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      01-03-2014, 12:59 PM   #1
fjork_duf
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BBK / Track brake set up advice needed!

I tried another thread but didn't get many responses. I'm looking for brakes and I want some updated opinions from you guys. Here is my diatribe:

I'll first start with my requirements:
  • Brakes that don't fade or overheat during a 20-30 minute HDPE session (beginner to intermediate, I'm a beginner now)
  • Easy to change pads
  • Wide pad selection
  • Fits the apex arc-8 wheel - I plan to get a square set-up
  • Reasonable cost. Money isn't an issue, but I don't want to pay high dollars just to get a brand name. If the cost is justified then that's fine.

So I've been reading the brake forum here for a while and it seems opinions vary widely here. I plan to have street pads, and track pads. I also plan to upgrade the fluid as well in all scenarios. Most likely motul. I've narrowed it down to a few options:

I would just characterize myself as a casual weekend canyon carver, with the planned 4 or so (fingers crossed) HDPEs this year, and maybe a few Autoxes thrown in for Sh!ts and giggles. (Local tracks are Laguna Seca, Sears Point, and Thunderhill) So I'm not going to be driving at a 'racing' level of intensity. Meaning I don't think I need the most expensive race brake out there, unless of course it just makes sense to do that because the cost is negligible.

To me it seems I can rule out #1 since I've seen a bunch of threads where guys have just upgraded the pads/rotors but still hit their limits at the track. Unless that's not true. Let me know.

Anyway any and all opinions are welcome.
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      01-03-2014, 02:55 PM   #2
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Use track pads at the track, swap back to street pads at the end of the event. Leave the street pads in for autoX. Upgrade fluid upfront.

You don't need anything else for 4 HPDEs/year at beginner-intermediate level. Trust me, when you're ready for something more you'll know it.
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      01-03-2014, 03:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mid-corner fun View Post
Use track pads at the track, swap back to street pads at the end of the event. Leave the street pads in for autoX. Upgrade fluid upfront.

You don't need anything else for 4 HPDEs/year at beginner-intermediate level. Trust me, when you're ready for something more you'll know it.
yep - just pads (i use carbotech, there are plenty of others on here but they weren't that $$$), lines (i need these), and fluids (castrol srf, no need to bleed at 4 hpde at beginner levels at all).
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      01-03-2014, 03:54 PM   #4
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Wow ok, surprising answer. Just pads and steel lines then. Also some fluid. That's great.

Stock rotors I assume too.

That will get you through a 20-30 min session then?

Good stuff. And by not bleeding do you mean the car comes with SRF? or that I should switch the fluid out once for DD / Track (which is what I had planned on doing)
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      01-03-2014, 04:03 PM   #5
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Once you change the pads, lines, and fluid you should be good. There won't be any need for you to change fluid after each event. At the beginner level you'll spend too much wondering if you are braking at the right time.......not how hard and often you're braking. As someone mentioned, when it's time to move to a BBK you'll know it..........Phil
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      01-03-2014, 07:52 PM   #6
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The SRF has a higher WET boiling point, which is the main number you should be looking at. The higher WET boiling point is what allows you to keep the SRF in the car for a year and not have to worry about it. You may want to flush a few oz out at each caliper after a couple events, but that's about it but as a beginner/intermediate, you should be fine. Another thing you could do is add ducts to the front wheel well through the underbody panels. Ducting all the way to the caliper is a lot more trouble, but with some ducts to the wheel well, you'll at least get some cool air in there. It's amazing to me BMW didn't have any ducts to the wheel well like they have with the E46 cars.

For pads, the StopTech StreetSport will allow you to daily drive and track them at your level just fine. I've always felt true track pads should have a very aggressive tire, if not an R compound to take full advantage of them. And an intermediate driver shoudl NOT be on R-compound type tires. It just covers up bad driving.

