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Modifying the NSX’s Brakes for the Track

From the factory, the NSX comes ready for your first few driver’s school events.  If you take it easy and focus on mastering your driving skills there is no need to perform any major modifications to the braking system.  As your skills progress and you feel more comfortable with the track and car and are really smooth, then you will have to turn to our after-market vendors for parts and accessories to meet your right-footed demands.

“These OEM brakes SUCK”
Typically, the people who complain most about their brakes are the fast novices; they ask their brakes to do more then necessary—like going full-bore until the last braking marker then stomping on the brakes and over-slowing for corner entry—can you say brake barbeque rotor ka-bobs.  According to Skip Barber's book "Going Faster: Mastering the Art of Race Driving" late braking is the last thing we should be working on as it has the LEAST effect on lap times.

Step 1: How to make OEM brakes NOT SUCK (Free)

a) Enter the corner at maximum speed on the proper line
We can learn how to maximize corner entry speed and therefore use the brakes less.  There are a lot of drivers out there over-slowing for corners.  At my local track, a good driver can come within 6-8 seconds of their best lap time without even using their brakes—at the same time there are cars on the track barbequing their brakes without going much faster than a “no brake” lap.  Why then, are they barbequing their brakes?  Because, they are over-slowing for corners—they are barreling down the straightaway so fast that they have to panic-cram on the brakes before heading into the corner, and cramming on the brakes into a corner is a delicate art not done well by the inexperienced.  So, before we do a shish-ka-bob on our brake systems, we should take it easy on the straight-aways and learn how to properly enter each corner.  

b) Engine brake and heel / toe
The transition between full-throttle and full-braking should be done as smoothly as possible.  It’s not a bad idea to come off the throttle a little bit before the brake markers, let the engine and wind do a little braking for us (it may cost us a tenth of a second, but then again, the prize money sucks).  Don’t even think about going full-throttle/late braking until you have mastered the heel/toe shifting technique.  A lot of harm can be done to your vehicle if this technique is not mastered and you are driving full-bore into corners—you’re just asking for trouble.  Using the proper heel/toe technique we can let the engine do some braking too.  Engage the clutch around 6k-5k rpm and let the engine do some work for our brakes.

c) Take a brake
Yes, the OEM setup will eventually fade.  So what.  When you start to experience fade—good—then slow down for a lap or two and work on the line and corner exit speed.  Use your brakes sparingly or not at all while they cool down.  Yes, you will get passed.

Step 2: Keep Fresh Brake Fluid at the Calipers (Cheep)  
Keep your brake system filled with fresh high-temp fluid and bleed the system before and after every track event.  Bleed them during the track event if you are experiencing fade.

Step 3: Get Air to the Front Brakes (Pretty Cheep)  
Along with using fresh high-temp brake fluid, we need to ventilate the front brake system to help keep it operating in the proper temperature range.  This can be accomplished by adding deflectors or ducts and requires the removal of the splashguards.  See the section titled Removing Splash Guards for the removal procedure.  Deflectors are available from Dali Racing and a chin spoiler with hose ducting is available from RM Racing  Ventilation plays a major role in reducing brake fade.  

Step 4: Switch to Track Brake Pads  
There will come a time when switching to a pad compound more capable of handling heat will be necessary.  There are several pads available from our after-market vendors.  See Replacing Front Pads and Replacing Rear Pads for installation instructions. 


Step 5: Switch to Track Rotors
After switching to a more aggressive pad compound, you will soon need to switch to a rotor more capable of handling and dissipating the increased heat.  That is, it won't take too long before your OEM rotors start warping.  There are several rotors available from our after-market vendors.  See Replacing Rotors for installation instructions.

Step 6: Big Brakes
And when all else fails, there is always the BIG BRAKE option.  There are several packages available from our after-market vendors


As your heel/toe technique improves and you are getting deeper and deeper into the brake pedal when blipping the throttle, then adjusting your brake pedal up may be necessary.  The procedure is a pain, but it makes all the difference in the world.  It helps keep your right foot from inadvertently engaging the throttle under heavy heel/toe braking.