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.

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
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle


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
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle


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:

Turning Rotors. Should I or Shouldn't I?

Friday, January 21, 2011 by Mac McNabb
ATE Brake RotorsAs spring nears, many drivers wonder if they should replace their rotors, or simply turn them? To address this question, there are a few basics to consider.

Technically speaking your brakes are an energy transfer device. They take the force of your vehicle and absorb it into the braking system, causing heat from the friction.

The bigger the "heat sync" or rotor, the better the chance of dispersing that energy and recovering in time to stop. The relationship between the pad and rotor is key in the strength and ability to dispense the heat for your brakes.  DBA Rotor

Will your car be affected if you choose to turn your rotors instead of replacing them? The answer depends on the manner in which you drive your vehicle. If you drive in a pedestrian manner and never push the limits of your car, turning your rotors would be allowed. If you push your vehicle's limits in a sporty manner, you may find yourself in a situation where your braking power is diminished and turning your rotors is not an option. However, rotors are inexpensive and can be changed for less than the cost of labor for turning.  

If you decide to replace your rotors, check out options by vehicle here.

Stop Easier with Hawk Disc Brake Pads

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 by Chad Hocker
Not stopping as well as you would like? Hawk Performance Brakes has a brake pad to help improve your braking performance. Hawk makes disc brake pads for sedans, SUVs, light trucks and sports cars. Let's take a look and see which of the Hawk brakes may work best for you.
  • HPS Street Brake Pads
    • Designed for high speed driving or repetitive heavy braking, providing advanced braking characteristics to enhance the driving experience.
    • A Performance Street brake pad
  • HP Plus Race Brake Pads
    • Designed for autocross and track days providing racecar-like stopping power.
    • Will show more dust, noise and wear to achieve this additional stopping power.
    • An Autocross/Track brake pad.
  • Performance Ceramic Brake Pads
    • Designed for ultra-low dust and noise while providing high friction levels
    • A Premium brake pad.
  • LTS Truck/SUV Brake Pads
    • Designed to provide superior stopping power for full-sized light trucks, SUVs and vans while generating low noise and dust
    • A Performance Street brake pad
  • HP Super Duty Brake Pads
    • Designed for severe duty applications frequently towing max capacity loads, providing maximum stopping power and high heat dissipation.
Hawk HPS Brake PadsHawk LTS Truck/SUV Pads
Hawk brake pads are available for some race applications as well. Check to see which track pads work well on your vehicle.

Also read: All About Performance Brake Pad Categories


Hawk Brake Pads for Your Honda Civic

Thursday, January 6, 2011 by Ed Singleton
Hawk Performance Ceramic Brake PadsHawk Performance offers several performance levels of brake pads for Honda Civics. If you are a casual driver and do not push your car to its limits then you should take a strong look at the Hawk Performance Ceramic Brake Pad.

This pad will offer improved stopping power over the factory brake pads and since they are ceramic they will not produce any dark brake dust.

What is the best way to prevent steering wheel shake?

Saturday, October 16, 2010 by Mac McNabb
Always try the easiest thing first!

You are going to need a few tools:A wire brush and cordless drill help, along with some anti-seize lube.
  1. Jack up the car and put jack stands under frame or proper location.
  2. Clean the back of your wheel pad where it contacts the hub (wire attachment for cordless drill easiest!).
  3. Clean the hub/rotor surface (cordless drill works here, too!).
  4. Put a small dab of lube on the face of the wheel pad.
  5. Torque the lugs with the car in the air (not on the ground).  Torque in a star pattern and try a 3-step process for best ride.
Many customers have complained of pedal pulse on brakes. Complaints of a slight shimmy in the steering wheel come up occasionally. Stories of a slight vibration in the car are not uncommon. All of these things can be caused by improperly torqued lugs on your vehicle! Don't be too fast to blame the Centric brake rotors, the Kumho tires or the Road Force balancer used at the shop. It could have easily been a careless shop tech or even yourself that improperly put the wheels back on the vehicle.

Project STR to Continue Development in 2011

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 by Tire Rack Motorsports
Tire Rack and Grassroots Motorsports are excited to announce our drivers/test team will be returning in the 2010 Mazda MX-5 for another season of SCCA Solo competition and STR vehicle development. 2010’s competition success exceeded our expectations as the car and drivers scored: Project STR turns toward victory at the CENDIV Divisional Championship
  • Three divisional championships
  • Two ProSolo class wins
  • Second place overall in the year-end ProSolo class standings
  • Two Tire Rack SCCA National Championship trophy positions (6th and 9th of 51)
  • STRL Tire Rack SCCA National Championship
The results were accomplished by resisting the temptation to throw all the go-fast parts at the car at the beginning of the season. Instead, we followed a systematic approach of installing and testing the major component changes so we could share the real world gains with readers along the way.

