Alcon wins Most Innovative Product in Motorsport of the Year at the World Motorsport Symposium Awards

Alcon was awarded the prestigious Don Burgoon Most Innovative Product in Motorsport of the Year Award at the 2023 World Motorsport Symposium for its SMART Insert piston, against strong competition from Bosch, McLaren Applied Technologies, and Dynisma.

A panel of industry experts, including Pat Symonds – F1 Chief Technical Officer, Ulrich Baretzky – Former Director, Audi Motorsport Engine Development, Audi AG, and John Iley – Former Technical Director for the Caterham F1 team were looking for remarkable innovation and game-changing technologies as well as ground-breaking motorsport technology that enables a positive impact on the environment.

David Clegg, principal motorsport brake engineer at Alcon comments, “Introducing an innovative yet simple solution to a long-standing challenge, within a well-established technological field, is hugely rewarding. To then be recognised by industry experts for this achievement is truly phenomenal!”

“With competitive motorsport usually cloaked in secrecy, it’s refreshing to shine a light on innovation and Alcon’s SMART insert solution impressed the judging panel,” said Soheila Kimberley, Kimberley Media Group’s Publishing Director. “Developing breakthrough technology is one thing, but being able to bring it into production is another matter entirely. To address both challenges was a fine achievement.”

Branded SMART for Spherically Mounted ARTiculating inserts, the solution addresses brake pedal feel degradation from uneven or taper-worn brake pads.

Taper-worn pads introduce an angular gap between the pad and the caliper piston as the contact relationship is no longer parallel. A brake caliper with taper-worn pads will use more brake fluid in closing this angular gap when the brakes are applied and therefore present a longer brake pedal travel to the driver.

David Clegg says, “This product is a piston insert intended for motorsport applications. It compensates for pad taper wear and will mitigate its propagation.”

According to Clegg, the insert solution specifically resolves any angular gap between the piston and brake pad. The SMART piston assembly comprises an insert that is retained by and articulates between two spherical surfaces. This then restores the co-planar/parallel relationship between the piston and the brake pad backplate.

“We already have this system in the marketplace, and we’re looking to drive the technology into other areas of motorsport,” Clegg concluded.