Stop! - Brake Pads
Posted on 08 March 2017
The Bottom Line on Brake Pads.
People often see or hear the words “track”, “race”, or “high-performance” and they immediately go into buying mode for their Lotus. In some cases, it’s OK to misalign the tools for the job, but with brake pads, it is not.
One of the most common places we see a problem is with brake pad selection. Here are a couple rules of thumb
More "Bite" is not always better.
Track pads do NOT belong on the street.
Some track pads have enough bite when cold to be safe, but no track pad will get hot enough to not destroy itself or the rotor on the street. Track pads are designed to be ran at 500-600F+ at a minimum. It is not possible to get brakes that hot on the street short of slowing a trailer down a mountain or the occasional stop from a high-speed run. If you cannot get the track pad hot enough, which you cannot on the street, then you’ll be relying only on the abrasive properties of the pad to generate the torque to slow the car down instead of the chemical properties of the pad that kick in during the correct 500-600F+ (minimum) temperatures they were designed to run. With only the abrasive properties of the pad to slow the vehicle down, you end up with a very aggressive grinding compound on the rotor. This is bad, so don't do it!
Never run the following on the street:
- Hawk DTC-70
- Hawk DTC-60
- Hawk Black
- Hawk Blue
- CL RC6
- CL RC8
- PFC 01-07, 97
- Pagid RS14-15
- Ferodo DS3000
- Ferodo DS1.11 or DS2.11
- Carbotech- XP8, 10, 12...
- Cobalt Pads- All
Just because you or someone you know has ran them on the street and claims they like them, doesn’t make it OK. The pads listed are commonly used on the Lotus while on track, but they will not get hot enough to work correctly on the street. So why use them when there are great street pad alternatives?
When it comes to street pads, they’re designed for lower temperatures that are experienced on the street. Some street pads can actually deal with higher 900-1,000F degree temperatures from the occasional track day.
Street and Street/Track Pads
Street pads like the Ferodo DS2500 are GREAT street pads. They have very linear torque, meaning that that they don’t have an artificially hard initial bite,which isn’t proportional with pedal force. You want a friction torque curve that is proportional with pedal force on both street and track. The Ferodo DS2500 will even give reasonable performance on the track, as it can handle occasional high temperatures. It’s a great novice to intermediate track pad and a street pad. It is not for racing or regular track work. For regular track work, you need to run a track pad. The CL RC5+ can work well on the street too. It is fairly aggressive on the street and works OK for novice track work. For the most modest street performance, the Hawk HPS pad does a nice job but is not good for track.
Track Only Pads
Sintered pads are a special type of pad offered by Cobalt and CL. They are very interesting pads because they require essentially no bedding time. You drop them in the caliper and go! We’ve have used the CL pads for years on track, but are recently enjoying the perks of the Cobalt line for track records. Cobalt pads tend to improve rotor life and have a very nice range in friction materials over others. Most Lotus cars will enjoy the Cobalt XR4 or -maybe- XR3 on the track. As a rule of thumb, boosted, ABS cars (stock) will like the XR4. You'll have great pedal feel and modulation. For un-boosted manual brakes with no ABS, and some of the higher downforce cars may like the XR3 or -maybe- XR2. In the CL line, both the RC6 and RC8 will work with the RC6 for the stock boosted and ABS system and the RC8 for the un-boosted manual brake setups. We prefer the RC6 over the RC8 in most cases. Sintered pads like those described above are our preference for road course and autocross competition.
Organic compounds rely on a strict bedding in process to ensure a proper "transfer layer". They are more common than sintered pads. For the Lotus, Ferodo, Hawk, and Carbotech are popular organic pads on track. The Carbotechs are by far the most sensitive to bedding procedures, in our experience. The Carbotech XP8, 10, and possibly 12 are OK to run. The 8 and 10 are going to give a nice progressive pedal. The Ferodo DS1.11 is a good compound. The 2.11 is going to likely be too aggressive (too much bite) for the Lotus in most cases. The DS3000 is not a good pad relative to other offerings. It’s very old technology and just not the right tool for the job. While we prefer the sintered pads of Cobalt and CL, the Carbotechs are probably our preference in organic compounds. Just take note of their critical bedding in process.
We carry a selection of pads that we feel are the best to chose from. Check them out by clicking HERE.