If you're really set on a BBK, the only kit I can think of that will work would be the StopTech kit. It'll fit the Apex Arc-8, and pads are easy to change since it has a brigde. I don't know if the new AP calipers will fit in the Arc-8, but are suppose to fit the new wheel that also accomidates the Brembo 380 kit. It has a bridge too, but not sure about pad availability; I'm pretty sure it's not as good as the ST60 caliper.

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Let me get this straight... You are swapping out parts designed by some of the top engineers in the world because some guys sponsored by a company told you it's "better??" But when you ask the same guy about tracking, "oh no, I have a kid now" or "I just detailed my car." or "i just got new tires."
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      01-03-2014, 08:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aus View Post
The SRF has a higher WET boiling point, which is the main number you should be looking at. The higher WET boiling point is what allows you to keep the SRF in the car for a year and not have to worry about it. You may want to flush a few oz out at each caliper after a couple events, but that's about it but as a beginner/intermediate, you should be fine. Another thing you could do is add ducts to the front wheel well through the underbody panels. Ducting all the way to the caliper is a lot more trouble, but with some ducts to the wheel well, you'll at least get some cool air in there. It's amazing to me BMW didn't have any ducts to the wheel well like they have with the E46 cars.

For pads, the StopTech StreetSport will allow you to daily drive and track them at your level just fine. I've always felt true track pads should have a very aggressive tire, if not an R compound to take full advantage of them. And an intermediate driver shoudl NOT be on R-compound type tires. It just covers up bad driving.

If you're really set on a BBK, the only kit I can think of that will work would be the StopTech kit. It'll fit the Apex Arc-8, and pads are easy to change since it has a brigde. I don't know if the new AP calipers will fit in the Arc-8, but are suppose to fit the new wheel that also accomidates the Brembo 380 kit. It has a bridge too, but not sure about pad availability; I'm pretty sure it's not as good as the ST60 caliper.

.
Yeah I don't need R-Compound tires I know that for sure. I just wanted to get some higher grip "ultra summer" cheaper tires that cost less that michelins for accelerated consumption (track/autox).

I don't think I will bother with the ducting. I'd rather just do the BBK than cut the hell out of the bumper junk.

Maybe I'll try the "street sport"

I'm surprised you guys are all positive on the pad swap. After reading a ton of other threads I was convincing myself a BBK is 100% mandatory. (Horror stories about destroyed rotors, melted pads etc.)
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      01-03-2014, 09:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjork_duf View Post
Yeah I don't need R-Compound tires I know that for sure. I just wanted to get some higher grip "ultra summer" cheaper tires that cost less that michelins for accelerated consumption (track/autox).

I don't think I will bother with the ducting. I'd rather just do the BBK than cut the hell out of the bumper junk.

Maybe I'll try the "street sport"

I'm surprised you guys are all positive on the pad swap. After reading a ton of other threads I was convincing myself a BBK is 100% mandatory. (Horror stories about destroyed rotors, melted pads etc.)
Before you spend money on a BBK swap the pads, lines, and fluid. I ran Stop Tech street performance pads for awhile and they were great on the track and as a daily pad. Once you start to boil this set up, then you should start to consider a BBK............Phil
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      01-04-2014, 12:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjork_duf View Post
Yeah I don't need R-Compound tires I know that for sure. I just wanted to get some higher grip "ultra summer" cheaper tires that cost less that michelins for accelerated consumption (track/autox).

I don't think I will bother with the ducting. I'd rather just do the BBK than cut the hell out of the bumper junk.

Maybe I'll try the "street sport"

I'm surprised you guys are all positive on the pad swap. After reading a ton of other threads I was convincing myself a BBK is 100% mandatory. (Horror stories about destroyed rotors, melted pads etc.)
The guy who showed the destroyed brakes is a professional race car driver!!
Other's have cooked their stock brakes, but you really should be fine for a few more events before you get fast enough to use up your stock brakes.

.
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Let me get this straight... You are swapping out parts designed by some of the top engineers in the world because some guys sponsored by a company told you it's "better??" But when you ask the same guy about tracking, "oh no, I have a kid now" or "I just detailed my car." or "i just got new tires."
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      01-04-2014, 09:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjork_duf View Post
Yeah I don't need R-Compound tires I know that for sure. I just wanted to get some higher grip "ultra summer" cheaper tires that cost less that michelins for accelerated consumption (track/autox).

