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      11-27-2008, 07:04 AM   #1
Mickb
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Aftermarket BBK Owners Beware (Brembo specifically)

Lads

Just thought I would offer some notes for those people thinking of "upgrading" to an aftermarket BBK. My experience is with Brembo although people should check this with any manufacturers.

Problem: front pad changes are a caliper-off (or at least significant caliper loosening) job. Combined with the fact that they don't fit under any currently available 18" rim (to the best of my knowledge), this is a significant drawback for track use.

I wish I had known this before I had bought it.

My last car (E46 m3) I had a stoptech kit, with a removable caliper bridge that allowed for easy quick swapping of pads. Just undo the bridge bolt, lop it off, take out old pads, put in new ones, replace bridge and you are done. You could do a corner in a couple of minutes easy.

The monobloc brembos do not allow for this and the retaining pins are quite fiddly as well, even when time is not of the essence. This is a bit of a pita, since it means I am having to discard used pads that I think won't last a whole track day. I just can't risk the fact that they might wear down before the day is over and I will find myself unable to change them.

I suppose its possible, but I really wouldn't want to be loosening the caliper bolts and trying to handle the calipers when they are 1000 degrees.

Mick

PS I am not faulting brembo quality or anything, just thought people should be aware of this.

PPS if I am talking through my arse and I have in dunce like fashion missed an easy way to change pads on these things please let me know.
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      11-27-2008, 11:29 AM   #2
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The thread title made me think that Brembo kits were going out causing loss of brakes leading to spontaneous combustion of the car and driver.

This reminded me that I need to buy a caliper spreader.
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      11-27-2008, 02:23 PM   #3
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many BBKs on the market use a similar monobloc design to brembo due to its increased strength and rigidity while decreasing weight. i guess there's not much you can do bout this. this is the way the industry is moving.
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      11-27-2008, 03:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjae1976 View Post
The thread title made me think that Brembo kits were going out causing loss of brakes leading to spontaneous combustion of the car and driver.

This reminded me that I need to buy a caliper spreader.
Sigh............I think since people allegedly get BBK's because of poor performance of the stock brakes on track, that a design feature thats not very track friendly is something buyers should be aware of.

As is often the case on this forum, I wonder why I bother.
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      11-27-2008, 05:58 PM   #5
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If you want pretty looking brakes just powder coat the oem ones red or yellow!
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      11-27-2008, 06:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickb View Post
Sigh............I think since people allegedly get BBK's because of poor performance of the stock brakes on track, that a design feature thats not very track friendly is something buyers should be aware of.

As is often the case on this forum, I wonder why I bother.
I have notice this from Brembo BBK for a while now, and thats one of the biggest reasons I went with the stoptech 6pots, like on my Z. These calipers cleared Volk RE30 with 6pistons up front >> something Brembo is on the arse for, not to mention that the stoptech customer support and price is second to none (Buy America) LOL! Also you can buy a used BBK from the 350Z forum and just buy the brackets to mount them on your M and save BIG$$$$.

Cheers!

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      11-27-2008, 06:11 PM   #7
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It's the fixed bridge that makes pad changes a hassle, the pins aren't much of a problem, I made a relieved punch that makes quick work of it.

I have the same calipers on a Cayman S, and to make things worse, Porsche considers caliper bolts a one time use item that's torqued to near deformation. But they were a worthwhile improvement over the OEM brakes for me.

What I consider a larger problem is pad availability, the Ferodo compounds I used sucked (1000(comes w/kit) and 3000 series I believe), I don't like Porterfields but the custom-cut Performance Friction PFC-01 were quite good despite pad material transfer the first few times at the track.

Pagid now makes the 29 yellow pads for this caliper in narrow and wide, but they are a heart-stopping $700 per axle. I have a set to try out soon.
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      11-27-2008, 06:16 PM   #8
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Mick and eagle - both great posts/advice/information. Brembo needs to step it up and stop being mostly about looks. Catering to the enthusiast is what a BBK should do. Oh well Brembos will continue to sell in droves...
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      11-27-2008, 11:42 PM   #9
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eagletangogreen, i read someone on m3forum.net that using brake from another car with custom braket is not good safety/performance wise. What is your take on that? I saw ton of cheap bbk for sale on ebay from amg, porsche and they look very good. It would be awesome if we can have someone do a custom bracket and fit those brake on the m car.

