GTR 101: The Basics - Brakes, Brake Pads, Fluids and Lines
More speed requires more stopping power. For us, braking power is just as important as how fast we can accelerate. Braking performance is crucial to the fun that we have on the track and to avoid the unwelcome obstacles on the road. In this installment of GTR 101 we cover a few of our recommendations for big brake kits, pads, fluids and lines. Whether it be for the street or for the track, we hope that this helps you with your research.
Big Brake Kits/Calipers
Street - R34 Brembos front and rear
Track - Brembo GT or Trust 6-pot fronts & 4-pot rears, or R35 Brembos (front and rear)
Generally, more pistons equal more stopping power. It also means it costs more too. Big brake kits can get really expensive so consider your usage and take the time to shop for what is right for you. The Brembo GT and Trust kits are ones that we have personal experience with. One thing to note is that the early model Trust kits were made by AP Racing- a solid bonus in our book. We cant confirm who makes them now though. If you happen to stumble upon them at a cheap price, the R35 Brembos can be retrofitted with custom brackets and are a great option. You'll have to run low offset 18 inch diameter wheels to fit them though.
For the street with some spirited driving, we know of a few R32s that run R34 front and rear calipers. It's a pretty common OEM+ upgrade in Japan and the calipers are in abundance if you know where to look. If your car is only going to be a cruiser then save some money and stick with the stock calipers.
In terms of rotors, most aftermarket kits will come equipped with their recommended sizing.
Street - Nismo, Brembo, Hawk, Winmax
Track - Project Mu, RaceTech, Carbotech, Hawk, Winmax
Spend the time to figure out what it is you want out of your car's braking performance. If your car is going to be built for shows, there's no point in running race pads. You'll just end up cleaning your wheels more often and you'll give yourself a headache when you come to a stop. Selecting a pad that suits your needs is highly important so we've listed some popular brands for an upgraded street feel as well as our go to track pads.
Carbotech pads are pretty popular for those who hit the track on a regular basis. Most GTR track drivers run the XP12/XP10 combo. Definitely worthy of a mention are the RaceTech RE10s. We have them on our white R32 with the Brembo GT brake kit and it copes extremely well on the track and is very street-able.
Hawk Performance pads are more affordable and they have a variety of pad types to choose. Winmax has a bunch of applications for both street and track as well, so if your car spends more time on the street then we would recommend those. The Nismo and Brembo are good options too.
Street - ATE Type 200, Motul RBF600,
Track - Moty's 361, Castrol SRF, Motul RBF660, Endless RF650
Moty's is our go to for brake fluid and is now available through our friends at Saurus USA here in California. More readily available is Castrol SRF. A lot of our friends run it in their track cars and we've yet to hear of any complaints. The SRF is expensive but well worth it. Before switching over to Moty's 361, we had Endless RF650 running through the lines or our white that sees both street and track use.
There's no negative effect on running a high performance brake fluid in your street car. The two options we listed for "street" are merely more to help you save money if you're on a budget. We wouldn't advise running them on the track though so if there's a chance that you'll be doing a track day once in a while; go for the good stuff.
Street & Track - Project Mu, Brembo (Goodrich), Earl's
Stainless steel street brake lines are relatively cheap and are recommended for any application. The Skyline has been through some age and it's most likely that rubber ones have been ditched for some stainless steel items. If you've still got rubber lines make it a to-do to change them out during your next brake service. It's a small and worthy investment.
That's it for today. Our next installment will be the last of GTR 101. In that, we will cover common Skyline issues that don't affect performance but can be nuisance. Stay tuned for more!