For me, defense of the perceived “need” for a BBK on an R32 or any performance VW for HPDE is fascinating in that validates three things: First, most so-called enthusiasts still place excessive emphasis on the car, and disassociate themselves from the performance capabilities of their car. Second, it is evidence that the marketing cool-aide served liberally, laced with oversimplified half-truths is very strong indeed nowadays. And lastly, an amalgam of the preceding in that many so-called enthusiasts are afflicted with auto-hypochondria, defined as a “need” to purchase something to cure a fundamental car problem (and because so-and-so-says-so) ...when no such problem exists, and validated when a skilled driver in the same car proves it.
My statement on BBKs being a waste of time and money (read: poor ROI) for HPDE use was not based on opinion; it’s based on my experience as a showroom stock endurance racing crew chief and especially as an instructor. Newbies with BBK are more likely to over-brake (and potentially oversaturate the tractive limits of the tire) and subsequently over-slow their cars leading up to turn in than those without BBK. Even seasoned drivers will be more inclined to overbrake at unfamiliar tracks, and after over-braking, everyone is more likely to roll off the brake and then back on again later (often too late, now). This breaks the cardinal rule that performance drivers must never do, then undo and then redo an initial input of any kind, i.e.: braking, steering, throttle during any one of the five components of a cornering event.
My statement is also a reflection on the fact that the systemic aspect of a performance braking event, similar to handling and road holding, can never, ever be separated from the nature of the installed tires and the effective wheel rates. As a result, the fact remains that the only time a BBK makes any sense on a production-based chassis is when high wheel rates are applied and R-Comp or slicks are used in conjunction with those high rates ...and only then can a skilled driver complete the systemic path to a true, not perceived ROI.
As crew chief for Schmidt Racing back in the late 80s and early 90s, our successful Canadian Firestone Firehawk and Michelin Enduroseries GTI 16V, Corrado VR6 and Jetta GLX VR6 racers all used stock calipers & rotors and never suffered for it:
Allowed modifications back then were limited to high temp fluid, alternate pads and braided lines. Our race durations ranged from two-driver, 1 to 6-hour “sprints” to four driver, 24-hour marathons. One area where our team always excelled was with FWD-savvy drivers with superior braking techniques and using braking as a component of race winning racecraft. Rarely were we the fastest in a straight line, but we often gained poles, first/second row grid spots and class wins because my drivers “knew how to brake”. We were also class winners of longer events because we didn’t need to change pads and rotors as often as the others ...a true testament to the quality of the braking system developments made for Volkswagen by outfits like ATE, Teves etc.
That current SCCA Showroom stock road racing rules continue to require stock calipers and rotors, and that competitors do not suffer from this from a speed, handling and racecraft perspective on their R-Comp tires and compliant suspensions is irrefutable proof that no one “needs” a BBK on any performance-oriented car, especially one born and bred for the high speed road conditions in Germany. Now, if you are over-braking and over-slowing the chassis, and transition turn-in graining and torturing the shoulders of a street tire.... that’s not the fault of the car.
The single most significant event for me as a racer and crew chief regarding any discussion on brakes was our Michelin Enduroseries Sport Class support race win in front of the Canadian F1 crowd back in 1995. Circuit GIlle Villeneuve is notorious for being a “horesepower and brakes” track due to the long straights and hard braking needed for the many fast chicanes.
With only a set of Pagid pads from a Porsche 944 filed down to fit our Jetta GLX, and running Motul racing fluid, we won the one hour event not because we were the fastest in a straight line, but because Gunter and Alistair were able to outbrake and outlast everyone in the class ...where, with aggressive drivers, they all fell by the wayside with smoked brakes after an hour’s worth of pounding. So good was our result, that we practiced and qualified with the same pads and rotors at the next event!
When we subsequently converted one of our SS endurance Corrados to GT specs for the CASC OR Sprints format, and fitted higher wheel rates and slicks, the “need” for a stouter brake setup became immediately apparent as a result, and everyone needed to relearn how to drive the car in an overall, systemic sense.
