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Best brake pad for autocross beginner

Old 04-08-07, 06:35 PM
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Best brake pad for autocross beginner

I have a set of good Mazda OEM brake pads and Hawk HP+'s. I have no worries running the stock pads for street driving, but for autocross events which is better?

My FD is running in SS (stock), ABS enabled, Victoracer V700's. I've never seen brake fade during autocrosses and our courses are never very large and fast. I'm far from skilled with this setup.

My impression is that while they will have different pedal feel, my autocross times won't necessarily get any better with the higher friction pad. Also, it seems that with the stock pads the bite will be more consistent than with the HP+'s since temp will be less of a factor. I'm not going to win my class - I just want the pad that will help me become a better driver.

Your suggestions please.

Dave
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Old 04-08-07, 07:04 PM
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IMO, Carbotech Bobcats or XP8's.
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Old 04-08-07, 07:22 PM
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I don't intend to buy new pads unless there are significant gains to be made. I'm choosing between the OEM pads I'm currently using for street driving, and the HP+'s I bought for track use.

Dave
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Old 04-08-07, 08:10 PM
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I'd roll with the HP+'s for auto x. They can also serve as a street pad if need be. I didn't notice any huge improvement when I had them, but maybe any improvement was in my head. I'm running EBC Greens now. They bite good and are excellent for street use also. They still have plenty of life left after quite a few good thrashings last year. I changed to them and went to ATE Superblue fluid at the same time. Bite increased and so did pedal firmness. Later I also added stainless steel lines (which aren't an option for your class). I'm happy with this set up for auto-x. I'll be doing a HPDE later this year. I'll probably be saving for a big brake kit after that.
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Old 04-08-07, 08:16 PM
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Either will work. I use HP+ for street and autoX. I prefer the slightly more delicate touch of the higher friction pad vs. having to leg the OEM/regular street pad. HP+'s don't need much heat, so temp shouldn't be a factor unless it's very cold outside.
Unless you have a BBK, the HP+ will not cut it for any sort of track driving.
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Old 04-09-07, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by dgeesaman
I don't intend to buy new pads unless there are significant gains to be made. I'm choosing between the OEM pads I'm currently using for street driving, and the HP+'s I bought for track use.

Dave
IMO, Hawk pads suck ****. They are cheap, but that's about the only thing going for them. Carbotech pads have a much better bite as well as much better dusting characteristics. They are more expensive, but that's for a reason.
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Old 04-09-07, 08:46 AM
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Well the HP+ should get me thru my next track day or two without a problem, considering I have stock power and street tires. Depending on how they run on the street I may leave them on all the time until they're shot. When they're gone I'll try something better.

Dave
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Old 04-09-07, 08:51 AM
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I'm still very partial to the HP+. Yes they are dirty as hell and yes they squeak but damn do they work great when cold. I've tried a lot of pads and for best performance in autox the HP+ is still my favorite. For others who aren't as aggressive on the brakes it may be more of a toss up.

Currently I'm running Porterfield R4S (much more expensive). They don't squeak and don't dust nearly as bad but I miss the gobs of brake torque the HP+ could instantly create without having to get very hard into the pedal. I like the Porterfields but they are certainly a different "flavor" than the HP+

One warning to beginners with excellent brakes and sticky tires: be careful of overly slowing the car. When the brakes work so well it's easy to slow down more than you need to at the ends of fast sections.
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Old 04-09-07, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Mahjik
IMO, Carbotech Bobcats or XP8's.
I run XP9s on my RX-8 for track and Bobcat's for the street. Great pads both.
Have a set of GranSport's to try out for the RX-7 for the track this season, but will likely go back to Carbotech there as well.

But, not the original question.

I would go with stock pads for the autocross. At least while you are starting out. The RX-7 has pretty good stock brakes, so you aren't going to buy your self much time (if any) using after market pads. The stock pads will probably be more consistent from cold and easier to drive smooth, which is where you will make up time in an autocross.

Besides, if you won't gain anything, why put the wear on your Hawk Pads (and more importantly, the abuse Hawk will put on your rotors) when there is little, if anything, to be gained?
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Old 04-09-07, 11:31 AM
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Interesting, the recommendations have circled around. It seems to me that aside from dust levels, cost, and operating temps, brake pads are very much personal preference. And it seems the HP+ is a pretty streetable pad overall, so I might just leave them on all summer.

But I hear talk of adjusted braking points.

