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“Radi-CAL” is a blanket term used to describe AP Racing’s patented asymmetrical brake caliper design. Radi-Cal technology is grounded in Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA), and allows for organic, alien-looking designs that are a radical departure from conventional caliper designs of the past. Radi-CAL's are widely considered the pinnacle of current brake caliper technology. Since their inception in 2007, these revolutionary calipers have amassed a lengthy string of race victories at all levels of professional motorsport, while redefining brake performance expectations. For more details on the design concept and what these calipers have achieved in professional racing.
The key benefits of the Radi-CAL design:
It has taken eight years, numerous generations of the design concept, and advancements in manufacturing techniques, but the Radi-CAL has finally evolved into a viable solution for racers and enthusiasts of all levels and budgets. While many products are supposedly born in racing, there can be no doubt about the Pro5000R pedigree. These calipers are direct descendants of the current crop of F1 and Sprint Cup calipers. They don't look ordinary, because they're not ordinary. They're the epitome of pure racing design: elegant, sparse, and brutally effective. And while they embody and employ the Radi-CAL design philosophy of the past, they also add some outstanding new features that enhance their practicality, convenience, and appeal. Quite simply, they are the lightest, stiffest, and most technologically advanced brake calipers that have ever been within the average enthusiast's grasp.
These intricate calipers have traditionally been machined from proprietary aluminum alloy billets. As one can imagine, machining away all of that material to achieve the final form is both time-consuming and costly. As a result, the price of these calipers has historically been prohibitive for the average club racer, time-trialer, or HPDE participant. Fortunately, the Pro5000R calipers use a new drop-forging technique that has dramatically lowered the manufacturing cost and the resulting price of entry, bringing this incredible technology to the masses.
Over the years, many different strategies have been employed to shrink the brake caliper footprint while maintaining adequate stiffness: More robust caliper bridge designs, two-piece calipers with steel through-bolts, exotic materials (i.e. Beryllium, MMC), forging rather than casting, monobloc design, etc. All of these innovations pushed calipers towards becoming lighter, smaller, and stiffer. However, until the advent of the Radi-CAL, the same basic rectangular, boxy shape remained the accepted standard.
Is a rectangular box really the most appropriate and efficient shape for a brake caliper? AP Racing has now proven that it is not. As a brake caliper clamps brake pads against a spinning disc, a tremendous tangential friction force occurs between the pads and the spinning disc. In other words, the caliper is pulled strongly in the direction of the spinning disc, as represented by the downward pointing arrow on the right side in Figure 1 below. The caliper resists that force via the spindle hard mounting points, depicted by the upward arrow on the left. The dynamic load placed on the caliper twists or pulls the caliper into a parallelogram shape.
The dynamic force exerted on the calipers during a braking event is the key to the magic of the Radi-CAL design philosophy. Brake calipers of the past were designed to some extent in relative isolation from the forces that they were attempting to combat. They were designed to be the stiffest box possible while resting on a table, with much of the caliper mass residing at either end. The Radi-CAL is dramatically different because it was deliberately designed around the braking event forces that will be acting upon it. This is achieved by optimally distributing the body mass of the caliper on a diagonal, rather than at the two caliper ends. As such, the forces dynamically acting on the caliper are supported by the caliper mass, rather than what historically has been an empty box (see Figure 2 below). At the same time, this also allows for a significant reduction in overall mass, because all non-essential, non-load-bearing caliper body material is removed. So in the case of the Radi-CAL, it's not just about the material that is put into the caliper, it's about the material that is taken away!
As mentioned above, the Radi-CAL design philosophy is just as much about what isn't there, as it is about what is there. The Radi-CAL design relocates caliper mass, creating voids that would traditionally not be located where they are. As such, considerable mass is removed from the body, and the entire envelope of the caliper is optimized. The result is an extraordinarily lightweight and compact footprint.Whereas many competing six piston calipers weigh in the 9-12 lb. range, the CP9660 weighs an astounding 6.1 lbs.!
