Racing Technology Available for the Street: StopTech Big Brake Kits

Thursday, March 14, 2013 by Ben Rooney

When street cars go to the racetrack, the brakes are often the weakest link. While a street car's brakes usually only need to deliver maximum braking force from high speed on emergency occasions, a car on a racetrack uses maximum braking repeatedly, often with very little time to cool down. Overheated brakes quickly lose stopping power, which can lead to slower lap times and/or frightening moments. 

Tire Rack has been carrying StopTech pads and rotors, and now we are pleased to add their Big Brake Kits. Available in rotor diameters from 322mm-380mm (12.7"-15"), they're available for a wide variety of performance-oriented applications. To check brake products available for your car, shop by vehicle

Engineered to the highest standards, StopTech emphasizes rigidity in their calipers for reliable performance under demanding conditions. Their calipers feature a patented bolt-in bridge that enhances stiffness and allows easy access to the brake pads for efficient pad changes. 

The multi-piston calipers use differential piston diameters to precisely manage clamping force across the pad face. This minimizes uneven brake pad wear, particularly taper wear, for consistent performance over the life of the brake pads. The StopTech kits are vehicle-specific designs that maintain optimum brake balance and are 100% compatible with ABS and stability control systems. Calipers can be ordered in red or black finishes.  

Two-piece rotors feature an iron ring under the brake pads for optimum heat dissipation with an aluminum hat to save weight. The iron outer ring is replaceable, while the center hat is retained and bolted to the the new outer ring. Rotors are available in slotted or drilled styles. 

When upgrading your brakes, it's important to make sure that your wheels will fit the new, larger rotor and caliper. You may need bigger wheels than stock to fit the bigger rotors and calipers. StopTech has templates available to check the fit for your wheels. These kits are built to order, so please allow 2-3 weeks lead time when making your purchase. 

If you're thinking about ordering a big brake upgrade, you can look forward to shorter stopping distances, greater fade resistance, better modulation and a firmer brake pedal. In addition, the big brakes with red or black painted calipers will enhance the appearance of your vehicle. They look especially good behind large diameter wheels with open designs. Take a look at our complete line of StopTech products

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin X-Ice Xi3

Monday, February 25, 2013 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Michelin X-Ice Xi3Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.64

2013 Audi Allroad
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Nashua, NH
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
February 17, 2013

For many years I used Bridgestone Blizzaks, which perform very well in ice and snow. But for my new all-wheel drive Audi, I wanted winter tires that handled better on dry pavement. The Michelin Xi3 was said to almost equal the Blizzaks on ice and snow but be less "squishy" on dry and wet pavement, so I went with the Michelin.

Shortly after mounting them I drove to the NH White Mountains and took part in a winter driving school. For two days I practiced slalom and skid-pad maneuvers on ice and packed snow. The Michelins were exemplary here, and the instructors were very impressed. While other cars (mostly AWD Audis) were sliding into snowbanks left and right, my allroad with the Michelins stayed in control, accelerated and braked very well.

The claimed performance on dry roads was also seen - unlike the Blizzaks, the Michelins don't howl and they felt very much like good all-season tires on dry pavement, with a confident feeling. Very impressive.

Brake Pads for Both the Track and Street

Monday, January 14, 2013 by Marshall Wisler

If you're one of the fortunate few to have been bitten by the track day bug, you'll come to realize (if you haven't already) that one of the biggest limitations and inhibitors on performance are your factory brake pads. Designed with low dust and minimal noise in mind, factory pads often lack the metallic content and heat range necessary to bring you down from high speeds repeatedly.

One easy way to combat this is to use a slightly more abrasive pad. While hybrid pads designed for both the street and track are a bit tougher on rotors, and can be a bit noisier, they also are less resistant to fade and produce more consistent lap times. Two such options to consider are the Hawk HP Plus Race and StopTech Street Performance brake pads.

Hawk's HP Plus Race brake pads are a superb upgrade for high performance streetcars used in competition, for high speed driving or that encounter repetitive heavy braking. Its Ferro-Carbon compound can take the heat at the track and get you home safely without changing your brake pads in and out.

Key Features and Benefits of Hawk HP Plus Brake Pads:

  • Extremely high friction output
  • Suitable for autocross events
  • Race worthy for club racing
  • Elevated temperature resistance

StopTech Street Performance Pads meet the demands of high performance driving while maintaining the refinement and comfort expected in everyday driving conditions. The pad is specially formulated to provide linear response in both hot and cold temperatures. With an aggressive friction formula, StopTech Street Performance Pads are suitable for light track days and autocross events.

Both pads will enable you to enjoy light track use and drive your street car home without ever changing the brake pads. If you do decide that you need a dedicated track pad, and are willing to change out pads at the track, take a look at all race only pads from Hawk.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Thursday, September 13, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Michelin Pilot Super SportReviewer's Overall Rating: 9.25

2009 Honda Accord Coupe
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 6,000
Location: Seminole, AL
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 6,000 Miles on Tires
September 06, 2012

I am resubmitting this review with a more detailed explanation.