Plans are already in place for more car development and product testing -- a wet and dry extreme performance tire shootout, a brake pad comparison, further suspension changes and by popular demand, a heavy versus light weight wheel track test.

Do you have additional SCCA Solo-related comparisons you would like to see tested? Myths to bust or confirm? Give us your ideas below.

The Lowdown on Low Rolling Resistance

Thursday, July 22, 2010 by Cooper
Wet track testWith the advent of new green propulsion technologies for cars, light trucks, and SUVs, it is only natural that tire manufacturing companies would take an interest in developing more fuel-efficient tires. Market demand for such tires will only continue to increase as the fleet of hybrid, electric, and diesel-powered vehicles grows and becomes more and more ubiquitous.

Certainly, lowering tire rolling resistance by optimizing a tire’s weight, internal structure, tread design and tread compound make it possible to reduce vehicle fuel consumption and consequently, lower emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. But fuel efficiency comes with a price. And as is the case with tires across performance categories, there are some trade-offs when it comes to low rolling resistance tires.

My first experience driving a vehicle with the new crop of low rolling resistance tires came last year while visiting the Continental Tire Proving Grounds in Uvalde, Texas. Among the driving exercises was a braking test: we had to accelerate a 2010 Ford Escape equipped with LRR tires down a (dry) straight to a speed of 45 mph and then slam the brakes once the vehicle hit a wet pad. We tested summer and all-season tires, and one set of low rolling resistance (LRR) tires on the Escape. This being my first experience with LRR tires, I was surprised at the results: the LRR tire took significantly longer to come to a complete stop.

A few months later as part of Tire Rack's testing program, we tested four different sets of LRR tires on four identical Toyota Prius. Our road route consists of expressway, state highway and county roads to provide a variety of road conditions that include smooth and coarse concrete, as well as new and patched asphalt. The route allows our team to experience noise comfort, ride quality and everyday handling, just as most drivers do during their drive to school or work. After the test, I noticed that when compared to other non-LRR tires, there was a considerable difference in ride quality. We also performed dry and wet track tests with the Prius and our BMW 3 Series and the LRR tires showed considerably less grip on wet than their standard counterparts -- especially on the Bimmer.

So after all these tests, my recommendation is this: your tire selection should match not only how you drive, but what you drive. I would definitely recommend LRR tires to customers who drive hybrid cars and for whom fuel efficiency is the ultimate goal. Given the substantial differences in wet traction and braking distances on wet, LRR tires may not be suitable to be used on performance cars being driven in a more spirited manner.

Torquing Wheels in a Star Pattern

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 by Cody Rollins
It's not a law, but if you ask me it should be, and for good reason. Unevenly torqued wheels can cause uneven brake pad deposits, irregular brake and rotor wear and eventually can contribute to the dreaded virbation during braking. If the wheel isnt secured properly it can immediatly cause a vibration during normal driving conditions that can be misdiagnosed as a tire issue.
Lug Types
If you've ever had to strenuously push a car down a street then you can appreciate the forces involved when your car can accelerate to 60 mph in a few seconds. Think of all the shearing forces involed on the wheels when the motor is basically trying to twist them off the car. It's thanks to your lug bolts, or studs/nuts that they don't twist off, and the force is transfered to your tires and eventually the ground as you rocket off the line. The same, if not more, can be said for braking and the massive forces put on the lugs.

We need to make sure the lugs are in the best condition to secure the wheels to the vehicle. First things first, make sure you have the correct lugs for the wheel and vehicle. When securing the lugs to the vehicle, make sure the studs are not loose and the threads are burr-free. If necessary, run a die or a brush along them to clean the threads up. Most wheel torque values are specified dry, so keep that anti-seize off the theads.

Torque WrenchIf you don't have one, an Adjustable Torque Wrench (shown at left) is an important tool for any car nut. Make sure you have the proper torque value for the vehicle that is specified in the manual.

But even if everything was properly done up to this point, it could be all for naught. The lugs must be torqued evenly. Torque in a star pattern so no adjacent lugs are tighened sequentually. Some people may snug all the lugs in any pattern and then torque in the star pattern. This may still yield a good torquing but consistency reinforces behavior -- always snug in the star pattern as well.

Star Pattern

Paying attention to your wheel mounting surfaces, hardware, and then tightenting the lugs in the star patterns shown above means each lug will get about the same number of rotations ensuring the best chance for a properly mounted wheel.