Originally Posted by GewoW
I've decided I will probably go with Brembo. The reason for this is, and is definitely not limited to:
- AP racing is owned by Brembo
- AP racing allows 3rd parties to build their brakes
Sorry, but I must interject a bit of clarity here into this somewhat spirited debate.
1. AP Racing was spun off in the 60's from Automotive Products plc, an automotive supplier dating back to the 1920's. It was purchased by Brembo about 8 or 9 years ago due to reasons that make a great cocktail story, but not really for general consumption. They are both still 99.99% separate as far as design, engineering, testing, quality systems, manufacturing, marketing, sales and anything else I'm forgetting. Both are world-class top brands and, in many cases, both compete ferociously for the same business, which helps keep them many steps ahead of their competitors in areas they care about. How tough is the competition? Both the Nissan R35 GT-R and the new Spec V version use Brembo brake systems. The R35 GT500 race car is on AP's. No quarter given.
2. Maybe I don't understand the 3rd party comment or how it is relevant. AP Racing is in full control of the production of their products. They do use subcontractors, just like any other manufacturer does. To my knowledge (and I've been working with them or against them for almost 20 years) all their calipers and rotors are produced in the UK, not Taiwan, Korea, China, Viet Nam, etc. Their quality control is maddening when you are the one waiting for parts.
If you are referring to how brake systems are designed and built, AP Racing operates in much the same way it has for the last 40 years (and the 40 years before that). They build some of the finest equipment available for automotive and racing engineers to design into their cars. Think Bugatti, Konigsegg, Ultima, Noble, Rossion, Farbio, Caparo, McLaren, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lotus, Morgan, Spyker, Holden HSV, Tesla and more. Their products, along with Brembo and Alcon, are considered the finest a professional race team can buy. Since AP doesn't sponsor race teams with parts or money, you won't see large stickers on an F1 side pod (approaching 700 GP wins right there) or patches on Johnny Joe Jim Bob's NASCAR driver's suit. But odds are he's racing on them! The latest RadiCal caliper (Google THAT one for a little fun!) was used by 36 to 38 out of 43 starters on the toughest braking tracks in 2008.
AP Racing does produce its own line of aftermarket brake system (Formula Brake kits). These are geared towards cars sold in Europe, since that is where they are and can readily do fitment and testing. In addition, AP Racing road car components can be purchased by a very small handful of qualified distributors globally and installed into brake kits. Using STILLEN as an example, the company that basically invented marketable big brake systems by introducing Brembo to the US aftermarket 19 years ago, brake kit design is done in the USA with tight coordination with the engineers at AP. There is nothing remotely haphazard about it. Brakes are critical safety components and you simply cannot afford to make mistakes. That's part of the reason they are not cheap either. Knock-off companies don't have the R&D budgets the big guys have for one reason -- they don't do the job as required! They get away with it sometimes (I'd say too many!), but I've seen too many track day failures to want any part of that action.
Similarly, Brembo sells components to Race Technologies in the USA, who then develop and produce GT kits. This is a very capable and reputable company that has tons of experience in this area. I understand they also work closely with the home base in Italy before releasing anything to production. <-- Gary, correct me if I'm wrong here.
This response is not intended to be a marketing piece for anyone or any company, but it is very important that posts contain facts and clarity. I hope this helps!