With my cars as well as my motorcycles, I have always stressed the best quality in high performance tires be used, as your life depends upon them.

I bought the 2009 Accord Coupe EX-L V-6 (with Nav and 6 speed manual tranny) with the optional 19" Honda Factory Performance (HFP) wheels shod with Dunlop Sport Maxx tires. They worked quite well for OEM tires. I have since added a K & N Typhoon Cold Air intake, a beautiful Greddy SE cat-back exhaust system, EBC Sport Rotor and Red Stuff pad upgrade, sport suspension upgrade and Jet Power Module / MAF sensor / ECU reflash. This is not a normal stock car any longer and certainly does not perform like one - quite a sleeper.

In keeping with my performance enhancements, these 245/40-19 Michelin Pilot Super Sports are replacing another very good tire, the Continental Extreme Contact DW's which in turn had replaced the Dunlops. As these Michelin tires were designed for the Ferrari 348 as a follow on to their PS2's, that is one of the best handling platforms with which to launch this tire design.

I am a very spirited (professionally trained SCCA & NHRA) driver, probing the extents of the performance envelope when and where safely possible.

The wet and dry handling of the Michelins is excellent and steering / transient response are RIGHT NOW, handling as if on rails. Breakaway is consistent and easily manageable and the ride quality and comfort is quite good for this type of low profile, high performance tire. Braking is greatly improved with the EBC brake upgrade and these sticky gumballs, brakes being a weakness with the original car's set-up. So far the noise in minimal, but as with most ultra and max performance tires, I expect the noise to increase a bit with wear. I drove the Conti's hard for almost 40 K miles and hope to get similar mileage from these Michelins.

They are a bit pricey, but I think they are worth every cent.

E46 M3 Track Tires and Wheels

Monday, August 6, 2012 by Cy Chowattukunnel

The E46 M3 is great for high-speed cruising and awesome for the track. If you're doing lapping days once a year just make sure your tires and brakes are in good shape. If you're heading to the track every weekend then fix the car's understeer by upgrading your wheels and tires and getting a "track" alignment.  

Wheels:

Running wider wheels and tires of the same size in the front and back in a square set-up will remove some of the car's inherent understeer. We offer a few 18x9.5 35mm offset wheels designed to work with 265/35R18 and 275/35R18 tires. 18x9.5 ET 35mm on either size will require a combination of fender and wheelwell modification, along with changes in negative camber to fit. Even with the changes, this is a proven E46 M3 set-up.

For this wheel size, take a look at the matte grey TR Motorsports MT1 and the O.Z. Racing Alleggerita HLT in anthracite painted finish. You can also special order the black, blue, gold, matte graphite silver, orange, red and white.

18x9.5 5-120 ET35 Matte Grey Painted TR Motorsports MT-1 $329**
18x9.5 5-120 ET35 Matte Grey TR Motorsports MT1
18x9.5 5-120 ET35 Anthracite Painted OZ Alleggerita $419**
18x9.5 5-120 ET35 Anthracite Painted O.Z. Racing Alleggerita


Non-Streetable Track Tires:

Are you installing a second set of wheels at the track? Then the ultimate grip from non-streetable track tires such as the BFGoodrich g-Force R1 available in both 265/35ZR18 and 275/35ZR18, 275/35ZR18 Hoosier R6 and 275/35ZR18 Hankook Ventus Z214 are great options to consider.

BF Goodrich G-Force R1 265/35-18 $289** & 275/35-18 $299**
BFGoodrich g-Force R1
275/35-18 Hoosier R6 $334**
Hoosier R6
275/35-18 Hankook Ventus Z214 (C51 Compound) $235**
Hankook Ventus Z214


Streetable Track Tires:

Will you be using the same set of tires at the track that you drove to the event on? The non-streetable tires mentioned earlier are easily damaged by road debris. A piece of wire the size of a paper clip can get picked up by the tire, work its way into the shallow tread, through the tire's lightweight plies and puncture the inner liner.

So if your track tires will be driven to the track, consider streetable race tires like the Toyo Proxes RA888 available in both 265/35ZR18 and 275/35ZR18. The 265/35ZR18 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup or the 265/35ZR18 Toyo Proxes RA1 are also great options worth taking a look at.

Toyo Proxes R888 265/35-18 $300** & 275/35-18 $270**
Toyo Proxes R888
265/35-18 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup $351**
 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup
265/35-18 Toyo Proxes RA1 $268**
Toyo Proxes RA1


Drivers will differ in their preference in predictability versus overall grip, but the Toyo Proxes RA888 provides slightly better grip than the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup and a little bit of a better value. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup's main advantage is more consistent grip from lap to lap, therefore it may be the better choice for a longer event. Toyo Proxes RA1s are less sensitive to small flaws in the vehicle set-up, so if you're still tuning with respect to damper settings, ride height and camber, then the Proxes RA1 would be a good choice.