I have ABS. When I floor the pedal at the end of a straight, I should be getting maximum braking torque regardless of the pad, and in theory I'll make the same elapsed time with the oem and aftermarket pad. So aside from the amount of pedal pressure, my braking points should not change. So there should be no performance advantage.

Does this theory break down at the speeds you see in autocrossing (70-80mph)? Is it easier to develop a feel for the car if you use the same type of pad for street and autocrossing? (Track days are another matter)

Dave
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Old 04-09-07, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by dgeesaman
I have ABS. When I floor the pedal at the end of a straight, I should be getting maximum braking torque regardless of the pad, and in theory I'll make the same elapsed time with the oem and aftermarket pad.
Yes and no. I'm talking about individual feet of stopping distance now.

When you get on the brakes the pads begin making friction against the rotor and as friction on the rotor increases the rate of decel increases. The more friction a pad can generate the quicker the pad can heat from cold and the quicker it can generate maximum brake torque. It's this split second over which the pad is building to maximum torque that is the difference.

It's somewhat opposite to the point where brake fade is just coming on. You can still lock the tires if you press hard enough on the pedal, but for a given pedal effort your brake torque is much lower as fade sets in.

FWIW I very rarely ever activate the ABS. On race tires I've found the FD to stop more quickly if you stay out of ABS. The FD ABS works well in a straight line but once you start mixing in a lot of trail braking into corners I've found it best to stay out of ABS. Not a huge difference but a few feet at every corner adds up to lots of lap time.
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Old 04-09-07, 12:21 PM
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i been used HP+ for a few years on AX, street and HPDE. love em.
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Old 04-09-07, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 2MCHPWR
i been used HP+ for a few years on AX, street and HPDE. love em.
I agree. They have great performance, just VERY dusty and noisy.
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Old 04-09-07, 01:42 PM
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Just to reiterate....I would not run HP+ on a track day unless you are a complete novice and will not be punishing the brakes. I actually completely melted a set of those in less than 3 sessions the last time I ran them....just throw on a set of Ntech's Lapping Day pads and call it good.

FWIW, other than the squealing and dusting, I LOVED the HP+ for street and auto-x driving. They grip RIGHT NOW.
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Old 04-09-07, 02:36 PM
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FYI i was crushing the HP+'s at HPDE on my firebird (3600 lbs with me in it, 416 hp), and they worked great for me. So thats why i continue to use them on my 650 lb lighter FD
Granted each track is different and those ones I ran (Pocono and Lime Rock) aren't knows as being hard on brakes.
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Old 04-09-07, 03:42 PM
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The EBCs I run don't make lots of noise and no more than normal dust. Another reason I use them. I think they're great if you don't want to switch to a specific auto x pad.
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Old 04-09-07, 03:50 PM
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I've never had a problem with my HP+'s on a track either, but all the local tracks don't have any 140-60mph stops either.

But I will say after I wear these out I'm going to a higher performance pad for the track and a less dusty pad for the street.
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Old 04-09-07, 04:39 PM
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Rynberg: regarding track use: this year I'm slated to do two events at the Shenandoah circuit at summit point. It's pretty easy on brakes. Last year I did my first/only track event on that circuit with stock pads, and while I wasn't pushing the brakes hard the wear on the pads was minimal. If it was VIR or even Summit's main loop it would be a different story.

Re: autocross pads, DamonB thanks for explaining that, and I think that I don't mind losing those couple of tenths right now, because I'm giving up many tenths elsewhere. Might as well burn up the OEM pads first.

Your description of the ABS answers another question I started to look into, and that would be how often I should engage the ABS in hard driving. Based on what you said, I would doing pretty well to aim to brake at the threshold just before activating ABS on straight lines.

Dave
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Old 04-09-07, 05:22 PM
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You guys who don't have problems with HP+ on track must either have some easy brake tracks or you're not going fast enough.... The HP+ were OK at Laguna Seca but don't have a chance at a track like Buttonwillow (check out Track layout #1 at www.buttonwillowraceway.com.... 5 zones on the track where you are slowing from 105-120 mph down to 30-50 mph).
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Old 04-11-07, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rynberg
You guys who don't have problems with HP+ on track must either have some easy brake tracks or you're not going fast enough.... The HP+ were OK at Laguna Seca but don't have a chance at a track like Buttonwillow (check out Track layout #1 at www.buttonwillowraceway.com.... 5 zones on the track where you are slowing from 105-120 mph down to 30-50 mph).
Or the front straight at PIR PIR

From 125 down to 30 for the chicane.

On the back straight down from 125-140 to ~100, then quickly down to 35-40.
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