By Matt M.
I started tracking my S2000 in December of 2010 and like so many before me, I was completely hooked after my very first day. More often than not when you catch the bug that is tracking, it is accompanied by the desire to modify the car simply to make it go faster. Your goals in modifying a car will most likely begin to shift as you gain experience on track and develop as a driver. You realize the importance of things other than raw power, even as simple as consistency. Having parts on the car that will remain consistent throughout a session on track helps you become a better and more consistent driver as you can stay focused on hitting your marks. You will also quickly find out that attending track events or HPDEs is expensive and consumables almost always turn out to be more expensive than the track time itself. Brake rotors and especially brake pads are among the top consumables on the list. Drivers who have smaller budgets (myself included) are constantly looking for ways to save on consumables, yet I see so many drivers overlooking one of the best ways to do so... a big brake kit (BBK). The stock brakes on the S2000 are great for street and even some "spirited" canyon use, but they are unarguably small for track use. Yes, with the right pads and perhaps some ducting they will get the job done just fine. However, there is a rather large issue with how fast you will go through pads and rotors using the stock calipers and rotors. Take for example the popular choice of Carbotech XP10, for many experienced S2000 drivers a set of Carbotech XP10 will last 2-3 days with roughly 4 hours of track time before they are worn to the backing plates at the tracks in California I visit. Rotor wear is a little harder to say because they will crack at different rates based on the driver, track, tire size, tire compound and the amount of cool down after coming off track. It is not uncommon that a set of stock sized single piece rotors to last about as long as the pads. I do not have ducting and in my case specifically a set of pads would last about 2 days before they were to the backing plates rotors would last an average of 2 track days before they would crack. After getting sick of having to bring extra rotors, pads, and all the tools necessary to change them to the track I decided to do something about it. Enter the Stoptech 328mm ST-40 BBK. It uses the 4 piston fully forged aluminum "ST-40" caliper. The calipers are advertised as being one of the stiffest calipers on the market which helps with feel, consistency, and also leads to more even pad wear. The 2 piece AeroRotors rotors are 328x28mm with a special directional vane design vs the stock 300x25mm one piece rotor with a straight vane design. Aside from the increased thermal capacity and cooler running rotors, the rings also utilize a metallurgy that resists cracking and warping. All of this translates to a front brake system that is more consistent, more reliable, longer lasting, and one that feels better than stock. When you press the brake pedal the feedback is immediate and is more clearly felt through the pedal, making threshold braking easier. There was absolutely zero fade using XP10s (which will be faded by advanced drivers using the stock calipers/rotors and no ducting). Not having to worry about fade or a soft pedal lets you pick and stick with braking points. More importantly, not having to worry about as many things lets you focus more on driving and hitting your marks. The real shock to me was how long everything is lasting. Even without ducting my pads and rotors have 8 track days with over 15 hours of track time and the pads will likely make it another 4 or so days days depending on which tracks I run. The rotors have started to develop hairline cracks but they haven't really grown in the last few track days. This leads me to believe that they will last for a considerably more time before they actually crack to the point of needing replacement. In any case my consumables budget has been reduced significantly all while gaining performance on track. Many people tend to shy away from a BBK because of price. While there is a larger initial purchase price, the money saved in consumables will eventually pay back that initial price. For example, I do about 12 track days per year. XP10s cost $195 for the stock calipers and $205 for the ST-40. If pads last an average of 3 days with the stock calipers and 12 days with the Stoptech BBK thats 4 sets totaling $780 vs 1 set totaling $205 for the season. The total in pad savings alone would be $575 per year, if you are doing more than 12 then the savings is even greater. I should also mention that I was on the fence between the Stoptech kit and the new AP Racing kit designed by Essex/Urge Designs. I ended up going with Stoptech because the car sees quite a few street miles and I was worried that because of the lack of dust boots, the AP calipers would require more maintenance. They would need to be rebuilt more often when used in a street environment and may need to be rebuilt if you go off track and take a little trip through grass, gravel, or mud. They were also about $600 cheaper than the AP kit. I have no regrets with my decision and Im also happy to report that so far the red paint on the calipers have not shifted color and the dust boots do not look the slightest bit burned. I will continue to to update as the pads and rotors see more track time. *Note* The pads started at the same total thickness as the stock pads (16.5mm). The ST-40 calipers can use pads up to 18mm thick so the difference in pad life can be even greater than described above. Car is an AP2 S2000, 2906lbs with driver, 17x9 all around using 255/40R17 Hankook R-S3 and 245/40R17 Bridgestone RE-11 all around, no ducting.