Alignment:

Optimum alignment settings will vary with tire, damper and spring choices. Most drivers will find that running 3.5-3.8 degrees of negative camber and zero toe for the front to be optimum. You'll need to get adjustable camber plates for the front so you can run that much negative camber.

For the rear, 2.4-2.6 negative camber and the high side of the factory toe-in is normally ideal. You should be able to adjust to these specs without a camber kit. Camber is adjusted at the lower eccentric bolt attaching the lower control arm to the hub assembly (under the axle).

E46 M3 Track Wheels and Tires FAQ:

  1. I've heard of other drivers running 285/30R18 or wider tires on 18x10 wheels, will that fit? When we assess the risk of rubbing we're very conservative. We consider the above wheels and 265/35R18, 275/35R18 and 285/30R18 sized tires all to be custom sizes requiring varying degrees of fender modification and wheelwell modification. High negative camber helps with front tire clearance, too. If you've changed to coil-overs or aftermarket struts, you may have less inside clearance with any of the above sizes.
     
  2. I still drive a fair amount of street miles on my M3, can I adjust camber at the track so I can preserve some tire wear? For the front you can mark your camber plates so you can adjust between track and street settings. In the rear, the washer at the bolt head has notch marks on it that can be highlighted with paint.
     
  3. What about brake pads for my vehicle? For better bite and fade resistance switch to dedicated track pads like the Hawk DTC70 in the front and DTC60 in the rear. Once you get back from the track be sure to switch back to your normal brakes, as the race pads will be noisy, dusty and ineffective in cool weather.
     
  4. Do I need to shave and/or heat cycle my track tires? All the above tires will benefit from heat cycling which acts like a second curing for the tire and helps them maintain consistent grip from lap to lap. The Hoosier R6, BFGoodrich g-Force R1 are molded at 4/32" of tread depth so they don't need to be shaved. Shaving will improve dry performance for the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup, Toyo Proxes RA1 and Toyo Proxes R888.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Kumho Ecsta ASX

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Kumho Ecsta ASX Reviewer's Overall Rating: 6.38
 
 

2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 14,000
Location: Levittown, PA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 14,000 Miles on Tires
September 07, 2010

Pretty hard on tires here. Had the second worst winter in 25 years this past winter. Could be the car's power or the tire but I had almost NO traction in any snow conditions. I respond to the firehouse when weather is at it's worst, and I will never buy these again. never really pushed the car in wet traction but they almost always spin with even alittle bit of acceleration. Dry traction is average. tire squeal where the factory pirellis never did, and poor braking power with these tires. I have slotted/dimpled rotors and hawk pads and braking still stinks.

Next time I will spend a few dollars more for a better tire even though price wasnt an issue.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Potenza S001

Monday, July 16, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Bridgestone Potenza S001Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.62

2007 Honda Civic TypeS iCTDi 2.2 Absolut DPF
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 2,000
Location: Malgrate (ITALY), IT
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 2,000 Miles on Tires
July 13, 2012

In Italy only S001 is available and not S04PP. My car has and ECU mapping and a TarOx B33 10 pots calipers and 335mm discs system on front and 315mm discs on rear. With Carbon Lorraine RC8 pads on front and RC6 on rear. With such a braking setup and 175Bhp under the bonnet with loads of torque, it is easy to detect tires' performances on such a light car. Former tires were the Pirelli PZero Rosso, always 225/40 ZR 18 92Y XL. Pressure was 2.5bar front and 2.4 rear for both brands. The PZero ended their bed in period after 2000km and the Bridgestone are still to bed in at the rear. Makes sense given the higher treadwear index of Bridge tires.
Performancewise the Rosso proved to be quite more responsive, requiring noticeably less steering angles at same reference turning angles, hugely more responsive in slow speed (less than 50km/h) turnings and slalom like turnings. I can witness more braking performance on Rosso when dry: they keep the grip even from 180km/h to nil, while S001 are till now worse performers.
Where S001 excel is on wet roads.Very good acquaplaning performances, very good cornering. Braking on wet is another story, but it is common to many max performance asymmetrical tyres, and must be considered the fairly aggressive braking system my car is equipped with as well. In the end S001 COULD potentially be quite top notch tires but they suffer from heavy understeer: initially they quickly respond to driver's input, yet quickly going into understeer mode. Till now nearly always I had to correct steering angle at 1/3 of the curve being careful not to lift right foot at the same time to avoid unwilled understeer to oversteer transitions. Ultimate grip when cornered is impressive and superior to PZero Rosso, yet shoulders should definitely be stiffed for confidence inspiring crisp turning.
Will see if mileage will improve their score.