The Essex mantra when designing brake kits has always been, "Anything larger than necessary to get the job done is simply dead weight to drag around," and the Radi-CAL aligns perfectly with those values. One of the major problems with many of the brake packages currently on the market is wheel fitment. You’re offered gigantic discs and 12 piston calipers, with a pat on the back and a, “Good luck finding wheels to clear those things (insert sinister chuckle here).” The reality is that many casual racers want to use their OEM wheels on the track, or the smallest, lightest wheel they can find. Not only is saving unsprung weight critical, R compound tires are much more plentiful and cheaper for smaller wheels. If the components are designed properly with heavy use in mind, you don’t need to cram boat anchors under your wheels. If you’re worried about the loss of stiffness due to mass reduction, don’t. Some manufacturers use a heavier six piston caliper, but that's because the caliper wasn't designed or optimized for racing. In those cases, the same caliper may have been designed for use on much heavier road cars, and even trucks! AP Racing’s Pro5000R calipers are incredibly stiff, and designed from scratch with only the racetrack in mind.
Take a look at the caliper above or below. Anything else missing? Outer bleed screws and crossover tubes! The Pro5000R range has internal fluid porting and only two bleed screws located on the inner caliper half. That means that the chance of knocking a bleed screw or denting a crossover pipe during a wheel change virtually disappears. It also means that you now have half as many bleed screws to turn when changing your brake fluid. Eliminating the piping and bleed screws also allows the outer corners to be rounded, improving wheel spoke clearance.
Finally, take a look at the picture below. Compared to a traditional caliper, the pistons and brake fluid pathways have far more airflow between and around them, lowering the overall system operating temperature.
Radi-CAL's such as the one in Figure 2 above have traditionally been machined from a single, solid block of proprietary aluminum alloy (monobloc). With a monobloc design, the piston bores and piston seal grooves can only be machined with a right angle machine tool (the tool must be inserted up and into the caliper). As one can imagine, machining away all of that material with special tools and multiple setups to achieve the final form is both time-consuming and costly. As a result, the price of monobloc Radi-CAL's has historically been prohibitive for the average club racer, time-trialer, or HPDE participant. The Pro5000R has been made possible by a newly developed 2-piece drop-forging process, which allows a conventional machine tool to access the piston bores via a direct path. The result is a drastic reduction in both production time and cost, while still retaining an incredibly stiff form.
The first obvious weakness when looking at a typical aftermarket caliper is the finish. Most aftermarket calipers come in a painted finish, whether they are red, black, or gold. That painted finish is designed to look pretty and prevent corrosion in harsh winter environment. Unfortunately, for all of the compliments painted calipers generate, there is an associated price if you drive the car in a track environment. That price is the chipping, flaking, fading, color shift, and general degradation of that finish in a fairly short period of time. Some OEM calipers can go from the as-delivered color to a nasty shade of brown in as little as one weekend. While this is typically worn as a badge of honor among our more hardcore customers, let’s face it…they still look terrible. More importantly however, all of those bits of paint end up in places they’re not supposed to, which we’ll get to in a minute.
Why does this happen? Heat. Paint and powder coat cannot adequately handle track temperatures. Powder coat also has some notorious issues with shrinkage. The powder coat layer expands and grows when the caliper is heated. When it cools, the powder coat doesn’t necessarily shrink in step with the caliper body itself. What’s left is a loose shell of finish hanging limply on the caliper body. That shell then cracks and falls to pieces.
Paint can also have similar issues depending on how it is applied. If you were to line up a few aftermarket calipers from the same manufacturer, you would likely see that the painted finish on each of those calipers is slightly different. Some have a thicker coat, some thinner, slightly different shades of red, etc. Painting is to some extent an art form, and must be performed in a tightly controlled environment. If it isn’t, you’re always going to see variation. A thick coat makes the part look soft around the edges, and is prone to cracking off in the same manner as the powder coat described above, leaving the underlying finish exposed. A part without enough paint will look uneven, and will not protect the underlying aluminum particularly well either. In addition to problems with cracking, flaking, and uneven application, paint and powder coat also experience extreme color shift when heated. Red becomes maroon or black, gold becomes brown, and black just gets uglier.
The calipers we are using in the Essex Radi-CAL Competition Kits are ultra-lightweight, stiff, and durable under all track conditions. The finish is a hard anodizing, which is the business under track conditions. When raw aluminum reacts with the oxygen in the air, a hard surface film develops on aluminum which prevents further degradation. The process is called oxidation, and you can think of it like rust. The anodizing process leverages this natural phenomenon, and takes it a step further to produce an extremely hard protective layer of aluminum oxide. It does so by running an electrical current through an acid bath, and dying it to the desired color. If you want to know more, Google it.