I don't think I will bother with the ducting. I'd rather just do the BBK than cut the hell out of the bumper junk.

Maybe I'll try the "street sport"

I'm surprised you guys are all positive on the pad swap. After reading a ton of other threads I was convincing myself a BBK is 100% mandatory. (Horror stories about destroyed rotors, melted pads etc.)
Regarding tires, I run Michelin Pilot Super Sports on the street but they melted on me at the track once and became very dangerous. I've now switched to Nitto NT05's which I daily drive with during track season and they have turned out to be a nice track tire. They provide a lot of feedback and grip very well. They also don't burn up at the track and continue to perform session after session. I just did 180 track miles with them last weekend and I was extremely pleased. Then I drove home 275 miles and they are just as quiet as my street Michelins.

Also, I echo everyone's comments about upgrading the stock brakes first. I have the StopTech 380/365 system and it does not allow for proper modulation/transition like the stock brakes do. The stock brakes have perfect feel and feedback and are terrific to learn to track on. The StopTech's on the other hand take more pedal before they initially "bite"...and when they bite it's abrupt. After almost a year with them it's still hard for me to get used to how non-progressive they are. I find myself fighting the brakes all the time at the track.

I transitioned to the ST system only because I'm running a blower and track at places like Big Willow (a very fast track) where I have to slow down from ~ 150+ which the stock brakes and track pads have trouble doing for 20+ laps. If I didn't track there I'd be fine with and prefer the stockers.

Hope to see you at the track soon. A bunch of us forum members are actually going to Big Willow tomorrow (Sunday Jan 5). See the Cali regional forum for SpeedDistrict if interested
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      01-05-2014, 01:39 AM   #11
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I've had similar experiences with the NT05's. They may not have the ultimate grip that the AD08 or RS3 may have, but they also don't heat cycle out and last a LONG time. My buddy and I have been trying to kill off a set for multiple track days now and thought they'd be toast after Spring Mountain, but they still have the wear bars to go. Might just keep them for one more weekend.
They seem to like the pressure in the low 30's hot.

.
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Let me get this straight... You are swapping out parts designed by some of the top engineers in the world because some guys sponsored by a company told you it's "better??" But when you ask the same guy about tracking, "oh no, I have a kid now" or "I just detailed my car." or "i just got new tires."
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      01-05-2014, 02:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
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... The StopTech's on the other hand take more pedal before they initially "bite"...and when they bite it's abrupt.
Your Stoptech's are not set up properly. Any quality BBK will provide better pedal modulation than stock, and I agree stock is very good on the M3. So if you've got pedal drop and grabbing with Stoptech's, then something's wrong.
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      01-06-2014, 10:24 AM   #13
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I wrote this basic brake upgraded guide for a different forum, but I believe it is applicable here as well. I've modified it as it applies to the E9x M3.

Your upgrade path is going to be heavily dependent on your goals for your car.

Qualifier: Why do you care what I have to say about brakes? I've been working in the aftermarket brake business since 2003, and have talked brakes with many thousands of customers driving every type of car under the sun. I currently work closely with AP Racing, who supply brakes to most of the top professional race series in the world. You can see my profile on our website. Thanks.

Okay...on to the good stuff.

Daily Driver


If you never plan to do anything other than drive it to work every day, there’s a solid chance you’ll be perfectly happy with the OEM brakes as delivered. Just about every modern car today has decent brakes, with far superior technology and performance vs. the cars our parents drove when we were kids. OEM brakes are designed for safety above all else. Any and all other considerations are secondary:

Shortest stopping distance possible- Every once in a while, a kid chases ball into the road, or a deer jumps from the trees at an inopportune moment. The goal is to stop the car in the shortest possible distance to avoid a collision. The basic brake components are selected to achieve that goal based on the vehicle layout (RWD, FWD, etc.), weight, power, tires, etc.

