Somewhat recently, I ran an open track day at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet with Laps Inc in my daily-driver 350z. Knowing the event was coming up, and also knowing that one of my rotors was cracked; I replaced my pads, rotors and brake fluid. I replaced my rotors with Centric brand rotors; these rotors are noting special and are advertised as OE replacements. They also have a nice anti-rust coating that unfortunately does not cover enough of the rotor’s swept area which ends up creating a ring of rust. For the pads, I used Hawk HPS pads.
I have to admit that I was quite foolish in my selection of these pads and did not research them before I bought them. I had never used these pads before, but I was familiar with their HP Plus pad which has a reputation as a very nice track day pad. I have also used their full out race pads and had a good experience with them. But since I never really planned to track this car, I went with the HPS pads thinking they would get by for this one event. After putting 200 or so miles on the pads to let them bed in (I will cover the extreme importance of this in my next article), I learned that I made a grave mistake and there was no way these pads were going to hold up to a track day. I finally looked up the pads on-line which confirmed my suspicions – Even though these pads are sold as a high performance upgrade, they are just a normal street pad that probably would be at home on a mini-van, and they were expensive to boot. Maybe this compound is just outdated? Luckily, Hawk has a return policy, so was able to return them and get my money back.
But now I was in a pinch because I had no pads and the event was just days away. I called every performance shop looking for some pads, and no one had anything in stock. I finally had to make a decision between OE pads, or Pepboys Pro-Stop pads. After I received some advice from someone that said they had a similar experience to mine on the my350z.com forum, I decided to go with the unlikely Pro-stop ceramic pads. Turns out they worked well, cost half as much as OE pads and have a lifetime warranty. But with race day so close, I was not able to bed them in properly. This turned out to be quite detrimental.
I will cover what happened in my next posting.