Project C7 Corvette Stingray Z51: Improving Stopping With a Chevy Performance Big Brake Upgrade Kit

Project C7 Corvette Stingray Z51: Improving Stopping With a Chevy Performance Big Brake Upgrade Kit

by Mike Kojima

 

When we did our baseline test of Project C7 at Buttonwillow Raceway configuration 13 CW, we were pretty impressed with the stock Z51 Stingray's on-track performance. We felt the chassis was set up pretty well for the wheel and tire configuration that came on the car, and the whole chassis calibration was matched to the amount of tire the stock car had and the power level of the engine. 

The only issue with the car we had at this point was the stock Z51 brake package in absolutely stock condition under racing conditions. Our test driver, Karla Pestonik, was able to induce brake fade after several hard laps and had to switch to a brake management driving strategy to not completely fry the stock brakes. This and a lot of traffic hampered her from getting a really good lap time. 

You can check out Karla's driving impressions here!  Project C7 Corvette Stingray Z51 Baseline Track 

Our Corvette came with the medium size of three possible brake options on the C7. You have the base brakes, which are probably suited for older guys going on brisk morning drives to the golf course. The Z51 brakes are the medium size option, which our car is equipped with, that are great for the autocrosser and canyon runner, but probably need a trackside switch to a racing brake compound for serious track use.

Finally, there are the Z06 size brakes which are the C7's world-class brake option. They are truly large brakes- the size of many race car brake systems. You can refer to the table below to reference the size of the various factory brake options. 

 

C7 Brake ConfigurationsBaseZ51Z06 (non-ceramic)
Rotor Diameter (F)320mm345mm371mm
Rotor Diameter (R)338mm338mm365mm
Rotor Thickness (F)           30mm30mm33mm
Rotor Thickness (R)23mm23mm25mm

 

Upgrading the brakes on a high-end modern car can be really tricky. The brake system is highly integrated into the car's electronic controls.  Messing with the brake piston diameters and overall area, pad area and rotor diameter can wreak havoc on the car's ABS, electronic brake force distribution, traction control and stability control systems. On a car as sophisticated as the C7, the programming for these systems is multi-layered and very complicated to give a lot of user adjustability and to make the systems seem transparent to the driver.

For this reason, we turned first to Chevy Performance for their factory engineered brake upgrade system for our C7. The fact that the system is factory engineered gave us a lot of confidence that we would not have issues with the cars sophisticated electronic controls.

Read more about our Project C7 Corvette Here!

 

The Chevy Performance big brake kit is very similar to the base Z06 Corvette brake system; it uses 371x33mm front rotors and 365x25mm rear rotors. These bigger rotors are paired up with big calipers and brake pads made by Brembo.
 

The Chevy Performance front brake is a work of art with its huge 365mm rotor and big six-piston Brembo caliper.
 

The Chevy Performance front caliper is made by Brembo to OEM specs, so it has all of the durability features like dust boots and anti-corrosive surface finish treatments that many racing calipers don't have. 

 

 

2 comments

  1. Thank you for the video and article regarding the Stingray upgrades. I have been looking at the Chevy brake upgrade but was hesitant due to Chevy performance article stating that the brake upgrade was not compatible with the z51 stock wheels for clearance. I saw your car in the video and read the article that you used the stock wheels. Therefore I wanted to ask if you had any trouble with the stock z51 wheels fitting the upgrade? Was a spacer needed? Thank you for any help or detailed pictures regarding brake clearance with stock z51 wheels.

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