Stability- Inclement weather, limited driver skill, and chance all create road conditions that negatively impact a vehicle’s stability. Modern brake systems are designed to maintain as much stability under as many conditions as possible. ABS, traction control, and stability control systems all allow a driver to turn while braking, and help keep the car pointed in the desired direction. These systems also contribute to the point above, getting the car stopped and safe as quickly as possible.

Repeated stops at max load- Manufacturers know their cars will be driven in rush-hour traffic, filled to the brim with gear from a local big box store, and/or possibly towing something at the vehicle’s max recommended load rating. Under those conditions, the car needs to be able to stop repeatedly in an acceptable manner.

Achieving the above objectives are sufficient for most of the cars on the road. For a specialized sports car, such as the M3, the manufacturer obviously goes a bit above and beyond these essentials. Factors such as pedal feel, pedal travel, pad compound feel, fade resistance under heavier than normal use, etc. all come into play. The manufacturer addresses these issues to make their car a competitive performer in the market, all while attempting to manage their costs as tightly as possible.

If your primary objective with your M3 is to safely take you from one place to another, you’ll be fine with leaving your stock brakes alone.

Spirited Street Driving


Enthusiasts tend to be a little tougher on equipment than ‘non-car’ people. They accelerate, turn, and brake harder on a regular basis, and they have higher performance expectations. Aggressive driving on back roads, canyons, etc. puts more heat into the brake system than running errands ever could. While manufacturers expect a sports car to be driven harder than a minivan, exactly how much harder leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Your idea of being tough on brakes may differ vastly from the engineers’ thoughts on the subject. Below is a list of upgrades that can be considered for aggressive street driving, in order of importance:

High Performance Brake Pads- Performance pads will be your number one upgrade for improving brake feel and performance if you plan to drive your car hard on the street. I’ve written an in-depth article on how to choose the proper pads for your needs, so please read that article to learn more about pad selection.

Slotted/Drilled Discs- If you upgrade your pads and still feel like you’re not getting enough bite out of them, you may want to consider slotted or drilled discs.

Slotted discs provide more leading edges for a pad to bite into vs. a plain-face disc, and allow for pad material and water to evacuate the pad/disc interface. They are marginally more prone to cracking than plain face discs, but the added performance of slotted discs is worth the tradeoff to most enthusiasts (assuming the slot pattern is done correctly).

Drilled discs, regardless of whether the holes are cast in or drilled after the casting process, are more prone to cracking than plain face or slotted discs. They do provide even more leading edges for pad bite, and a slight weight reduction. They also look snazzy.

Slotted and drilled discs will wear your pads out more quickly than plain face discs. All of those leading edges assist with bite, but also increase wear rates. Holes and slots will also make more scraping and whirring noises than plain face discs, so there are some NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) tradeoffs as well.

Stainless Steel Brake Lines- While most people won’t notice a tremendous difference under street driving conditions, SS lines can enhance pedal feel, offer greater protection against road debris, and offer a slightly faster reaction time for brake activation.

High Performance Brake Fluid- It is highly unlikely that you’ll boil your brake fluid under aggressive street driving. The more likely scenario is that you’ll only need to flush your brake fluid at regular service intervals. When you do, it never hurts to go with a slightly higher spec than stock if you plan to drive your car hard off the beaten path.

AutoX


Autocross presents a unique challenge for your car's brakes. Depending on the course layout, the amount of pad heat generated may not be any greater than stop-and-go traffic driving. Many times you never get out of second gear, which means speeds are generally limited to roughly 60 mph or less. Additionally, the flowing nature of a well-designed autocross course means that you don't always scrub off a tremendous amount of speed entering each brake zone. More often than not, you're trail-braking as you approach the apex of the corner, rather than standing on the brakes in a straight line. Therefore, precise control and feedback is what you're looking for in your brakes. Here are some brake upgrades to consider if you autoX your car:

High Performance Brake Pads- As I discuss at length in my pads article, you’ll want a brake pad with good cold bite, predictable torque response, good all-weather performance, and a simple bed-in procedure.

