#813 FRS Brake Chronicles
Updated: Jul 9, 2019
This article is mainly for the FRS/BRZ/86 owners. After 6 years of heavy track use my brake setup is still a work in progress. A sensible person would have just purchased a big brake kit (BBK) from the start. However, at the time, I was thinking of entering NASA Time Trials. A BBK meant spending valuable points with-in my proposed class. So my goal was to maximize the performance of the stock calipers. I tried a bunch of pad compounds and compared the results of high and low cost rotors. I can officially say I got the stock setup to work under heavy track conditions. But recently (2019) I bit the bullet on a BBK.
Since my first HPDE event I have been obsessed with brake performance. It was 2013 at Watkins Glen. My instructor was in his 60's and drove a heavily modified Evo 8 track car. At the end of the day he asked if I wanted to ride along in his last session so he could show me a few things. Heading from the pits we powered up the esses. The car felt impressive but what happened when we got to the first braking zone changed how I look at performance driving forever.
As we approached the bus loop he continued to accelerate well beyond the point where I thought he should brake. I planted my right foot to the firewall. At the last possible second my body was thrown forward into the 6 point harness. Once my brain re-centered my mind started turning. It made so much sense. If I were to mimic this technique I could stay on throttle longer, which would result in a higher top speed and less wasted time. My goal ever since was to learn and re-create that braking performance in my FRS.
That meant two things. First I had to learn this braking technique. It took a little courage but by the end of the second day, I had easily gotten to the point where my car was holding me back. (I will cover brake technique in another article.) This brings me to the second part & topic of this article. How to maximize the OEM braking system performance of a heavily tracked FRS.
Here are my findings in the last 6 years of track driving my naturally aspirated 2013 Scion FRS.
If you autocross and street drive a NA FRS, setup 3 would be a good way to go as the initial bite was amazing. Just realize if you track the car at an intermediate level you WILL overheat them.
The game changer in setup 4 was the Verus brake cooling kit. It was so good that I was even able to "downgrade" from the DBA T2 rotor to a OEM replacement type Centric premium rotor in setup 5. Which allowed me to save some serious cash. I actually had to remove the cooling kit when I got the Wilwoods (setup 6) because I was not getting the pads up to their proper operating temperature on the track.
I went with the RR Racing stage II BBK in front and their Sport kit in the rear. I liked this kit because it uses Subaru STI rotors which I can purchase cheap almost anywhere. For help comparing BBKs and for more on the RRRacing kit, check out the links I posted at the bottom of this page. After installing the kit I had an issue getting the proper temperature into the very aggressive BP40 pads. The brake pedal was always there and progressive but I lacked the hot bite I had from setup 5.
Which leads me to setup 8. The parts are on their way and my first test will be at Pineview Run. Despite it being a tight course without any hard braking zones, it will be a good test bed to instill confidence in the new setup. I won't get to the true test track, Watkins Glen, until October. I call Watkins "The Nurburgring of the Northeast" because if your car does well there, it will be fine at the other Northeastern tracks.
I will update in a new post upon completion of setup 8.
Links & references