Summer Road Trip? Use This Maintenance Checklist.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by Ben Rooney

Before setting off on your summer adventures, take some time to check your car over to ensure everything is in good running condition. A little bit of time spent in advance can save a lot of time and trouble on the road. The following is a good basic checklist to help get your vehicle prepared to take you wherever you want to go:

  1. Brakes - Since many traction control systems use the brakes to prevent wheelspin, they may be working extra hard during your winter driving in the snow. Therefore, it's a good idea to get your brake pads inspected once the weather begins to heat up. Checking your pads is easy when replacing your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for your summer options since the wheels will be off. There should be a noticeable thickness of pad material between the backing plate and the rotor. If the pads need to be replaced, there are cleaner, higher performing pad compounds available. Take a look at "Brake Pad or Rotor Inspection & Replacement" to gain a better understanding if it's time for new pads.
     
  2. Lighting - Recruit a friend or family member to stand outside the car while you turn on the vehicle's headlights, high beams, turn signals and step on the brakes. If they tell you one of those lights isn't working properly, take a look at our lighting options from Hella and PIAA to improve your visibility.
     
  3. Tire Pressure - Proper tire inflation can improve fuel economy, hydroplaning resistance and tire life. Make sure all four tires are inflated to the vehicle's specifications found in your owner's manual or on the door placard. Don't forget to check your spare tire, too. Also, be sure to have an air gauge in your car so you can check your tire's pressure while traveling.
     
  4. Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) - These systems only report tires that are significantly under-inflated, so checking tires yourself is still a good idea even if your car has TPMS sensors. While you're checking your tires' air pressure, also inspect them for damage and wear.
     
  5. Jack and Lug Wrench - If you're relying on a spare tire in case of a flat, make sure that you have a working jack and lug wrench. It's nice to have something to serve as a wheel chock to make sure the car doesn't shift and fall off the jack. Something as simple as a block of wood will do. If you have custom wheels, it's important to make sure the lug wrench fits. The wheels could also have locks, so don't get stranded without the key! And since the lug nuts are different from stock, have some stock lugs for the spare.
     
  6. Belts and Hoses - Check them for dry, cracking or rotting as the rubber may give way at an inconvenient time. Replacing these items is usually fairly inexpensive, and can save you trouble.
     
  7. Check Fluids - Checking oil regularly is a good idea for any car, especially older vehicles that may be more prone to leak or burn oil. Even some newer cars can consume up to a quart every 1,000 miles. Make sure to check your coolant as well. Warmer weather can be harder on your cooling system and you want to be sure it's up to the task.
     
  8. Windshield Wipers - Driving at highway speeds in the rain can be a challenge. Make sure that your wipers have survived the winter in good working order. Even with good wiper blades, consider applying a water-beading treatment from Aquapel to improve your vision in the rain.

Performance Pads: Which Compound is Best for You?

Thursday, May 24, 2012 by Marshall Wisler

Frequently, I receive calls from customers looking for the best brake pads for their vehicle. With a large assortment of products for driving and race enthusiasts, we have many braking components that are right for you.

Hawk Performance brake pads are manufactured using the most sophisticated manufacturing process available. Recognized as an ISO 9001 manufacturer is proof that they are committed to developing safe, durable products.

Starting with the most street friendly option and increasing in terms of aggressiveness, below are a few options that could work for your car:

Hawk HPS Street

  • One of our best selling pads
  • Appropriate for aggressive street use
  • Dust is similar or less than a factory O.E. pad
  • Slightly higher initial bite than factory
  • Will fade under track use and isn't recommend for such
  • Popular for Auto-X as they don't require much heat to bite

Hawk HP Plus Race

  • Slightly more aggressive than the HPS
  • Higher initial bite than HPS pads
  • Low dust for a track pad, but high dust by street pad standards
  • Due to metallic content, slightly noisier than HPS
  • Hybrid pad designed for weekend track enthusiasts with light vehicles
  • Suitable for street use

Hawk Blue 9012 Track Only

  • Very popular track pad
  • High metallic content
  • Starting point for dedicated track pads
  • Great for a wide range of vehicles
  • Not intended for street use
  • Perfect for light to moderate weight vehicles with moderate power
  • Good economical track pad for beginners and experts alike

Hawk HT-10 / HT-14 / DTC60 / DTC70

  • Extremely aggressive race pads
  • Require 400+ degrees of temperature to stop effectively
  • High dust
  • High noise
  • Extremely high resistance to fade
  • For high horsepower applications
  • Not for beginners

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport

Monday, May 7, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Bridgestone Potenza RE760 SportReviewer's Overall Rating: 8

2005 Scion tC
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 1,200
Location: Santa Clarita, CA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1,200 Miles on Tires
May 01, 2012

These tires transformed my grocery-getter tC into a worthy track machine. I drove my car to the limits on the tires that came on it, which were Goodyear Eagle RSA. Those are All-Season tires and they showed it in their grip levels. I canyon my car regularly to get to places around town, and the immediate improvement with these tires was staggering. My car now had the same traction my All-Seasons had in the dry, in rain with the Bridgestones. The dry traction on the Bridgestones is incredible. After they were installed, I also purchased drilled and slotted rotors with an aggressive brake pad to compliment the brakes, and took my car to Streets of Willow in Rosamond, CA. I was able to run successfully with Subaru STI's without falling behind on cornering, albeit my straight line speed lacked a huge amount of power.