Slotted/Drilled Discs- Braking feel is extremely important in autocross, so for many drivers, slotted or drilled discs are worth the investment for the added touch they impart. Wear rates and NVH are secondary concerns when you’re fighting for every hundredth of a second. Additionally, drilled discs in particular can offer a tangible weight reduction, which can be critical in AutoX.

Stainless Steel Brake Lines-
As with discs, every little bit of added feel can mean the difference between winning or losing in a tightly contested AutoX. As such, properly made SS lines are a no-brainer upgrade with no downside.

High Performance Brake Fluid- While fade isn’t typically an issue at AutoX, your increased maintenance and continual setup changes will mean that you’re under the car tinkering with your brakes more than you would be if you were only driving it on the street. As such, keeping some high quality brake fluid in the car as added insurance never hurts, nor does a good bleed for maintaining a firm and sensitive brake pedal.

Two-piece Brake Discs-
Unsprung weight is the devil to the avid autocrosser. You should always be looking to maximize weight reduction within the boundaries of the rules (or outside those boundaries if you’re really clever at cheating). Weight reduction in the wheels/brakes/suspension area is particularly beneficial to all aspects of acceleration, turning, and braking, which is the core of autoX. Two piece discs can in some cases offer substantial weight savings. Aftermarket two-piece discs will have aluminum hats that are lighter the stock iron pieces, and their overall construction and vane structure may offer further weight savings. Since you probably won’t be burning your discs up at a rapid rate, the initial cost of a two-piece disc may be worth the weight loss (commonly $1000+ per pair). Definitely check the price of replacement iron before making the commitment however. You will eventually have to change the discs since they are a wear item. Also, keep the size of the disc in mind. A larger than stock 2-piece disc may actually weigh more than the OEM units. Also, the larger the diameter of the disc, the greater the moment of inertia, which makes it more difficult to spin the disc from rest.

Caliper Upgrade- A caliper-only upgrade could be a viable weight reduction option if the calipers are designed to work properly with the M3 master cylinder and discs. Aluminum, fixed-piston, opposed calipers tend to weigh less than OEM cast slider calipers.

However, slapping the calipers from a different vehicle on the M3 can be a recipe for problems. While the parts may technically bolt onto the car, the actual performance may actually be significantly worse than stock. The main reason for this being improper brake bias.

Assuming bias is correct, in addition to a solid weight reduction, fixed piston opposed calipers tend to offer substantially better feel, modulation, and a faster response than OEM sliders/floaters. Keep in mind however that if the aftermarket caliper has substantially larger pads than stock, some of the overall weight savings may be offset by greater pad weight.

Big Brake Kit/Complete Competition Brake System- A complete brake system could be beneficial in AutoX for several reasons:

Feel- Far stiffer, opposed piston calipers can offer dramatic changes in brake pedal feel and modulation. Some highly competitive types will find it worth the price of entry for this reason alone.

Brake Balance/Bias- Getting the proper balance is very important for AutoX, and is closely related to the feel point above. If the piston sizes and disc diameter are not chosen carefully and properly (assuming you won’t be touching your OEM master cylinder), you will likely hurt your performance rather than help it. Increased (longer) stopping distances (the opposite of what you want), long brake pedal travel, and poor brake pedal feel are just some of the potential negatives of a poorly engineered system.

Weight- Many complete brake kits shave weight over the stock setup. Even if the stock components and aftermarket components are the same physical dimensions, the aftermarket setup will be lighter 9 times out of 10. Aluminum calipers and aluminum disc hats are typically lighter than the OEM sliders and one-piece discs. As an added bonus, the optimized components can offer a host of benefits if you also track your autoX car. On the other hand, if you add a system with extremely large discs and a huge eight piston caliper, you may be adding unnecessary unsprung weight and rotational mass to the car, and actually hurting your performance in autoX.

