• Josh Herbert

#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.

(Quick Story)

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.

Not this exact evo. But one similar

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.

Verus Engineering Brake Cooler Kit

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.

Difference in pad thickness. (Left) Willwood BBK (Right) OEM

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

RRRacing BBK: Front stage II kit, Rear Sport kit

Verus Brake Cooling Kit

Compare BBKs


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