The result is a finish that is far more appropriate for racetrack use. Anodizing creates a uniform surface that is much more abrasion resistant than paint or powder coat. That means if you ding an anodized caliper with a box wrench when bleeding it, a big chunk of the finish isn’t going to chip off into your hand. While anodized calipers will still exhibit color shift, it will take a lot more heat to get them to change, and they won’t change as dramatically. More importantly though, you aren’t going to have bits of anodizing sticking to the sides of your pistons.
AP Racing CP9660, OEM Supra front caliper, AP Racing CP9668
The basic pad shapes for the Pro5000R calipers were created by AP Racing many years ago, and are used by a wide range of racing calipers today. They're available in just about every popular racing compound on the market. That means you’ll never end up in a pinch without pads.
Below is a drawing of the basic pad shape:
Dimensions= 152.1 x 54 x 18 mm
Pad Retention Loop
The basic pad shape above comes from some manufacturers with a small loop on the top edge (the portion above the red line in the drawing above). On certain calipers a pad retention pin is placed through that loop to hold the pads in place. That small loop is not used in the AP Racing Pro5000R Radi-CAL's however, and must be removed for the pads to fit properly (it can be sawed or ground off in a matter of seconds).
Pad Thickness, CP9660 caliper (18mm) vs. CP9668 caliper (25mm)
For many of the platforms we are servicing, we have both the CP9660 and CP9668 calipers available. The biggest difference between these two calipers is the thickness of the pads that they can accommodate. The CP9660 caliper uses an 18mm thick pad in the above shape, while the CP9668 caliper uses a 25mm thick pad. Which one is right for you? If you're running multi-hour endurance races, or if you want to reduce the frequency of pad changes, the CP9668 is likely your proper choice. If you're running standard 20-40 minute HPDE/Time Trial sessions, or sprint races, the 18mm thick pads will be more than ample. There are two primary tradeoffs when going with the CP9668 caliper: It is about a pound heavier (including the difference in pad weight), and roughly 14mm wider than the CP9660. You will lose that 14mm on wheel spoke clearance vs. the CP9660 kit, so please make sure to check both fitment templates if you're debating on caliper choice.
The available pad compounds that Essex sells for the CP9660 caliper can be found below. Please keep in mind that there are many other compounds available on the market from other manufacturers. The list below represents only what Essex sells. Underneath the manufacturer list below, the pad compounds are listed from most aggressive to least aggressive.
Note on using brake pads different from those listed above
Again, please keep in mind that the above is not an exhaustive list, and that there are many other pad compounds available in this shape from other manufacturers. Please note however, that the pad shape we use in our caliper is available in a variety of radial depths (heights), and that Essex recommends the 54mm radial depth version. Another common radial depth in this pad shape is 51mm. The 51mm depth pads will fit into our caliper, but you will be leaving an unswept 'ring' around the disc near the attachment points to the hat (the pad will not hang as low in the caliper). Leaving a portion of the disc face unswept can create a temperature differential across the face of the disc, and doing so could lead to premature disc cracking.
Pad Cross Reference
Since we do not sell most of the brands listed below, Essex cannot guarantee the fitment of these pads in the AP Racing CP9660 caliper, and they may need to be modified as shown above (loop removed). Based on our research however, we believe that these are the appropriate cross references for the basic shape. However, you should verify with either the manufacturer or your installer prior to purchasing any of them for use in the Pro5000R calipers.
(DP2006, DP3006C, DP4006)
There are people who will tell you that aluminum pistons are great for track calipers. They will tell you that the expansion rates of the pistons and caliper body need to be the same when heated. This argument is completely invalid and unproven. Those same people tend to get upset when you point out the fact that every serious race caliper, from every serious race caliper manufacturer on the planet uses either stainless steel or titanium pistons, period. There is a reason for this: they're better!
Stainless steel pistons are far superior to aluminum pistons in creating a thermal barrier. They are much better at keeping heat out of your brake fluid and preventing a soft pedal from fluid fade on the track. This has been proven over and over again at all levels of motorsport. While most aftermarket calipers use a pressed aluminum piston, the Pro5000R's use an expensive machined stainless steel piston.
To add stiffness to the pistons, AP designed the back of the piston with a domed back. At first glance this seems like a trivial design element. It is not. When domed back pistons were introduced in professional racing, driver feedback was immediate and resoundingly positive. The domed back adds considerable stiffness that can be felt through the pedal, and they have now become the standard vs. which all designs are judged.