Comfort wise, they are a definite improvement in smoothness on the regular road and even better on the highway. The noise levels are lower as well compared to the All-Seasons. I enjoy less banging and slamming over bumps with these tires and they do so without sacrificing traction and grip.

Treadwear however is the only thing that I see being the low point on these tires, but then again, I do a lot of driving(600 miles a week), and I purchased these UHP Summer Tires expecting to wear them out a tad sooner. I'm planning on rotation of these tires every 1.25-2k miles. And so far they still have 95% tread on the front axle and 100% on the rear.

Overall, these tires are an excellent replacement tire for any vehicle that sees moderate weather conditions. In the rain they give performance equal to a good quality All-Season without sacrificing the dry traction drivers of Summer Tires demand. A definite solid decision and I will certainly purchase these tires again. I highly recommend them to anyone considering them and all my friends like them too!

Need the Best Braking Power for Autocross or Lapping Days? Consider Dedicated Track Only Brake Pads.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

Upgrading a vehicle's braking system is one of the easiest ways to increase driving performance and decrease lap times for any track event. The most common mindset a driver has is: "I need to make my track car go faster," but top-speed or acceleration is only half of the battle. Just because a track car is the fastest doesn't mean it'll finish first.  
 

The fastest car on the track will get you from corner to corner faster, but if the braking system is lacking in power the driver will need to brake sooner and for longer than a slower competitor with an upgraded braking system. Therefore, while you may be blazing by competitors on the straight-aways or make up time in between turns in an autocross event, the car with the better stopping power can carry a higher speed for longer into a turn, thus decreasing overall lap times. Decelerating is just as important to a track car as accelerating.

 

Hawk Blue 9012 Track Only Pads
Hawk Blue 9012 Track Only Pads
Hawk DTC60 Track Only Pads
Hawk DTC60 Track Only Pads


The easiest way to upgrade the braking system on any track car is to switch to a dedicated track only pad. These pads are not intended for street use as the friction material is too aggressive for everyday use, creating more brake dust and noise than your typical brake pad. However, they provide an unparalleled amount of stopping power that no street pad can match.
 

For lower speed autocross events and casual lapping days, Hawk has the Blue 9012 Track Only Pads and slightly less aggressive Black Track Only Pads. If you'll be autocrossing, lapping or road racing at higher speeds then consider the Hawk HT-10, DTC70, HT-14 and DTC60 pads.
 

Find brake pads online for your track vehicle when you shop by vehicle.

Looking for BMW Brake Pads?

Monday, March 19, 2012 by Ben Rooney

Many BMW owners have a love-hate relationship with their factory brake pads. The factory pads provide excellent modulation and stopping power, but they produce a lot of dust. The black, metallic dust quickly coats your wheels, and if you don't clean them regularly it can damage the finish of your nice alloy wheels. When brake pads wear down, we often recommend switching to the Hawk HPS Street brake pads.
 

As a high performance pad they offer stopping power and modulation that's better than most Original Equipment and comparable with the BMW brake pads (which are above average in performance). Hawk HPS Street brake pads are designed to work across a wide variety of temperatures and keep noise and dust to a reasonable level. Many of us at Tire Rack use the HPS (High Performance Street) pads with excellent results. I was very pleased with the set that I had on my BMW 325i.
 

The HPS is available for a variety of applications. To see available brake products for your car, shop by vehicle

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Hankook Ventus R-S3

Friday, January 6, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Hankook Ventus R-S3Reviewer's Overall Rating: 10

2002 Porsche Boxster S
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 1000
Location: Coppell, TX
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1000 Miles on Tires
November 11, 2011

90% of my mileage on this tire is on track, the balance is going to and from the track. I'm really impressed with the grip and predictability of the tire. I've got Michelin tires on my street wheels and as soon as I swap wheels for the track, the car is transformed into a corner fiend. I use a very aggressive brake pad for the track and the tires work like R compounds with the pads. I ran the Michelin's on track once and they were always locking up with the aggressive pads, not so with the Hankook's.

No experience with them in the wet or cold.

When I croak these street Michelin's, I'm getting another set of the R-S3's for the street.

The open question is, how many street miles will I get from them?
They cost half of other performance tires, so they only need to last half as long to be equally cost efficient. I'm confident they're up to the task but time will tell.