IMO, 6-7k for a brembo bbk is outrageous.
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      11-28-2008, 12:09 AM   #10
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You should have known a 380mm rotor would not be an easy fit in an 18" wheel; actually it's pretty much needs a 19" wheel.

The StopTech kit for the E9x M3 is also a 380mm kit, so it won't help you either.
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      11-28-2008, 01:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watrob View Post
If you want pretty looking brakes just powder coat the oem ones red or yellow!
Simply not the same. I thought about doing this for 5 seconds in 1997.
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      11-28-2008, 01:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montreal jet black View Post
many BBKs on the market use a similar monobloc design to brembo due to its increased strength and rigidity while decreasing weight. i guess there's not much you can do bout this. this is the way the industry is moving.
The bridge design actually makes the Stoptech caliper stiffer than the Brembo monoblock design.



No complaints on my Stoptech kit at all. The easy brake pad changes are a nice plus! They are 380mm in the front and 355mm in the back.

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      11-28-2008, 03:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graider View Post
eagletangogreen, i read someone on m3forum.net that using brake from another car with custom braket is not good safety/performance wise. What is your take on that? I saw ton of cheap bbk for sale on ebay from amg, porsche and they look very good. It would be awesome if we can have someone do a custom bracket and fit those brake on the m car.

IMO, 6-7k for a brembo bbk is outrageous.
Dont quote me on this but I am pretty sure that the same St-60 witch is the 6piston calipers from the Z is the same as on the M just the brackets are diffrent to mount them on the particular car.. So if this is true you could buy some and just order the bracket from stoptech to mount on your M.. However you will need new rotors since the Z has a 5x114 pattern ands will not fit on a 5x120... In the end the price for a set of stoptech are way cheaper than the brembos, and are more user friendly.. The 6 piston are waayy over kill for street use, the only reason i went with 6 is because there seems to be more choices for brake pad compound. I have had both the four and the six pistons and you cant tell the difference, (braking will come down to what your tires can handle) if you were racing for cash i would go with the 6 pistons since they stay a bit cooler under heavy load, and the 6 look a bit more sexy..
Another thing with Stoptech is if you ever have a problem they are in the US and can get parts and a full rebuild if needed in less than a week..

But yeah your right frankenstiening some brakes to make them fit on your car is not a brite idea..
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      11-28-2008, 04:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by consolidated View Post
I have the same calipers on a Cayman S, and to make things worse, Porsche considers caliper bolts a one time use item that's torqued to near deformation. But they were a worthwhile improvement over the OEM brakes for me.
Could you elaborate on this? The reason I ask is that one time in removing one of my caliper bolts to change pads, the allen key actually turned in the head of the bolt rendering it useless. I ended up having to take the car back to the shop. They were afraid of drilling it given location, and took off the whole caliper mounting bracket and used a vice grips to remove the remainder of the bolt. The garage thought I had made a balls of it, but I used a torque wrench to tighten everything up to exact specs!! So what you say about porsche becomes very interesting to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by consolidated View Post
What I consider a larger problem is pad availability, the Ferodo compounds I used sucked (1000(comes w/kit) and 3000 series I believe), I don't like Porterfields but the custom-cut Performance Friction PFC-01 were quite good despite pad material transfer the first few times at the track.

Pagid now makes the 29 yellow pads for this caliper in narrow and wide, but they are a heart-stopping $700 per axle. I have a set to try out soon.
I found that the Ferrodo pads were ok, and believe it or not, better than the Porterfield race pads that I swapped in. The porterfields are an example of why I have an issue of the caliper-off system. After one and a half track days, the pads are worn down to where there is probably less than a one-half track day left in them. But because of the Brembo caliper design, I might as well throw them away because I wont be able to change them mid-track day.

Keep us posted on how the Pagid's work out.

Mick
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      11-28-2008, 04:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aus View Post
You should have known a 380mm rotor would not be an easy fit in an 18" wheel; actually it's pretty much needs a 19" wheel.

The StopTech kit for the E9x M3 is also a 380mm kit, so it won't help you either.
I knew this in advance and it was not a major issue for me. I have the 19's and like running road tyres on track and even if I want a track tyre, toyo now do a 19" R888 and theres always michelin psc's. I just thought I would mention it as a lot of people prefer 18's for the greater range and expense factor.

I would not have posted at all however, if it werent for the caliper issue. That is the biggest problem for me, and personally, if I could choose again, I would have gone for the stoptech kit, even though the Brembo looks sexier.

Mick
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      11-28-2008, 02:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagletangogreen View Post
Dont quote me on this but I am pretty sure that the same St-60 witch is the 6piston calipers from the Z is the same as on the M just the brackets are diffrent to mount them on the particular car.. So if this is true you could buy some and just order the bracket from stoptech to mount on your M.
The caliper will be the same but the piston sizes probably will not. It is the same ST-60 caliper but Stoptech has a lot of variations on piston size combinations depending on the application. If you can manage to find out which combination they are using and what other cars that applies to, then you can get the same rear kit and have a fully balanced kit. I'm not sure how much money you will save in the end though.
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      11-28-2008, 03:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
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The caliper will be the same but the piston sizes probably will not. It is the same ST-60 caliper but Stoptech has a lot of variations on piston size combinations depending on the application. If you can manage to find out which combination they are using and what other cars that applies to, then you can get the same rear kit and have a fully balanced kit. I'm not sure how much money you will save in the end though.
Yeah Your better off just buying a new Stoptech kit to avoid any short commings..
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      11-28-2008, 04:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickb View Post
Could you elaborate on this? The reason I ask is that one time in removing one of my caliper bolts to change pads, the allen key actually turned in the head of the bolt rendering it useless. I ended up having to take the car back to the shop. They were afraid of drilling it given location, and took off the whole caliper mounting bracket and used a vice grips to remove the remainder of the bolt.

I found that the Ferrodo pads were ok, and believe it or not, better than the Porterfield race pads that I swapped in. The porterfields are an example of why I have an issue of the caliper-off system. After one and a half track days, the pads are worn down to where there is probably less than a one-half track day left in them. But because of the Brembo caliper design, I might as well throw them away because I wont be able to change them mid-track day.

Keep us posted on how the Pagid's work out.

Mick
Porsche recommends caliper bolts as a single-use item, torque it one time and toss it upon removable. I have a small box of visually perfect bolts but recently got lazy and just re-used the last ones I had. Porsche uses a green threadlock on this bolt and it's a real PITA to get on and off and this, and maybe why they have this specification. An impact driver almost required otherwise I'd probably strip the head as you mentioned.

To help get the bolts out easier have you tried rotating the wheel to lock to each side and then using an impact driver? It makes it less of a hassle.

I'll be going to back to using new bolts however since a friend in an E30 dedicated track car with a very nice Wilwood brake kit sheared a front caliper bolt which then rotated the caliper and locked a front wheel, sending him off track at high speed resulting in broken suspension, bodywork, hub, and oil pan...spectacular damage from the failure of a single bolt, perhaps over-torqued perhaps not.

The Ferodo 3000 race pads I got from Brembo worked well but wore much quicker than the current PFC01, I got 5-6(!?) days from the Ferodos and about 15 from the PFC01, which have 30% of their thickness left and about done. I'm glad your having good luck with the Ferodo's, they stopped well but would result in studdering if I didn't bring them up in temperature on the first laps out. Try the PFC01's next, they're a little bit more $ but the Porterfield USA distributor will custom cut the pad shape from a blank, strange I know.

I have great faith in Pagid products, from my previous experience they wear like rocks, don't transfer material and are very consistent. Like the PFC01's, they are essentially endurance race pads. I also swapped from Super Blue to Motul 600 and now 660 fluid, which seems to preserve pedal firmness for a bit longer.

I wish Brembo would make kits with real world track ready rotor sizes, this 380mm rotor BS is worthless to those who track their cars.

Have you priced replacement friction surfaces for your rotors?...re-using the hats, about $400 each in 355mm.

My hope is that AP would make a more track oriented kit for the M3.

Last edited by consolidated; 11-30-2008 at 08:34 PM.
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      11-30-2008, 08:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Problem: front pad changes are a caliper-off (or at least significant caliper loosening) job. Combined with the fact that they don't fit under any currently available 18" rim (to the best of my knowledge), this is a significant drawback for track use.
Volk's 18" TE37s fit on the 380mm Brembo kit. There's a whole thread about it, check it out

http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=179728
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      11-30-2008, 09:49 PM   #20
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For those interested in StopTechs, or pads, I just got an email from Zeckhausen about a storewide 10% off sale all this week (12/1-5). Use coupon code "MONDAY". That would reduce the 15" ST front kit to just over $3k. Zeckhausen is very well respected for brakes.

I think I'll at least get StopTech stainless lines.

Edit: Rereading it, the 10% is for brake parts only. You get free pads, fluid & shipping with a BBK order, though
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      12-06-2008, 03:02 AM   #21
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Hey guys,

Just for the record my name is Gary Cogis and I work for Race Technologies, the High Performance representative for Brembo, and distributor of the aftermarket BBK's for North America.

I was forwarded this thread from a few of our authorized dealers who are sponsors of this board and felt it was important to be able to address many of the issues mentioned in this thread. I thought it may be useful to explain the selection process, and purpose, for the components used in the Brembo BBK's along with Brembo's criteria for brake design to better understand what you accomplish and gain with the Brembo upgrade.

The brake system engineered specifically for the new M3 uses a 380x34mm 2pc. fully floating disc with a 6-piston Monobloc caliper for the front, and a 380x28mm 2pc. fully floating disc with a 4-piston Monobloc caliper for the rear. You can thank BMW personally for the need to utilize a 380x34mm disc in the front brake system.

One of the main purposes of a performance oriented BBK is to increase heat capacity of the system for repeatable braking performance with maximum fade resistance. The benefit of using a 2pc disc with an aluminum hat is to also reduce unsprung and rotational weight at the same time as increasing the overall diameter of the disc. The overall diameter, thickness, and annulus (swept area) of the OEM disc is such that the available 355mm discs would not have been a significant enough increase (and in some cases a decrease) of heat capacity, therefore not being an appropriate choice for the purpose of improving performance. We are well aware of the desire to run 18" wheels and tires for high performance track use and examined many disc options before selecting this disc.

As with any Brembo brake kit, the design criteria is based on achieving a beneficial improvement in performance and longevity while not compromising safety or driveability. Aesthetics is not one of the initial design criterias, but a byproduct of following the design cues from our professional racing products and adding a variety of colors. If we could have provided a 355mm (14") option while achieving the desired performance improvement and better wheel fitment we absolutely would have.

While we are on the topic of wheel fitment, there are a number of popular 18" wheels that do clear the Brembo BBK. Many popular wheel manufacturers are also coming to us directly to be proactive and ensure that future wheels designs will reflect the popularity of larger BBKs. Currently there are wheels from HRE, Volk Racing, CCW and a few others that work perfectly without spacers. As the horsepower of high performance production vehicles increases and the cars do not get any lighter, disc diameters will need to increase to provide the necessary heat sink to handle the job of converting gross amounts of kinetic energy into heat. A good, but unfortunate example of this is the new Nissan Skyline GTR. Has anyone taken a look at the size of the OEM brakes on that car?

The second issue I wanted to address is the use of a Monobloc caliper, specifically with an integral bridge. There have been many discussions and viewpoints about the difference between monobloc vs. 2pc. calipers, forged vs. cast, bolt in bridge vs. fixed. There are even charts that try to describe the stiffness of a variety of caliper to try and tie that into a performance advantage. The bottom line is that there is no such combination that stands out as being better than another. The quality and performance of a given caliper design is more a result of the engineering, development, fatigue and performance testing that goes into the development of the than the actual manufacturing process or materials used.

The design of the new 6-piston monobloc caliper is a direct result of their experience at the top levels of racing combined with experience in OEM manufacturing to yield a caliper that has been tested and proven to offer an impressive combination of structural rigidity for it's given size and weight. The result is a lightweight, stiff, and responsive caliper that offers unmatched quality and longevity in this market. It is truly the closest thing to a full motorsports caliper that has ever been offered to the aftermarket, and done so at a price point that is also unheard of for monobloc performance.