HPDE (High Performance Drivers Education)/Time Trial


On a road course, you will always put more heat into your brake system than you will on the street or at an autoX. Please reread that sentence. HPDE is really the first venue I've mentioned thus far where battling heat becomes the critical element in having an effective and reliable brake system.

One of the most interesting aspects of HPDE is the wide range of speeds and driver ability across run groups. As such, it's difficult to recommend a blanket brake solution for an M3 driven at a HPDE. As more and more people modify and drive these cars on tracks, we'll begin to get a better idea of what the typical and maximum brake demands will be. After countless discussions with customers on this topic over the years, I believe there a few key considerations when upgrading your brakes for an HPDE or Time Trial: Driver experience, track layout, vehicle configuration/modification, and tire choice. A careful examination of these factors in your personal situation should help guide you towards an acceptable brake solution. Keep in mind that all of these factors are related, and cannot be considered in isolation from one another.

Driver experience
If you've never driven anywhere but the street, your first couple of trips to the track will most likely not tax your brake system too heavily, right? Not exactly. You being a complete track newbie won't necessarily protect your stock brakes from near total destruction. Novice drivers may be easier on the brakes because their corner exit speeds are lower, their terminal speeds entering brake zones are therefore lower, and there's less kinetic energy being transferred into heat during a given stop. That said, novice track drivers also tend to stab wildly at the brakes, stay on the brakes too long, oscillate between on and off brake, and do all sorts of other things one would never expect! The end result can be some serious brake punishment. It's impossible to say that a novice driver will be fine on stock brake pads based on track experience alone.

Track layout
Long straights followed by tight turns mean your car is decelerating from a very high speed to a very low speed, creating a high energy stop. The distance between stops will also impact the heat retained in your brakes. If a particular track layout has a steady succession of medium straights and tight turns, your brakes don't have much time to cool between stops. That means heat will continually build. Flowing tracks with long sweepers are much easier on brakes (think Willow Springs (big track)). Look closely at the track(s) you'll be driving to determine how demanding they will be on your brakes.

Vehicle configuration/modification
All else held equal, more massive, faster cars place a greater strain on the brake system in a brake zone. An Audi Allroad will require a much larger rotor as a heat sink than a Miata. An M3 falls somewhere between those two, but closer to the Allroad! If you strip 200lbs. out of your car (easier to accelerate), have a quality coilover system (higher cornering speeds), and add 15hp (greater acceleration), you're placing less demand on your brakes in terms of mass, but you'll need to slow down from higher speeds when entering turns.

Tire choice

Tire choice is one of the single greatest factors in determining which brake setup will work for you on the track. The stickier the tire, the more brake you can use, and the more heat you will generate. More grip = more heat. If you're running OEM tires, or if it rains at an event, you won't be able to generate as much grip, and you won't tax your brakes as much.

So where does all of that leave us when upgrading your brakes for an HPDE or Time Trial? The critical point is, every modification you make to your car and the nut behind the wheel will change the demands on your brake system, and you must adjust accordingly. Just because you used a particular brake pad before, doesn't mean it will work again after you've installed your new turbo kit and Hoosiers. Chances are that after your 25th event, you'll be taxing your brakes very differently than you did during your first event. You'll be hitting higher speeds, entering and exiting corners faster and in a different way, and your car will likely have more grip and power than it did when you started (you'll also be much poorer, but likely happier ). If you typically run Limerock (a short track without many big braking zones), but decide to make a trip to Road America (a crazy fast track with huge brake demands), you need to reconsider how your brakes will be taxed. You must constantly evaluate the overall condition of your brake system, and not be afraid to try new brake setups as both you and your car evolve.

If you want to play it safe and not risk damage to the major components of your brake system, don't EVER drive an OEM pad on a road course. It may be more convenient and seem economical to run stock pads, but it will cost you time and money in the long run. There's also not much worse than wasted track time. When you're sitting in the pits watching your buddy rip down the front straight, and your stock pads are a steaming pile of dust lying inside your wheels, you'll be wishing you spent a couple hundred bucks and took the hour on Friday night to change your pads and bleed your fluid.

