The EVO comes with amazing stock brakes. Big four-piston front and two-piston rear Brembo calipers clamp big rotors. With Brembos all around, the stock EVO brakes are better than many upgrade kits right from the factory.
Increase the grip with significantly bigger tires like we did and fade becomes a possibility. Although not a huge problem, we noticed a decline in pedal feel and an increase in pedal effort when pounding around the track. Also, the stock pads were noisy, and wore the stock rotors quickly to boot. Stock replacement pads were also expensive from the dealer.
We wanted to enhance our brakes to keep them steady and consistent. The EVO's Brembos didn't need serious upgrading, but we did tweak them in the interest of reduced fade and better pedal feel and modulation. We replaced our front rotors with Project 's two-piece front rotors. The rotor is pillar vented, which has more interior fin area, so that heat dissipates better than the stock Brembo vane type vents.
Pillar venting also makes for a lighter rotor. The rotor is grooved on the outside, which allows hot vaporized brake pad material to escape, preventing the pads from hydroplaning on the layer of vaporizing pad. This does the same thing as drilling the rotors but without the risk of cracking that drilling presents. The slots also give water a place to escape for wet braking, helping out first stops after a puddle in cold, wet weather.
The rotors also have a special heat-treating hardening process for longer life, with harder, more aggressive brake pads and increased warp resistance. The rotor's center part is machined of aluminum alloy and anodized blue to reduce heat transfer to the hub bearings and to remove several pounds of rotating and unsprung weight from the rotor.
For the rear, we used a trick rotor from Stillen. The Stillen rear rotor features pillar vanes like the Project rotor to improve cooling and reduce weight. They're also heat-treated to improve wear life and to reduce the chance of warping. They're slotted and have an integral drum to be perfectly compatible with the stock drum parking brake. The rotors feature rust- and heat-resistant paint on the hub and inside the rotors vents. They have stripes of temperature-sensitive paint so the rotor's operating temperature can be determined. This is very useful when selecting brake pad compounds.
For brake pads, Vishnu Tuning supplied us with some recommended Ferodo pads, which feature a wide operating range. We were assured these pads would be more fade resistant than stock, while running quietly with less dust and longer life.
For track use, Project M also supplied us with a pad that, although it's still streetable, it provides a steady coefficient of friction up to 900 degrees. We haven't evaluated these pads yet, but we've heard good things about them and look forward to that opportunity, probably during our first track event with the new suspension.
To improve pedal feel, Vishnu also supplied some of its braided steel brake lines. The braided lines don't balloon under pressure like the stock lines do; thus, every bit of pedal travel goes to the calipers. We were surprised at how much difference these lines made.
The pedal feels like rock solid like a real racecar; impressive, considering the stock pedal feel was quite good as well. It was a noticable difference. The car's ABS system seemed to like it as well, seemingly cycling faster with a higher resolution. We don't know if that's true or not, but the seat of our pants told us so.
Finally we replaced our stock Japanese fish oil brake fluid with Motul RBF 600 brake fluid. Motul's RBF formula is one of the best fluids, performing nearly as well or better as exotic fluids like the legendary F-1 standard Castrol SRF and AP550. Motul's dry boiling point is 600 degrees Fahrenheit. It works so well that racecars need only bleed the brakes once a season, instead of the typical once a race. Motul also resists absorbing moisture from the atmosphere better than most brake fluids, so the high boiling point lasts longer than most fluids.
Our impressive stock brakes are now even more impressive. We won't need to upgrade them further, no matter how involved we get with this project. The EVO has some of the best stock brakes we've ever sampled.
Our world-class handling and braking EVO is now in exotic stomping territory with our few simple mods. We didn't sacrifice any of the day-to-day pleasantness of driving this car in our quest to improve it.
In the next installment of Project EVO, we'll work on getting some power to back up our grip.