Two Days at the Track with the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2

Monday, August 15, 2011 by Doc Horvath
Michelin Pilot Sport PS2
Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Porsche Sport Driving School in Birmingham, Alabama and push the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 to its limits and beyond. 

The school prides itself on using cars and SUVs that are not modified in any way from the versions on the showroom floor which includes: stock brake pads, calipers, suspension and the Porsche N-specification Original Equipment tires. Naturally, one would expect that any Porsche Carrera S, Cayman S or Boxster Spyder would come with some of the best handing tires available but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the PS2 was just as comfortable on the track as it is on the street or autocross course. 

The track at Barber Motorsports is a fantastic combination of hairpin turns, short chutes and modest sweeping turns that test the driver, car and tires to respond to a variety of challenges. The facility also features a large wet skidpad, an autocross area and even several acres of woodlands for off-road testing in the very capable Porsche Cayenne. 

After my experience, I can attest to the awesome capabilities of the Pilot Sport PS2 - quiet and fairly comfortable for street and highway use while responsive and confident on the track. Take a look at our Tire Survey Results to see how the PS2 compares to other Max Performance Summer tires.

Seeing Red

Friday, August 5, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
After putting a nice Tire & Wheel Package on my son's car, we noticed that we could see a lot more of the brake caliper than we could with the old wheels. We had previously upgraded the brake system with good looking and great functioning Ate PremiumOne Slotted Rotors and Goodridge Stainless Steel brake hose, but the brake calipers looked dull, faded and rusty.

Front Brake CaliperRather than buy new calipers, we decided to clean and coat the existing parts with the G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem. The PaintSystem Sets are available in nine high-gloss, wear-resistant colors. Available colors include: red, yellow, blue, silver, gold, black, purple, green, white, pink and orange.

We decided to paint the brake caliper mounts silver and the calipers red, so we had to purchase two kits. The G-2 PaintSystem Set provides sufficient material to paint four brake calipers, or two brake calipers and two brake drums. However, vehicles with large brake calipers on the front axle and large brake drums on the rear axle may require two complete PaintSystem Sets to assure adequate coverage. We had plenty of paint for two coat coverage and even had half a can of each color left over when we were finished.

G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem's two-part paint system does not require caliper removal, however because we decided to use two different colors we removed and cleaned the caliper mounts. We then masked the brake hose and bleeder screw and supported the caliper at each corner with coat hangers.

G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem
has a shelf life of six months and must be used between 56-70°F (13-21°C) ambient temperatures. Higher temperatures will cause paint to harden faster than normal. Unfortunately the day we had to complete this job was much warmer, so we had to work fast. We did our best to shade the area we were working in but, once the paint and reactor are mixed, there are only 4-6 hours working time. After that, paint left in the can will harden and will not be useable. I still had plenty of time to apply two coats of paint on both the calipers and the mounts. Give yourself at least two hours curing time before reinstalling wheels and don't use the vehicle for 24 hours to allow the paint to fully harden. Plan application accordingly.

The G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem Set consists of:

  • Detailed Instructions
  • Brake Cleaner Spray
  • Brake Caliper Paint
  • PaintSystem Reactor
  • 1 stir stick
  • 1 application brush
Since our calipers were not new and accumulated rust over the years from exposure to Northern Indiana's weather, I spent a little extra time with a wire brush, a little sand paper and a Scotch-Brite pad on the exposed metal surfaces initially. I then used the brake cleaner spray provided to degrease the surfaces to be painted and let them dry thoroughly prior to paint application.

As you can see from the photos of our final product, this kit will give your stock brake calipers the lookRear Brake Caliper of expensive, high performance calipers. The final coating will even help protect vital brake components from potentially harmful oils, chemicals and rust. When you are all done you will have:
  • High-gloss finish
  • Fade resistant colors
  • Seals and protects exposed metal
  • Heat-resistant up to 950º F
  • Oil and chemical resistant coating
If you do it right, you can be seeing red too.

Choosing the Best Brake Rotors for Your Vehicle

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 by Logan Woodworth
Tech Article - Brakes 101Selecting the best brake rotors for your vehicle can be more difficult than you think. This is especially true if you have a specialty application for track use, heavy towing or face challenging road conditions such as steep hills.

Essentially, your brakes transfer motion into heat, sound and sometimes light. This energy transfer allows the car to slow down as the motion energy is converted. The ultimate goal in braking is to convert motion energy as efficiently as possible, that creates the least amount of heat. The reason you need to reduce heat is to reduce brake fade and increase the life of your brake components.