As we've already seen in this threa, there has been a lot of discussion on whether or not a big brake kit is needed for taking these cars on the track. Whether or not you need a big brake kit will depend on all of the factors above. It has been proven that some drivers, in some cars, on some tracks will exceed the limits of the OEM M3 brake system fairly easily, and that includes a car with dedicated track pads and brake fluid. That said, there are plenty of others running track pads on the OEM setup without any significant issues.

Need and want are two different things however, and there are a lot of benefits to going with a big brake kit if you plan to keep your car and track it over the next couple of years. Check out this article I wrote on big brake system benefits you may not have considered. It talks about things like long-term running costs, wasted track time, confidence in the car, etc. At first glance, a big brake just seems like a big up-front expense. Once you think it through though, it makes a whole lot more sense. I'd say about 96% of my big brake kit customers who track their cars tell me, "I wish I had done this a long time ago."

From a financial perspective, if you're tracking your car heavily, a top quality BBK is almost a no-brainer in my opinion. You buy it...beat it to death for the years you own the car, and will likely get 50-70% back for it on the used market when you sell the car. You can then drop your OEM brakes back on the car when you sell it, and they won't be thrashed. Brakes will be something you don't have to think or worry about during your years of tracking the car. You'll always have a good pedal, no heat issues, and total confidence in your brakes.

The alternative is throwing OEM replacement parts on the car more frequently...and at a greater cost (that's the worst part, that OEM pad shapes are more money than the shape for our kit). The OEM replacements burn up, and you get no return on them. You throw away the dead metal bits and start over every time. You also don't have worry-free brakes during that time period. You'll blow more time prepping, bleeding, swapping pads, and generally getting filthy at the track.

My estimate is that the average guy who tracks his car regularly will save enough money in two to three seasons to completely pay off a quality big brake kit. That doesn't even include all the intangible costs of time and potential problems. That's just straight savings on pads, discs, fluid, and resale value. The lengthy list of system benefits is just gravy.

Hopefully that makes sense.
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      01-06-2014, 10:26 AM   #14
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One other thing I'll mention along the lines of what others have posted above...only do what you need to do for you situation. If pads and lines will do the job for you, then that's a good thing. You can put your extra money towards event fees, fuel, tires, and safety equipment.
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      01-06-2014, 01:38 PM   #15
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Your Stoptech's are not set up properly. Any quality BBK will provide better pedal modulation than stock, and I agree stock is very good on the M3. So if you've got pedal drop and grabbing with Stoptech's, then something's wrong.
Do you have any information on this? Because that's 100% opposite from what a few BMW CCA instructors have told me who have used every aftermarket brake option for BMW's including StopTechs. Some even drove my car.
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      01-06-2014, 03:17 PM   #16
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Thanks jritt/Essex for the comprehensive write up!

I have decided to continue with upgraded pads-rotors-fluid for this year on my track-prepped 1M, and hope this is not simply delaying the inevitable (BBK).
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      01-06-2014, 06:13 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jritt@essex View Post
One other thing I'll mention along the lines of what others have posted above...only do what you need to do for you situation. If pads and lines will do the job for you, then that's a good thing. You can put your extra money towards event fees, fuel, tires, and safety equipment.
Thanks for the big write-up. I tend to agree with most of it. Being that I don't have a lot of experience with brake upgrades that's why I'm researching. Logically it seems to me that just getting the BBK right away would be the best option. That way I would not have to worry about hitting any limits at all if ever since I won't be a professional racer with my M3.

One rookie question: would I need to swap pads on all four wheels for track days? It seems logically to make sense, but perhaps just swapping fronts is what people do. I really don't know.

I guess it boils down to the fact I could grow into a bbk, rather than exceeding the limits of a pad/disc swap early. Who knows. People tend to overestimate their ability, but if I had a system that could take race levels of heat it will give me a lot of comfort when working out my driving limits at the HDPEs.
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      01-06-2014, 10:34 PM   #18
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You don't have to swap all the pads but I would recommend you do. I found the stock components to be fine for my first few events. As I progressed the pads started to fade toward the end of my sessions, and the pad deposit to the rotors started to bother me.