In true performance driving and it’s logical extension into competitive racing, no driver disassociation with the performance potential of the chassis is allowed or tolerated. So-called enthusiasts would do well to heed that reality for the broad scope of street through HPDE use as well.
Last edited by TechEd; 05-02-2012 at 11:04 PM.
"Professional Driver, Closed Course."
SpeedWerks Racing 05/06 CASC OR GTA Champion
2008 DCSCC Autox Series Top 3 PAX Points
2009/10/12 DCSCC Autox THS Champion, Street Tire Champion & 2nd place PAX Points
Thanks to TechEd for responding with a TON of empirical evidence/proof in regards to BBK's. Also I want to clarify my posts and I'm sure others as well aren't meant as a personal "shot" at anyone for their decisions to use a BBK on their cars, it's just to get the information out there that has been repeatedly shown that they aren't overly necessary in numerous situations on a stock horsepowered car. Now throw on a turbo and that's a different story.
David, I did say that out of all the configurations with stock rotors/calipers, the Hawk DTC-70 was probably my favorite. However, the very fact that you need a DTC-70 pad to get reliable braking basically proves there's an issue with this car's braking system. That's one of the most extreme racing pads Hawk produces, meant for fairly heavy (weight-wise) racing cars, and it's extremely rotor unfriendly. I've never seen any other HPDE car that needs a pad that extreme to get semi-reliable braking performance.
TechEd, while you are obviously experienced, I think you are very wrong on several of your points.. First, your experience with all of those other cars isn't that applicable to this car, as those were very different cars. Frankly, I probably wouldn't want a BBK on any of those cars either for many reasons. Second, I don't see any evidence you even track an R32, so your expertise on this topic is worth about what anyone in this thread paid for it. Furthermore, the experience of professional racers is also not that applicable, as they are a self-selected group that is likely to be smoother, better brakers, better at following the line, etc. Hell, if I was that good at all of those, I could be professionally racing.
The fact of the matter is that on the R32, with it's very large front rotors, very heavy calipers, high front weight bias, and no brake ducting creates an ideal situation for generating a whole lot of heat. That is a fact. The R32 does extremely well in other regards on the track, but keeping brakes cool isn't one of them. Some people run into fade issues pretty quick, possibly due to some combination of technique and tracks run, some don't. If you aren't getting fade, great, stick with a good track pad with the stock system. Moving to a BBK wasn't an easy or quick decision. I've been tracking my R32 since 2006 (so going on 6 years now), and I've been getting fade pretty much from my very first track day with the R to some extent. I've tried many combinations of pad, fluid, and technique to combat it, at times more successfully than others. For those that are getting fade, though, my experience is that nothing short of a BBK will solve it.
Furthermore, any fade, even minimal, makes it nigh near impossible to consistently practice that perfect threshold braking you've been going on about. It's a vicious cycle -- without the fade I've seen, I'd probably be a better braker, and I wouldn't be getting the fade. Sean osborn, the former vortex "brake whore" had an identical experience to mine (he's not responding becuase he sold his R32, not sure why), and I know personally of others with identical experience of fade issues. So, go on about your background as a racing mechanic and how I'm drinking the cool-aid, and based on my personal experience of tracking this car on my home tracks for 6 years, and my response is, give me another gallon.
Last edited by swartzentruber; 05-03-2012 at 01:58 PM.
As TechEd did correctly state, most of your end-of-straight speed is coming from your corner exit speed, coming from a combination of grip, taking the corner correctly, and not overslowing the car. For this car, my personal opinion is thinking a turbo is going to make you faster on the track is much more of an example of "drinking the coolaid" than a BBK. Consistent braking (BBK), power down earlier (competition Haldex controller), Rcomps setup with more camber (more grip around the corner, reduced understeer), and smoother inputs are all what are going to make you faster around the track. If I add more power, it will likely be the last mod I do.
