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      09-07-2009, 07:20 PM   #1

Drives: 2014 Shelby GT500
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC

iTrader: (4)

E92 M3 AP Racing BBK Review (long)

OK, I admit it, I’ve been holding out on you all. Now it’s out: I have AP Racing brakes front and rear on my E92 M3.

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They are absolutely phenomenal – I’ve done three track days so far and they handle the heat with ease and deliver consistent braking and modulation over and over all day long on the track. They’re well-mannered on the street, too – quiet and smooth with absolutely no bad habits.

So, how did I end up with AP Racing, the brakes that most people don’t think of when they look at BBK’s?

Well, I spend enough time at the track that I decided that I wanted a track brake setup that I could just turn up and drive. I looked at Stoptech, Brembo and AP Racing BBK’s, and chose the AP Racing product.

You don't hear much about AP Racing in the aftermarket. The only place I’d seen their brakes on M3’s was in pictures of the E92 M3 GT2 and GT4. AP Racing’s HQ is in the south of England where more purpose-built race cars are made than the rest of the world combined. If you check the website Monday after a Formula 1 race, they post congratulations to the podium teams with AP Racing parts (they make brakes and clutches). Often it's three for three. Beyond their European presence, their catalog has pages of calipers and rotors purpose-built for NASCAR and other North American racing series.

After a lot of research and analysis, I concluded that AP Racing was the best choice for two reasons: physical size and customer service.

Size matters because of heat. Bigger chunks of metal do a better job of averaging out the heat spikes that happen on the track. With the marginal supply of cooling air on the M3, I wanted the biggest rotors and calipers I could find that would still fit under my 18” rims. AP Racing’s 18”-rim-friendly front rotors are bigger than both Brembo and Stoptech at 368mm, and the AP CP5555 calipers are huge. Everyone is hot for smaller and lighter, but I'll happily put up with an extra half-pound of aluminum if it keeps my brakes cool.

I also mentioned service as a deciding factor. Chris from Brake Pro’s was extraordinarily helpful through the whole process. I asked a lot of dumb questions and tested his patience at every turn, I’m sure. He was quick to respond and made sure I had the information I needed to make up my mind. I purchased the Brake Pro’s AP Racing kits from Renn Spec, and Simon and Gary were also exceptional to deal with. I was very pleased with the whole process.

Upon receipt, the kits were complete, beautifully finished, with quality workmanship throughout. It was impressive. The caliper finish is some kind of special paint that’s tougher than powder coating and cleans really easily. As far as installation was concerned, they went on easily and everything was perfect.

The fronts require a 10 or 12mm spacer for clearance with BMW OEM 18” front rims, and Simon made it easy by supplying the Macht Schnell product with black bolts to match the factory bolts on the rear. BMW OEM 18x9.5” rear rims fit without spacers front and rear; that was important to me because I run a square track setup. Of course, BMW OEM 19’s fit without spacers at either end.

So, what do I think now that I have them and I’ve run three track days? They’re amazing. No hint of fade, ever. Great modulation. Easy to manage. I’ve had to learn braking all over again – it’s way too easy to be lazy and just brake late all the time. After three outings, there is no ridging on the rotors, the pads are straight and barely worn at all. These things are phenomenal!

The biggest surprise of all was the Mintex Xtreme Motorsport pads that come with the Brake Pro’s kits. They are a cross-over street/track pad with a 1300 degree MOT. They’re as good as any track pad I’ve ever used and I don’t have to change them before and after every outing.

Now I just change my tires, round up my gas cans and head for the track. It’s a beautiful thing!