For even greater heat resistance, there is ventilation on each piston. The air gaps around the piston edge allow for even more cooling air circulation around the pistons. All of these features slow and repel the influx of heat into the brake fluid, preventing brake fluid boiling and fade
Not only are the pistons stainless steel, they are also fitted with anti-knockback springs. Springs in pistons you ask? Yes, springs. If you’ve ever gone through a series of S turns and then had your pedal drop when going into the following brake zone, you have experienced knockback. To say it is disconcerting is an understatement. You’ll often see pro drivers ‘pre-tap’ their brakes lightly when approaching a brake zone. They are fighting knockback.
Knockback is a phenomenon that is common with fixed calipers. Knockback occurs when your car’s wheel, hub, and bearings deflect during cornering, allowing your brake disc to move out of sync with your caliper and brake pads. The amount of knockback varies by vehicle, and depends on the amount of deflection seen in the parts listed above. As the brake disc deflects, it actually pushes the pads away from each other, forcing the caliper pistons back into their bores. The piston seals don’t have enough tension in them to completely return the pistons to their original location. That means there is slack in the system that needs to be taken up. When you press the brake pedal, it will continue to drop until that slack is taken up.
Anti-knockback springs help alleviate this situation by putting some tension on the back side of the pistons. When the disc deflects and makes contact with the pistons, the springs push the pistons back into their proper location, reducing slack in the system. That means less pedal drop and far fewer pucker-factor moments when going into heavy brake zones.
There are no major downsides to lightweight AKB spring as long as the caliper is designed to accommodate them. More specifically, AKB springs do not create any increased drag or wear on the pads and discs as long as the shape and material of the piston seals takes them into account.
As you're driving the suspension is constantly compressing, the disc is moving around laterally, and the pads are being pushed slightly away from the disc. Think of the seals in the caliper as a spring or hinge attached to the side of the piston, rather than just a ring through which the piston slides. In an AP Racing competition caliper, the groove in which the seal resides isn't a square cut groove.It has angles. When the pistons slide in or out there is friction between the outer piston wall and the seal, and the seal distorts a bit as shown in the illustration below.
A caliper piston sliding out to the left would distort the seal in this manner (the slashes are the seals on either side of the piston):
As the piston slides back in to the right, the seal does this:
There is a certain amount of tension or friction that needs to be overcome before the piston actually starts moving through the seal ring. That tension/friction keeps the piston from dragging on the disc once the pistons are pushed back into the bores by the disc/suspension movement.
When AKB springs are added, a little more force is required to push the pistons back into their bores than would be required without them. After the spring is compressed, it unloads and pushes the piston back to 'neutral.'
With the proper seal and spring the goal is to keep the piston in the 'neutral' position, not pressed against the disc. The piston is still able to slide freely in either direction, but a bit of friction or tension needs to be overcome initially to get it moving in either direction. The seal offers that first bit of friction to limit movement, and then the spring provides additional resistance. The end result is that the properly designed AP Racing calipers won't drag or create additional or unnecessary wear.
We are often asked by potential customers if the calipers in our kits require frequent maintenance and rebuilding because the pistons don't have dust boots. We are perpetually shocked by this question because it makes no intuitive sense. If you have a product that is specifically designed to handle the extraordinary high-heat conditions of track use, why would it require more maintenance when used under those conditions vs. brake components that were designed to cruise around on the streets at low speed and temperature?
Many people confuse piston seals with dust boots. All calipers have seals. They're the little rubbery rings inside the piston bores (see pic below). If a caliper didn't have a seal, your brake fluid would leak out around the pistons! OEM caliper seals aren’t designed to handle constant trips to several hundred degrees without becoming brittle and leaking. Our calipers use special high-temp seals designed for track use. They are the exact same high temperature seals used in NASCAR Sprint Cup, ALMS, DTM, etc. That means they are less likely to get brittle and wear out when used under high-heat track conditions, and they require far LESS frequent replacement and servicing.
Most aftermarket calipers are designed for year round road use, and as such come with a bellows style external dust boot like the ones shown below. The rubber boot stretches as the piston extends, and its objective is to keep contaminants out of the piston bore. It's a nice concept, but we've seen customers burn those up in a single 20 minute track session! Once that happens, you're simply driving around with some tattered, burnt rubber bits attached to your pistons. At that point they're providing zero benefits to you. If you're going to instantly destroy them when you go to the track, why worry about having them in the first place? We skip making that mess for you by eliminating them from our design.
