings.

A $10,000 award is sponsored by BorgWarner and presented to the winning engineers by the Indiana Section of SAE International.

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