Listed below are different types of rotors that are available for your application:

Solid/Vented - This is the most common O.E. application and is used on both front and rear. Venting rotors help reduce heat but are not efficient enough for demanding applications.
Slotted/Vented - Best combination of efficiency and value, slotted/vented rotors are perfect for sports coupes and sedans. These rotors are also great for truck and SUV applications where demands on the brakes are high for towing or mountain driving. The slotting allows for very good heat dissipation to reduce fade and increase rotor/pad life.
Cross-Drilled/VentedSimilar performance to the slotted/vented, however these rotors are not recommended for demanding applications due to the chance of cracking between drilled holes. Cross-drilled rotors look and perform great, but are less durable than slotted. 
Cryo-Treated - Cryo-treating is a process of increasing the durability of the rotor metal through a controlled heating/cooling process that can be applied to any of the above rotor styles.

Shop by vehicle to find the brake components that work best for your vehicle.

Super Tire: Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Friday, July 15, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
Michelin Pilot Super SportI recently had the opportunity to test the new Michelin Pilot Super Sport on our test track and on the road. The Pilot Super Sport is Michelin's newest Max Performance Summer tire; however after the test drive, I can tell you this tire is definitely going to push the limits of the category. Developed for the world's most sophisticated performance vehicles and as a direct replacement to the venerable Pilot Sport PS2, the Pilot Super Sport exceeds the PS2 in wet and dry traction, handling, durability and tread life.
 
Michelin has always had a great reputation for building tires with excellent road manners. The Pilot Super Sport continues this tradition. It features a polyester cord body to promote a comfortable ride and responsive handling. Smooth and quiet are the order of the day, kind of like Clark Kent. Clark Kent was a mild-mannered reporter for the "Daily Planet," but as his alter ego, Superman, he was "faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound."

I like to describe to my customers the great combination of road manners and handling characteristics of the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 as "a wolf in sheep's clothing." The Pilot Super Sport is the like PS2 on steroids.

The Pilot Super Sport was a direct result of technology developed in the demanding world of endurance racing. By building longer wearing racing tires without sacrificing performance, Michelin's tires allowed teams to run record race paces while converting some of the time previously spent changing tires in the pits into productive time covering more miles on the track. Ultimately resulting in bringing home race victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 12 Hours of Sebring and Road Atlanta's Petit Lemans, just to name a few. 

These race victories also led to the development of the Variable Contact Patch 2.0 to improve footprint pressure distribution, which in turn aids handling and improves treadlife. A tire's contact patch is the only connection between the road and the vehicle. The size and shape of the contact patch, as well as the pressure distribution within the contact patch are important to the ride qualities and handling characteristics of a vehicle. Because pneumatic tires are flexible, the contact patch is different when the vehicle is in motion from when it is static.

What I liked best about the tire was the crisp steering response, its wet and dry grip and great on-center feel. These factors were very evident as I was coaching young drivers during the Tire Rack Street Survival Teen Driving School. One of the participants, driving his father's car, just happened to have the Pilot Super Sports installed. We have the students drive on our test track around several obstacles and on the skid pad to get a feel for the limits of the car and their tires. One of the techniques we employ late in the day, when confidence has been building, is to induce a little oversteer on the wet skid pad to see how well the students react. No matter how hard I tried I could not induce oversteer in this car on these tires.

While the Pilot Super Sport may not be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, it is fast, it is strong and it is every bit the super tire Michelin said it would be.

  • Better handling - Inspired by the same engineering that has powered 13 consecutive victories at 24 Hours of Le Mans.
  • Longer lasting - Optimized through technology of Variable Contact Patch 2.0 and Twaron belt package for long, even wear.
  • Better braking - Bi-compound delivers excellent dry braking using LeMans-inspired compound on the outer shoulder and the latest generation of wet-oriented elastomers on the inner portion of the tread.
  • Lighter weight - Pilot Super Sport tires are comparatively light, with weight savings of up to 10% compared to other tires of similar dimensions. This reduces unsprung weight to improve handling.
At the 2011 Tire Rack One Lap of America. The overall champion and the winner of  both the wet and dry skidpad challenge were riding on Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. Born from endurance racing, Michelin Pilot Super Sport gives you the exhilaration of driving the best performing street tire in the world. It truly is a super tire. No phone booth required.

Choosing the Right Brake Pads

Monday, June 27, 2011 by Logan Woodworth
With all the talk about horsepower, torque, 0-60 times and top speed, what often gets overlooked is the performance of a vehicle's braking system. Let's face it, how important is 600 bhp and a 0-60 in 2.9 seconds if your car takes a country mile to stop? This may be obvious to some, but ask yourself when was the last time you saw a commercial for a car or truck bragging about engine performance without ever mentioning the brakes?
 
Brake pads, referred to in the industry as friction material, are the least expensive component of the braking system, yet they offer the most impact on performance. Like tires, not all brake pads provide the same performance characteristics and it's important to know which products best fit the vehicle and the driver's needs.

Ceramic pads are designed for very low dust and noise, but compromise on braking force. Ceramic pads are O.E. on most domestic and Japanese coupes and sedans.  

