Can A Professional Driver Stop A Car Quicker Than ABS Brakes?

Technology / 6 Comments

Watch a skilled driver try to beat the most important active safety system.

We recently read Jenson Button's fantastic book, How To Be An F1 Driver: My Guide To Life In The Fast Lane.

As you'd expect, Button talks at great length about car control, and in the book, he makes two shocking statements. First, he states that he doesn't like oversteer, which makes him the first automotive enthusiast in the history of the world to say something so ludicrous officially. Secondly, he doesn't like ABS brakes. Button writes that he'd even remove ABS from his road cars if he could because he's convinced that he could do a better job.

The idea of a racing driver versus ABS has bugged us ever since. But thanks to the kind folk at Driven Media, we now have an answer.

Driven Media/YouTube

These are the same guys responsible for proving that a racing driver is still better at launching a car than launch control. Score one for the humans.

To test the theory, an NC Mazda Miata MX-5 was used. With the ABS on, the car went from 60 mph to a standstill in an average of 34.73 meters or 37.98 yards. The slowed-down footage shows the previous-gen ABS system braking the wheel and letting it go 15 times per second.

This video also shows why ABS is a must for most drivers. Will (The Average Driver) was put behind the wheel with the ABS fuse pulled. The result perfectly demonstrates why it is the most important active safety feature of all time.

The first run without ABS resulted in a 45-meter (49.21 yards) stopping distance. The best he could do was 39 meters or 42.65 yards. That's a massive difference. Will, The Average Driver, can't react 15 times a second. And as much as we all like to believe we're better than Will, there's a 99% chance you aren't.

Can a professional do better? Scott Mansell, a professional race car driver and Driven Media host, got behind the wheel to find out.

Nope, not really. The first result was 40 meters or 43.79 yards. The runs eventually got better before getting worse again. There is no consistency, not that it matters. In real life, you don't get a do-over. It's not like you can lock up, skid across the road, and ask if you can do it again.

Now we need to see Jenson Button try it. If anyone can respond in time, it's an ex-F1 driver.

Driven Media/YouTube
Driven Media/YouTube

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