If you like cars, you like tuning. That is almost a given. People who are into cars are the kind who enjoy fiddling around with spanner and screw drivers, and the majority fancy themselves rather skillful home mechanics. That is why we see so many home-tuned cars these days, especially in the lower echelons of the market where people tend to “invent” rather than “invest.”
That brings us to an all-important issue which is often overlooked, and not just by home tuners. Throughout the years in this business covering the latest trends and developments of the automotive world, we have come across really great cars modified by big companies which lacked a vital component. And that is proper brakes.
Of course, by that we do not mean they have forgotten to put in bigger, better brakes. Home tuner might make that mistake, but you rarely find a big time tuning company refusing to offer some braking system as part of their upgrade package. But what both groups overlook more than they care to admit is stopping distances. Yes, you can fit massive brake discs and fit 10-piston calipers. But if your stopping distance is not idea relative to the car and the speeds it can achieve, it won’t be much good in the real world.
Now you might be thinking that bigger brakes, by default, result in shorter stopping distances. Granted, a 15-inch brake disc provides more braking power than a 7-inch unit. But there is more to it. Like other part of the car like the engine or the suspension, your braking system needs to be engineered by a professional. That is why well-known tuners with a good record always offer braking packages tailored for a specific model. They take into account the weight, the dynamics, the driving mods, and of course, the modifications they have made to it.
What’s more, tuners need to consider cooling and how to thermal efficiency of the brakes vis-a-vis the material used in its build. Proper brakes are such a complex piece of engineering that most car makers and tuners like to order them from the giants like Brembo or AP-Racing instead of investing time and resources developing one from scratch. Those guy have the faculties and the experience needed to tailor a system to the needs of a particular model, therefore they can do the job a lot quicker and a lot cheaper.
That said, performance-oriented auto makers such as Porsche always make their own brakes. They have the expertise needed to create a proper braking system, and they have the know-how – from materials, all the way to the size and calibration – which is why Porsche brakes are among the best in the industry. But as if to prove our point here, you get those discs and calipers off a Porsche model and fit them without any further adjustment to another make of car, and chances are you won’t get the performance you are looking for. That is the importance of engineered brakes which result in shorter stopping distances in practice.
Please, also take a moment to fill the quiz that wise driving created and you might get surprised with your results!