Tetsuya Tada built the 86 with an intention of creating a fun sports car that owners can enjoy both on the street and on the track. However, unfortunately, fun does have a limit that be explored on the street and I anticipate future track time in order to learn more about the 86 and improve my driving.
Lurking the FT86 forums, I read all about the issues people were having with the stock brakes. While they were fine for light spirited driving, owners were facing a lack of heat capacity with the stock brakes on the track. With the potential of track time in my future, I wanted to minimize any issues that I might run into. I essentially wanted a brake upgrade that could handle track abuse and still get me home safely at the end of the day.
So I knew I needed a brake kit, but what brand?
The answer was a no-brainer. It had to be AP Racing.
Simply, it boiled down to a history of quality, proper R&D, and proven performance and reliability.
Essex Parts, an official distributor for AP Racing, had an account on FT86club and Jeff had posted logs of all the homework and testing, brake facts, and cost analyses they had done for their Sprint and Endurance kit (which utilized AP Racing components). While Essex’s kits for the FR-S/BRZ were undoubtedly top performers with many satisfied users, my FR-S would ultimately spend a majority of its life on the street, thus, I didn’t need or want something that was primarily built for track use. I decided to communicate with Jeff to determine a solution for me, and luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long for AP Racing to release their Formula Road kits. AP released two kits – 6pot and 4pot. I knew that I wanted to stay with 17s, so I selected the 4pot kit, which also had the added benefit of fitting with the stock wheels, which was nice, just in case.
After a 3 month wait for the first run of kits, I finally received my kit (which I posted a few months back). Unfortunately, timing was not on my side and the kit sat for months in the trunk of the FR-S. However, it wasn’t all bad because there were some issues with the kit (since it was a first production run product) and I was able to swap parts and send back the old ones easily.
Finally, I had a free weekend and I decided to visit my friends in SoCal and have a family friend install the brakes for me. So, last weekend I packed up the car and headed south.
I arrived Thursday afternoon and was sure to get a good night’s sleep in preparation for an early trip into LA Friday morning.
At the ungodly hour of 5:30, I was awakened by my alarm clock and by 6:15, I was on my way. The drive from Ventura wasn’t bad until I hit the 405/134 interchange where I was greeted with this:
I did not miss you at all, LA traffic. Hmph.
I arrived at our family friend’s shop, CH Topping, in Long Beach around 8:30. Walking in, I saw Vince Jr. already working on this gorgeous ’66 Mustang GT.
It wasn’t long before Frank had my car up on a lift though and the work began!
2 hours later…
Of course I couldn’t leave the rears alone and at the suggestion of Vince Sr., I had the rears drilled. People always tell me, “Oh no! Why’d you drill the rotors?! It’s just going to crack!” Yes, drilled rotors will crack easier than slotted or blanks, but Vince, who has been doing brakes his entire life, told me that drilling is perfectly fine for how I intend to use the car. Cracking occurs when the brakes are superheated and then cooled extremely quickly and is commonly found on rotors that use low quality metals in construction (OEM must conform with standards in longevity and quality, so it’s better to use instead of cheap aftermarket parts). Drilling the rotors keeps components cool and manages heat levels so that there are no temperature extremes. Plus, pad life is greatly improved.
I decided to take the PCH back since it would be a little easier on the brakes during the bedding-in process. I couldn’t help but stop along the way for a few pictures though.
As I pulled in at the hotel, I was surprised to see this 911 sitting in the back. Beautiful car. Reminded me a little of Jack Olsen’s 911.
Up next – suspension! Stay tuned…