Project VA WRX: Upgrading the Brakes with StopTech Part 1, Getting a Baseline
Our Project VA WRX does not have the trick Brembo brakes that come standard on its big brother the STI. It does however have brakes that would have been considered to be great just a few short years ago. Although the front and rear calipers appear to be pedestrian sliding calipers with two pistons on the front and a single piston for the rear brakes, the rotors are big. The front rotors measure in at 316mm in diameter and 28mm thick while the rear rotors are 288mm in diameter and 8.5mm thick. The pads are also large for OEM type calipers.
The factory brakes are probably fine for your average guy and will probably work with the right pads on the track. However, like all things we touch, we are planning for more power and sticky tires. That and the fact that the WRX is a somewhat heavy for a compact car means that we will be pushing the limits of the stock brake system in no time.
As a coincidence, StopTech called and asked us if we would like to attend one of their development sessions to show us some of the testing they do to baseline stock cars and validate the engineering of their brake kits. We were eager to observe some of the dynamic testing and StopTech did in fact use our car as a test mule for their 4 wheel upgrade kit.
It's no secret that we are fans of StopTech. We have always felt that they have done a really good job of getting their brake systems to match the characteristics of the OEM hydraulic system. While other might simply make rotor hats and brackets to graft racing brakes onto production cars, StopTech engineers their systems with multiple pistons sizes for great pedal feel and perfect proportioning.
StopTech also does extensive validation to make sure the brakes function well and are compatibles with the factory ABS, traction and stability control systems. After fighting some or all of these issues with other big brake kits, we have found StopTech stuff to work as promised to reduce fade and shorten stopping distances.
Read on to see some of StopTech's testing as they do a baseline on our car before developing an awesome 4 wheel brake upgrade kit for it.