In fact, the last time I was at Road America, I was entering some of the high braking points with a lot more speed than the last time I'd been there, mainly just because I was driving the track better. With no changes in braking technique, and similar pads, my fade issues that had been largely absent the time before resurfaced. Hence my contention that most advanced drivers will drive this car right to the edge of fade, due to the issues mentioned before -- some will go over the edge, some won't.
Last edited by swartzentruber; 05-03-2012 at 01:57 PM.
He did mention during the install that his OEM brakes caught on fire! Talk about heating some brakes up!
Last edited by nkgneto; 05-03-2012 at 01:55 PM.
I think just throwing out the term bbk as a fix all to heat is a bit of a misnomer. Different brake kits have different rotors and some could restrict airflow more than others. A bigger rotor and caliper may have less space to vent the rotor just like 2 different types of rims can change the temp level as well. Some bbks actually have less swept area than stock, so you can put more heat into a smaller area. And some bbk upgrades are actually the same size or smaller in actual rotor size. Bottom line is to research what you buy and don't just buy a bbk that's on sale this month. There are quite a few ways to combat heat. People don't need to run out and buy a bbk for their first hpde. I have been curious about a couple of brands of rotors that have claims of improved airflow in oem sizes to see if they do much.
I am sure your bbk works great, I am not trying to discount that at all, nor any body elses. I just know that if some of the issues that I have felt are also happening in an auto-x situation, then it isn't always heat that is causing the inconsistent pedal issues.
Last edited by schmuck; 05-03-2012 at 06:21 PM.
I'll disagree until the cows come home though that there's a "defect" with the standard brakes though. So I'd suggest some more kool-aid as you said and bring a chair for good measure. If you have a BBK, great.. awesome... If it "works" for you.. Even better. But as others have chimed in with and myself included, BBK's aren't the end all be all and to me are throwing $$$ away that could be better spent on let's say, more driving schools, HPDE's, etc.
BTW with the DTC's I've noticed the reverse not only with my pads, but a buddy that runs them on his semi-daily turbo'd R32. Wear has been great and they were easy on the rotors. I've run them for 4 track days now and my rotors are perfectly fine up front. Other folks I've bumped into in the paddock have said the same thing so I'll chalk that up to maybe different types of tracks being run possibly?? That I don't know.
Now i'm not going to get all uber technical on you all... I will simply relay the stories and experience i have had. < flame suit on >
I really gave the OEM brakes a chance... I really did. ...but:
+ With the weight of the R32
+ Driving with that anchor of an engine IN FRONT OF the front axle
The .:R gave it all she could...
...which is to say 4 sets of wheel bearings and a melted hub, seized in the housing by the heat.
I ran the OEM roors with Carbotech XP8 and XP10 pads, the difference in pad material was minimal once bedded and properly heated. TRUE, the OEM rotors were in fact 2 piece so they lasted a good long time given the HELL that i put them through.
POINT --> The OEM rotors were just 13" heat sinks that never dissipated any of the heat they soaked up.
PROOF --> I stopped in the pits during a hot lap (earlier i had given the Race Martial my temp gun) I pulled up next to him and he said "the gun isn't working"... i used it earlier that day. Yes it was. I knew exactly what was going on. He pointed the Temp gun at the rotors and it read "---" which meant "out of range". The gun was rated to 999 F. So the rotors were somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 F. Shortly after this realization, the pads literally caught on fire. Not smoke... FLAMES were coming off of my pads.
- I decided not to continue this session and instead took a leisurely drive around the pits to cool the brakes. The fluid did NOT boil.
FIX --> Brake ducting was just a band-aid which will prolong the life of your rotors / pads / wheel bearings But it will not prevent the OEM's from over heating, just prolongs the inevitable.
SOLUTION --> Was the 14" Stoptech BBK + Carbotech XP10's
I will say that you "may" be fine with the OEM rotors depending on your driving style. Motul 600 + Carbotech XP8's is a great way to do your first track day. I cant stress either of those items enough. But with prolonged use and standing on the brakes at the end of the 1/3 mile straight at Grattan... I liked to be reassured that something was going to happen when I pressed the "woah" pedal.