The performance and function of this caliper grossly outweighs the perceived difficulty to remove the caliper for pad changes. I will agree that it is not as quick and easy as an open top caliper, but it is also much simpler and quicker than an OEM sliding caliper and also on par with calipers that require removal of a bolt in bridge. Again, this was a conscious engineering decision based on providing optimum performance. If ease of pad changes is a strong requirement we do offer a stainless steed stud kit to replace the bracket bolts for those of you who track your car regularly. This does help to simplify the process a bit more by having studs to line up the caliper and also makes it more difficult to accidentally cross thread or strip a bracket when changing pads. I have personally changed pads on nearly ever caliper design in use today, and the time it takes for removal of 2 additional bolts is less than the time it typically takes to spread the pistons to the full open position. You can do this task as you lift the caliper off of the disc.
(we will have an instructional video on changing pads in a monobloc caliper very soon)

This brings us to the topic of pads. As with any new pad shape it will take the aftermarket suppliers a while to realize the demand and in turn provide a product to fill the void. The great thing is that these pad manufacturers have already recognized the popularity of the Brembo systems and will respond much quicker than they would for an off brand or OEM production pad shape. There are currently pads available from Ferodo, Pagid, Porterfield, Hawk, Performance Friction, Cobalt Friction, and Carbotech. As the volume and supply increases, the cost for some of these higher end options will also come down. I have a good feeling that by next summer there will not be a popular pad compound that will not be available.

The only way to have sped up this process would have been to create a caliper around an existing popular pad shape. While we have done this in the past, and this is also common practice for many other aftermarket brake kit suppliers, the Brembo engineers again looked towards improving the performance of the system in any way they could. The choice to create a new and unique pad shape was based on creating the ability to combine two very beneficial design traits. This was a combination of a short annulus pad which increases the effective radius (a factor for creating a desired brake torque based on the leverage point, measured from the center of the hub to the center of the pad) and an increase in swept area and pad volume (which directly contributes to improved longevity of both the discs and pads).

The point I'm trying to convey is that with Brembo form definitely follows function. Any of the systems characteristics that have been mentioned in this thread are consciously decided upon based on achieving a level of performance that exceeds that of the OEM system, as well as the vast majority of other aftermarket products available. There may be systems out there with the ability for faster pad swaps, or that use a pad shape that is more readily available today, and there may eventually be one that packages small enough to fit under nearly every 18" wheel, but before you can get excited by those individual benefits you really need to examine what the actual trade off is. If there's anything I learned with my experience over the past 6 years there is always a trade off. The benefit with Brembo is that the trade off never gets in the way of quality, performance, or safety.
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      12-06-2008, 09:27 AM   #22
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Couple of comments regarding BBK's in general....

- I had stoptechs on two E46M3's (fronts only) and they were great on the track and pad changes were easy. Additionally, the pads were the same as an early 90's Porsche so there were a lot of pads from different manufacturers to be had. I had a very good experience with this setup.

- I don't understand two things - first why both stoptech and brembo are pushing 4 wheel setups. I understand cosmetically it's appealing but performance wise - it's a waste of money. As a matter of fact, before stoptech started offering 4 wheel setups they had a white paper on their website saying 4 wheel kits were overkill.

Secondly, why does our car need a 380MM rotor? Previously, the E39M5 BBK setup was a 4 piston 355MM setup. This car weighs approx. 300lbs more than the M3 and I've seen people use a stoptech front only 355MM setup with R compounds on the track with no issues.

I suspect that the OEM problem is more the thermal capacity of the pad not the rotor. The pads on the front of our car is relatively tiny when compared to a BBK setup. I think the thermal capacity of the OEM rotor is probably ok - it's the pad that's the issue. I think this is supported by some people saying they just upgraded the pads and fluids for track use with no problems. Obviously this is dependent on the track, amount of grip from the tires and braking technique.

So it seems that a front only 355MM BBK setup would be more than adequate for track performance especially in an HPDE environment. Personally I'd be happy if someone came out with a caliper setup that used the OEM rotors as I agree $7-$8k for a BBK is ridiculous.

Just my $0.02....

Thx,
Barry
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2013 Lime Rock M3 6speed, ESS VT1-550, ESS HFCs, KW Clubsports, Fire Orange PFC Z31 BBK, Apex EC7 w/Mich PSS 265/285, ModeCarbon GT4 Lip, UUC SSK, Performance Seats and CF Trim, GT Motoring Alcantara orange stich shift & ebrake boots, iND floor mats
BarryC is offline   United_States
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