My Brake System Journey

When I first took my car on track, I used the stock calipers and rotors. I did change out the pads and fluid. After a few track days, I decided upgrading the brakes would be prudent. Stopping the car seems to me to be one of the most important things on track. My home track has a straight that is 2100 feet long that feeds into a very hard braking zone. I witnessed plenty of cars going off track there with overheated brakes and I didn’t want that to happen to me.

Front Brakes

I started by upgrading my front brakes. In 2017 there weren’t as many options as there are now. I decided on the Goodwin Racing 6-piston Wilwood big brake kit. This kit was a huge improvement over my non-Brembo OEM calipers. I was early in my track life and these brakes got the job done.

As I started improving as a driver, my lap times got better and my brakes were worked much harder. I started noticing some brake fade in the Wilwoods. That was frustrating. That long straight, lap after lap, was really testing my brakes.

Next I added a Verus brake duct kit. That made a huge difference. I got rid of the fade and my rotors and pads lasted longer. I think the brake duct kit will actually pay for itself in lower consumable costs. The Wilwood system doesn’t use a very thick pad and I was going through race pads pretty quickly. The brake ducts helped.

That worked well for a while longer, but I was getting faster and working the brakes even harder. I started cracking the hats on the GWR BBK kit. The first time it happened I figured it was just time to replace the hats due to age. But then next time I went to change my pads, the cracks were there again. Damn! I couldn’t afford to replace the hats every time I changed pads. I contacted GWR and they were quick to see the hats needed a design change.

While waiting for them to redesign their hats, I came across a used StopTech C43 BBK. This kit has full-floating rotors, super stiff calipers. thick pads and allows for easy pad changes. All things the Wilwoods didn’t have so I got the StopTech kit. The first thing I noticed when I got them was the pads were about twice as thick as the Wilwoods. The rotor was also thicker. Basically, everything about it was bigger and better.

The StopTech kit made as big a difference in braking capabilities as the Wilwood system did to the original OEM brakes. It was dramatic. And amazing. As an added benefit the pads are super easy to change. Unlike the Wilwoods, the caliper doesn’t need to be removed. I highly recommend the StopTech C43 BBK.

For some the StopTech C43 BBK may be out of your price range, if so, take a look at the StopTech ST42/STR42 BBK.

Rear Brakes

I use the MiataSpeed 2-piece rotors and Wilwood Powerlite 4-piston calipers in the rear. The MX5 probably does fine with the OEM brake system in the rear. You won’t notice as much change going from the OEM to something different in the rear. In my case, I got a great deal on the MiataSpeed 2-piece rotors and I couldn’t pass them up. They are lighter and slotted. Both should add some benefit.

The Wilwood caliper makes it very easy to change the pads. With the OEM caliper, it needed to be removed to change the pads. Not so with the Wilwood caliper. Pull a couple pins and the pads can be changed in seconds. Super easy. Being lighter should add a bit of benefit as well.

I have no regrets going with the MiataSpeed 2-piece rotors and Wilwood Powerlite 4-piston calipers.

3 thoughts on “My Brake System Journey

  • David Baker
    August 9, 2023 at 11:16 am

    Were you able to retain your parking brake? If so, how well does it work?

    • KentBigDog
      August 15, 2023 at 8:44 am

      I only connected one side of the parking brake. The other side was just a hair tight which made removing the caliper more difficult to remove than it should be. Since it’s a track car, I don’t use the E-brake much. I put it in 1st gear, pull the ebrake, and the car doesn’t roll away.

  • Scott Moore
    March 19, 2022 at 5:38 am

    Very nice write up. I like that setup a lot!

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