So now that i have ranted... what say ye all??
"But then again that's just my opinion... I could be wrong."
I've watched threads of yours and have never..ever been able to figure out how you can take a flamethrower to them as much as you have. I'm not meaning in any way shape or form anything negative. Just haven't been able to figure it out. LOL!!!
I got nothing on your situation.. nothing at all.
I need to have another person do the temp gun thing, any time I have ever done it has been after I came in on my own to the pits and got out, and that's just let things cool too much by then.
I am sure from the times I have been on the track w/ osbornsm that he uses more of the brakes than I do.
Who was it on here that did the high powered fans cooling the brakes thru smaller tubes to the center of the rotors a few years back. I thought that was pretty trick, and haven't seen that thread in a long time
we've really rambled far off the OT
Bottom line, the fact that some aren't fading might mean better braking, but it could also mean that driver is just not good enough yet to get the consistent corner exit speed to achieve higher end-of-straight speed resulting in more braking resulting in fade. That is more likely to happen by growing in driver skill, than simply by adding a turbo.
Finally, I don't consider this a defect with the R32. I don't expect VW (or any manufacturer) to put a braking system into this car that can stand up to heavy track use. I'm not sure I'd even want them to for cost reasons. Many cars have this issue, not just the R32, though I think the issue has gotten worse as both hp and weight have crept up. Hence why Tech Ed's experience in the 80s/90s means little today -- those were far lighter cars with lower hp.
I'm not advocating a BBK as a be-all end-all cure. As I've said repeatedly, don't even bother if you aren't getting fade. What I am saying, and osbourne is saying more emphatically, is that inability to disappate heat is a weak point on this car, and you will likely get to a point in your driver development where the speed you have picked up either due to skill or maybe adding a turbo is likely to overwhelm this system. Why this seems remotely controversial is beyond me.
As for your point about driver development actually I've been at that point of pushing this car pretty damn hard and to your point in the last phrase, yeah I totally agree if you're not getting fade then don't touch the brakes as there is something in your driving style that means you're not throttling the brakes or some other variable. With the changes I have made in pads, lines(for what little that's worth), fluid on a stock hp car it's a fine combination for most tracks that I have run on in the advance groups that I run with. I know once I switched to the Hawk's and am running RA1's, that I actually had the issue of thet things grabbing too hard which triggered the ABS when hot and that was over the span of a 25-30min session. So the trick w/those pads and this combo it seems is to really work on threshold braking at a higher level given at least in this case I have a more aggressive tire to work with and can maximize the abilities of the pads a bit more.
The outliers here are far and few between and I won't negate or belittle their experience at_all, but my point is that for a LARGE..LARGE majority across various different experience levels BBK's are not the answer and a waste of money.
As far as throwing TechEd's experience out, I'd be very leery about that given what I know of his experience beyond what he indicated previously. His statements are still applicable today and shouldn't be discarded at all. IF you want to cool and he can speak for himself on his experience with modern cars and the work he does with them which is FAR..FAR beyond what you have done and FAR..FAR beyond what I have done as well.
Just my two cents b/c we can beat this topic into the ground. People are going to buy what they want to buy and do what they want to do. I and others are just trying to make sure the info is out there that for the vast majority of folks, BBK's may not be what you need to be looking at first.
It's so weird seeing David@vwvortex as the last person to post in the thread from the topic list, and the thread not be locked and/or one of the participants in the thread having a newly acquired 'Banned' description under their username.
passenger side shouldn't be a problem for me, i went ice racing a while back and smashed up my bumper/splash guards so i can route around those easily. driver side might be harder, already have an intake duct for my intake, making another whole might look retarded, so i might have to drop the driver side air filter scoop thing.
old user was emueller1
Less complicated solution would be the Porsche brake duct spoilers: