So you want to be able to stop faster on the track and the street. Being able to brake harder and faster means you can wait longer to brake before entering corners, thus cutting lap times, and improves safety during every day driving. It would make sense then to upgrade your brakes, right? While that seems like a logical step for many, your tires are actually responsible for how quickly you’re able to slow down.
The reason for this is simple. When you slam on your brakes as hard as you can, you will likely lock up the front wheels and skid, or you will hear the car’s ABS (anti-lock braking system) working to maintain grip. When your tires stop rotating during a stop, it means you’ve exceeded the maximum stopping force that the tire can handle, making it the weakest link in the chain.
Brake System Upgrades
While the first step to braking as effectively as possible is investing in quality tires whether you’re on the street or track, brake upgrades aren’t as useless as you may think. Braking systems that incorporate calipers with multiple pistons or that utilize a fixed caliper with pistons on each side of the rotor allow you to exert more force on the brake discs, resulting in less effort on your part during normal braking scenarios and the ability to really clamp down when needed.
Big Brake Kits
Larger braking systems, or big brake kits (BBK) as they’re often called, are well suited for track use and conditions where braking is required over long durations of time. Rotors and pads can only take so much heat before they become less effective, and this is known as brake fade. Larger brake discs and pads are able to hold more heat and dissipate it more effectively, allowing the system to run cooler for longer.
You should always choose a brake pad that is designed for the type of driving you’ll be doing as well. Street oriented brake pads are much more effective at low temperatures, but are prone to fading when used under track conditions. Race pads are the opposite with low initial bite but capable of withstanding much higher temperatures.
When upgrading things on your track or street vehicle, investing in a quality set of tires designed for the type of driving you’ll be doing is the best thing you can do to help your braking, but don’t discount the advantages that an uprated braking system has to offer. If you’re looking to improve your driving skills, or put your skills to the test, join us for a track day or one of our driver’s education classes! Call us today at (561) 470-6201 with any questions.