Now I swap in PFC01 pads, installed stainless lines and use better fluid. The Pfc pads are easy to swap in, and I have found them to be phenomenal. Amazing initial bite and very consistent. The pad has allowed me to push my braking zone further and further each lap, never letting me down. My only complaint is that they wear quickly.

BBKs are overkill for most who aren't tracking quite frequently. Too many people buy BBKs for the scene points.

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      01-06-2014, 11:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lcrain
You don't have to swap all the pads but I would recommend you do. I found the stock components to be fine for my first few events. As I progressed the pads started to fade toward the end of my sessions, and the pad deposit to the rotors started to bother me.

Now I swap in PFC01 pads, installed stainless lines and use better fluid. The Pfc pads are easy to swap in, and I have found them to be phenomenal. Amazing initial bite and very consistent. The pad has allowed me to push my braking zone further and further each lap, never letting me down. My only complaint is that they wear quickly.

BBKs are overkill for most who aren't tracking quite frequently. Too many people buy BBKs for the scene points.
Thanks for the info. My plan is to go more than 4 times this year but I am trying to have realistic goals for the year.

I don't care if they look good. I plan to get drab colored calipers and slotted rotors. I would get a bright color and drilled rotors if I wanted cute points.
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      01-07-2014, 01:13 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longboarder View Post
Do you have any information on this? Because that's 100% opposite from what a few BMW CCA instructors have told me who have used every aftermarket brake option for BMW's including StopTechs. Some even drove my car.
10 years of HPDE's with Stoptech, AP Racing (I introduced this forum to AP Racing brakes for the E92M3 back in 2009) and Brembo. Over the years I've run street pads and full race pads (PFC and Pagid) and the only hard-to-modulate experience I ever had was when I tried a set of Hawk DTC60's last year, and even they weren't particularly bad. I just finished taking the factory 380mm Brembo's off my GT500 and installing Stoptech 355's to give me more pad and rim size options. Getting these things to work perfectly isn't brain surgery.

All that said, what pads are you using?
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      01-07-2014, 08:07 AM   #21
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Quote:
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Do you have any information on this? Because that's 100% opposite from what a few BMW CCA instructors have told me who have used every aftermarket brake option for BMW's including StopTechs. Some even drove my car.
Yeah, I agree with John (JAJ), there's definitely something going on with your setup and/or in your brake system. I have had the Stoptech BBK on my E39 M5 now for 7 years, and it was a significant improvement in brake feel and especially modulation ability compared to the stock setup. With PFC01s installed and running on a sticky R-comp (BFG R1), application is smooth and progressive with excellent modulation. This is with the ST40 front calipers btw.

(not that it matters, but I've been an instructor for almost 30 years now although I long ago quit HPDE instructing once cars started showing up with huge power, no interest in it any longer...besides, instructing autox and the local national level competition in autocross is a lot of fun.)
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      01-07-2014, 09:24 AM   #22
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Thanks for the info. My plan is to go more than 4 times this year but I am trying to have realistic goals for the year.

I don't care if they look good. I plan to get drab colored calipers and slotted rotors. I would get a bright color and drilled rotors if I wanted cute points.
If you are planning on 4 events this year, no need to jump straight to a BBK. I see no reason to scrap a very capable component of the car if you don't have any experience on the track. The weakest point of the brakes are the pads, as you progress you will realize this. Stainless lines and higher temp fluid are a very good idea to maintain consistent pedal feel as the brake components heat up towards the end of a session.

Start with the pads (I love PFCs, but there are plenty of options), lines and fluid and I am willing to bet that will satisfy you for a while with this car. The BMW engineers did a very good job with these brakes from the factory. I have progressed from a beginner to advanced with this car and it is stock except for consumables I swap out for track use for whatever that is worth.
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