AP Racing High-Temp Piston Seal
OEM Dust Boot Before Track Use
OEM Dust Boot After Track Use
After the countless times you’ve changed your brake pads, you’re probably never too excited when it comes time to do so. Changing pads will no longer be a chore with the Pro5000R's. No more fiddling with a hammer, punch, or pliers. AP’s bridge bolts pop out easily with a 6mm hex wrench. It will take you longer to pull off the wheel than it will to change pads. Less time futzing around in the paddock, and more time driving= fun.
The OEM Supra calipers require a hammer and punch to remove pads
The piston sizes in our systems are specifically chosen to closely mimic the OEM brake torque on a given axle. As such, our front systems can be bolted to otherwise stock cars with no ill-effects, negative impact on ABS, etc. The vehicles stock master cylinder can remain, as can the OEM rear brake system.
Essex is AP Racing's official North American caliper reconditioning center. We have skilled service technicians rebuilding hundreds of AP Racing calipers each year for the top teams in NASCAR Sprint Cup, ALMS, etc. As an Essex customer, our rebuild service will always be available to you when your calipers need servicing. You simply remove your calipers from the car, drain/clean them, and ship them back to Essex. We take it from there:
Hardness testing: After disassembly your calipers will be Rockwell hardness tested against the standard for that particular caliper type as sold new. This test provides a relative understanding of how much fatigue and stiffness loss your calipers have experienced. Tired calipers lead to pad tapering, increased pad wear, leaky seals, and a loss of pedal firmness, all things you want to avoid. Essex will make a replace or rebuild recommendation based on the results of this test.
Ultrasonic cleaning: After passing the hardness test, your calipers will be placed in an ultrasonic cleaner to remove all dirt, debris, brake fluid, etc. This method produces results that are far superior to what the average racer could accomplish via hand-cleaning.
Inspection and re-assembly: All serviceable parts of the caliper will be inspected and replaced if necessary, including the seals, abutment plates, pistons, and bleed screws.
Cyclical Pressure Testing: After your calipers have been rebuilt, they will be cycled at high and low pressure on a pressure bench to ensure proper functioning. This is important, as certain leaks only show up under specific pressure conditions.
Price: The labor price to rebuild a Pro5000R is roughly $80 per caliper. That does not include parts. Assuming there has been no damage to the caliper, Essex typically recommends replacing the seals ($60) and bleed screws ($15) during the standard reconditioning process. For roughly $160, you can have a fresh, professionally serviced caliper in peak operating condition. You won't get messy, and you'll know the rebuild was done by the same folks trusted by elite-level race teams.
The AP Racing J Hook discs in our system are the epitome of endurance racing components. They will hold up extremely well to any abuse you plan to throw at them. These discs have been proven time and again in professional racing, winning many races and even championships (ALMS, Rolex, Grand Am, etc.)
As is the case with most metal, iron brake discs grow substantially when heated. As it is heated, a disc expands radially, increasing in diameter and circumference. One-piece disc designs run into problems when this occurs. Look at the picture below and imagine the disc is being heated on the track. As the disc expands, the outer edges of the disc are pulling away from the center of the disc, but there are no built-in provisions to allow for that expansion. The edges of the disc therefore pull, lift, and distort, which is called coning. Now imagine that disc vertical on the car, running in your caliper. Coning directly impacts the brake pads’ contact with the disc, leading to uneven wear and tapering, and even a long brake pedal.
Two-piece discs on the other hand, compensate for the expansion of the disc as it heats. This is accomplished by building ‘float’ into either the disc itself, or the disc hat/bell. In this case, the float is in the disc. If you look closely at the picture below, you can see that the mounting holes for the hat attachment bobbins are not round. They are an oblong shape. These channels allow the hat mounting hardware to slide as the disc is heated and expands, allowing the disc to run true in the caliper without distortion. That means less distortion, stress cracks, and pad taper.
While the OEM Supra discs are a two-piece design with an aluminum hat, the hat is fixed in place and they have no ability to float. They're also extremely heavy for their size, and eight pounds heavier than the AP Racing J Hook 372mm discs!
If you look closely at the mounting hardware we use in our Competition Kits, you’ll notice a few details that are often overlooked in lesser products. These components are specially made for their intended purpose. These are not cheap bolts found at your local big box store. They are custom made in the USA for Essex and AP Racing, and they are the exact same components we use on professional racing products.