Semi-metallic pads provide maximum braking force or bite but are louder and leave heavier dust on a car's wheels. These pads are commonly O.E. for performance European vehicles and the most aggressive semi-metallic pads are used in specialty applications such as cars used in racing events.

Composite friction material offers a balance between braking force and low dust/noise. Think of these pads as a happy medium over ceramic and semi-metallic.

Akebono ProACT Ceramic Pads
Akebono ProACT Ceramic Pads
Hawk Blue 9012 Track Only Pads
Hawk Blue 9012 Track Only Pads
Satisfied GranSport 6 Pads
Satisfied GranSport 6
Pads

Shop by vehicle to find the brake components that work best for your vehicle.

Day Brake

Friday, June 24, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
What do a Sumo wrestler, a high-speed train and a sunrise have in common with brake pads? On initial examination not a lot but read on.

In Japanese, Akebono means dawning, such as daybreak or sunrise.

Akebono ceramic brake pads are some of the finest made in the world. With more than 75 years of brake design and production expertise, Akebono provides the world’s automotive industry with advanced braking and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) solutions.

Akebono ProACT Ceramic Brake PadsBeginning in 1929 in Japan and since 1980 in the US, Akebono's commitment to innovation, process improvement, quality control and customer service has positioned it as a key resource for leading Original Equipment (O.E.), and the premium automotive aftermarket. According to Akebono, their products are Original Equipment in North America on all of the top 10 best-selling cars and six of the top 10 light trucks. Key automotive O.E. customers include Audi, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. Police departments and other fleet managers across the U.S. rely on Akebono brake pads for high performance power, responsiveness, durability and long-term value. The ceramic technology used withstands enormous pressure and heat for a long periods of time. Each pad is refined specifically for every make and model to perform efficiently and quietly. The revenues that Akebono devotes to R&D are proportionately the highest of any brake manufacturer in the world.

The first development of the modern ceramic brake was made in 1988 by British Engineers working on railway industry applications for the TGV (high speed rail system in France). The objective was to reduce weight, the number of brakes per axle, as well as provide stable friction from very high speeds and all temperatures. The result was a reinforced ceramic process which is now used in various forms for automotive, railway, and aircraft brake applications. Akebono Euro Ceramic Brake Pads

Akebono Tarō is a retired American born-Japanese sumo wrestler from Hawaii. After two consecutive tournament championships in November 1992 and January 1993 he made history by becoming the first foreign-born wrestler ever to reach yokozuna, the highest rank in sumo. Upon initial examination, a Sumo wrestler looks kind of soft, but in fact they are some of the strongest athletes in the world.

The brake pads on your car have a certain degree of compressibility that make them softer than the other brake components, such as the rotors.

Brake Akebono Street Performance Brake Padspads are designed to be sacrificial, in that, when doing their job, they must absorb great amounts of heat energy without causing undue wear to the rest of the rotating, heat absorbing mass. This process also results in a fine dust given off as the pads wear. Ceramic compounds and copper fibers in place of the semi-metallic pad's steel fibers provide high brake temperatures with less heat fade, generate less dust and wear on both the pads and rotors. They also provide much quieter braking because the ceramic compound helps dampen noise by generating a frequency beyond the human hearing range and use less metal. This, coupled with special harmonic-dampening, guarantees a good fit for superb performance. So like a Sumo wrestler this Akebono is soft, but strong and can really handle the heat.


Looks like a new dawn in brake technology, it's Akebono.

Big Brake Kits at Tire Rack

Monday, March 21, 2011 by Chad Hocker
Brembo Big Brake Kits upgrade the look and performance of your vehicle's braking system. The brake systems combine fixed 4-piston aluminum calipers and high performance brake pads, with 1- and 2- piece vented discs and Goodridge® steel braided brake lines. These race inspired Brembo Big Brake kits are designed to offer superior stopping power for drivers that are serious about getting their sports cars, sedans, sporty coupes, light trucks and SUVs to slow down in a hurry.

In most cases,the Brembo Big Brake Kit's massive aluminum calipers and large diameter brake discs require an aftermarket wheel with the necessary brake clearance. Take a look at the chart below to see the full line of Brembo Grand Turismo Big Brake kits.

Contact one of our sales specialists to ensure product compatibility as they have developed a list of appropriate wheel options per vehicle based on exact brake kit options.


Brembo Gran Turismo Brake Systems
Caliper
Styles
Style 1 Style 2 Style 3 Style 4
4-Piston
Black
4-Piston
Black
4-Piston
Red
4-Piston
Red
Rotor
Styles
Style A Style B Style C Style D
1-Piece
Drilled
Vented
2-Piece
Drilled
Vented
2-Piece
Drilled
Vented
2-Piece
Slotted
Vented

Style 1A

Style 2B

Style 3C

Style 4D

Shop by vehicle to see which braking options work best for your vehicle.

Additional Information: