Brake FAQ

Competition or Road

To get the best out of any braking system it needs to be correctly specified for its application. Our kits are usually split between road and competition braking systems.

A road going caliper will offer dust seals and anti vibration/knockback springs, these calipers are quieter and designed to go long intervals without servicing or maintenance, therefore corrosion resistance and longevity are the predominant design parameters. These can be derived from the competition caliper variants for the strength and heat management but are usually of a heavier duty construction when compared to the solely competition variant. A competition caliper must be lightweight yet capable of operating reliably at high temperatures, however they are usually cleaned and serviced frequently.

Improving braking performance

Assuming a road car and an OEM system, throwing on the largest brakes possible sometimes isn’t necessary and can be detrimental to overall performance. Braking performance starts with the tyre and the amount of grip that can put to the road, without a good tyre larger brakes will only engage the ABS earlier and without ABS the car will just lock the wheels sooner.

Heat management is the next concern, this can sometimes be dealt with by replacing fluid and brake pads specified to your application for a road car depending on the OEM braking design. These are usually sliding calipers and a gain in strength can be had from fitting a larger fixed caliper. Heat management is where a larger system will outperform a smaller unit and why competition kits become much larger.

Disc and caliper weight

A larger disc offers improved heat dissipation and an increase in brake torque through greater leverage. As components got larger, manufacturers had to engineer lighter weight solutions. This is due to having a large heavy caliper or rotating a large brake disc hurting all round performance of the car which is part of the reason most large brake discs are 2 piece in design.

2 Piece discs

These discs have an aluminium center to offset the weight increase of large diameter brake discs. Iron outer rotor usually replaceable and the only downside is the initial cost.

Floating Discs

Another downside to the larger disc is they are more susceptible to warping, the floating design allows the different materials to expand independently as the temperature increases which helps resist warping. If you’re driving a road car and won’t be getting the thermal input into a floating system, a bolted system will be quieter and more cost effective.

Drilled and/or slotted discs

This is not a major factor in braking performance, whilst they change the coefficient of friction and feel of the brake pedal it doesn’t mean the average road car will stop sooner. We’d recommend blank faced discs for a road car and on a track or competition car the consideration is how efficiently the discs turn brake pads to dust. Hence you see them more on track or race cars where overheated or glazed pads are more common as both will eat the pads faster, drilled can make a small difference in temperatures but are more prone to cracking around the holes over time. Not all pads should be used with drilled discs.

Friction material

It is very important to specify a pad for the correct application and mainly amount of thermal input the system will see hence different grades of pad for various different levels of competition. A competition pad will have a higher coefficient of friction at a higher temperature than the equivalent fast road pad, usually as a trade off of poor initial bite when the system is cold hence these pads should not be used on the road.