Project Honda S2000 Part 3- Brakes that don’t Break
By Khiem Dinh, Photos by Jeff Naeyaert
Khiem Dinh is an engineer for Honeywell Turbo Technologies at the time of this writing. All statements and opinions expressed by Khiem Dinh are solely those of Khiem Dinh and not reflective of Honeywell Turbo Technologies.
Although the Honda S2000 is one of our favorite all time cars, one of the parts we like the least about the car is the brake system. Although they are perfectly adequate for street duty, the stock brakes do not match the excellent handling ability of the car and are not up to snuff for track day use. S2000s that are tracked heavily, especially on non-staggered setups running 245 or 255 width front tires, are prone to cracking front rotors. The added traction from the wider front tires means more braking power and therefore more heat the front brakes must dissipate. This added heat is simply beyond the capacity of the stock brakes’ design, leading to oft cracked rotors.
|The stock brakes were not up to the level of the rest of the car.
On our project car, the added grip and width (245 vs. the stock 215) of our Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 tires up front added tons more braking capability to our car. Remember, it’s the traction available from the tires that determines how short the braking distances will be; not the size of the brakes. But, the size of the brakes DOES determine how many times you will be able to stop from speed! As the saying goes, it’s not speed that kills, but the sudden stop at the end. So besides making sure your lug nuts are torqued so that your wheels don’t fall off, brakes are the next most important thing for safety.
|The StopTech ST-40 4-piston caliper makes the stock single-piston, sliding caliper look dinky.
Durability and reliability are key goals of this project and easily cracked rotors do not equal either of those. So what’s the primary solution? Get bigger brakes of course! StopTech offers two Big Brake Kits (BBK) for the S2000; one is based on the 328mm diameter rotor and the other uses a 355mm rotor. For this project, we chose the 328mm kit as it fits under the 17” wheels whereas the 355mm kit requires larger wheels. The main goodies of the BBK are StopTech’s ST-40 caliper, 2-piece AeroRotor, SS brake lines and StopTech Street Performance brake pads. To supplement the parts up front, we went ahead and got SS lines and pads for the rear also.
|It’s obvious that the Stoptech caliper can support a much larger brake pad.