As discussed above with regards to the piston springs, knockback can be a serious issue when tracking a car. In order to help control the lateral motion of the disc, which pushes the pistons back into the caliper, we use an anti-knockback spring clip on every other disc attachment point (on a ten bolt disc there are five spring clips, while on a twelve bolt disc there are six). These spring clips help keep the disc hat and iron ring in alignment, while still allowing the disc to expand and float radially. As an added bonus, they prevent the hat and iron disc from rattling and making noise.
Floating two-piece discs also have the added benefit of reducing heat conduction to the hubs and bearings, decreasing wear and tear on these costly components. The disc hats themselves are manufactured from 6061 heat-treated billet aluminum, with a hard anodized coating. This material was specifically chosen for its strength at high temperatures, as it will be in direct contact with the searing hot iron discs. The hats feature scallops on the underside, to allow for heat evacuation along the outer disc face once installed.
The internal vane design on AP J Hook discs is quite a bit different vs. OEM-style discs and other brands of aftermarket discs. Many OEM discs feature a pillar vane design, which can be thought of as a group of posts or pillars connecting the two disc halves together (see pic below). The pillars are not organized linearly from the outside to the inside of the disc, and turbulence is created as air flows through and among them. Pillar vane discs are therefore not particularly well suited to heat evacuation. The goals of a pillar vane design are disc face stability for low NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness), and a low cost of production. Pillar vanes are non-directional, and the same part number is used on both sides of the car (again for cost reduction). Other OEM discs feature a straight, non-directional internal vane. While that type of vane flows more air than a pillar, it does not move nearly as much air as the directional vanes featured in AP Racing's discs. Having directional vanes means that AP Racing discs are handed. There is a unique left disc and a right disc in each pair, and they cannot be swapped from side-to-side on the car. The orientation of the vanes is optimized to spin in a certain direction, pumping the maximum amount of air possible through the disc. The shape of these internal vanes is also optimized to promote smooth airflow.
In addition to having a superior internal vane design, AP Racing discs have far more of them! Most aftermarket discs have 30 to 48 vanes. After extensive CFD and thermal stress analysis, AP designed the J Hook's with a high vane count (typically 60 to 84 depending on application). Having more vanes increases airspeed and heat transfer through the disc, reduces air re-circulation between vanes, and reduces deflection at the disc face. Compared to an OEM-style disc or competitor's 48 vane discs, the 60+ vane discs are less prone to coning, distortion, and cracking, while providing less brake fade, reduced judder, more even pad contact, and a longer service life.
Below is our AP Racing two-piece J Hook disc on top of the OEM Supra disc. A few things to note in these pictures: The AP Racing disc has a much wider air gap between the disc faces, allowing considerably more airflow into and through the disc. The uniform, directional vane design also contributes heavily to superior airflow. With 84 internal vanes, our J Hook Disc has approximately twice as many as the OEM unit, which has 48.
When you cut a slot or drill a hole in a disc you impact heat transfer. The area around the slot or hole acts as a cool spot when the disc heats up, which is not ideal. Ideally, heat is distributed uniformly around the disc so it can be hit with the cooling air that is pumping through the disc, radiate outwards away from the disc, etc. Cool spots create stress risers and increase the likelihood of the disc cracking. They also cause the face of the disc to distort unevenly, leading to uneven pad deposits, vibration, and judder.
The OEM discs avoid this problem by simply leaving the face blank. While the risk for NVH goes down, so does the pad bite and feel of the disc through the brake pedal. Competitive aftermarket offerings typically have straight slots, which tend to leave cool spots across the disc face between the slots.
During exhaustive R&D testing, AP's J Hook design was found to create a constant pathway of evenly distorted material on the face of the disc. The hooks are spaced out as evenly as possible both around the circumference of the disc, as well as from the inside edge (where the hat attaches) to outer edge, with a slight overlap to promote even heat distribution/distortion. In addition to reducing cracking, the even heating of the disc also helps provide an even transfer layer of pad material on the disc when you bed them in.
Additionally, the J Hook slot pattern produces a greater number of leading edges for the pads to bite into vs. a traditional curved slot pattern, and particularly a plain-faced disc. While this may lead to slightly more whirring or scraping noises from the discs when applying the brakes, the benefits of more even heat distribution, less propensity to crack, cleaner pad material transfer during bed-in, and more bite far outweigh the slight increase in NVH for the serious enthusiast.
AP Racing has been designing brake components for more than 50 years. They've had their components on cars that have won more than 750 Formula 1 races! On any given race weekend, AP J Hook discs can be found on 75% or more of the NASCAR Sprint Cup grid. AP has learned from these experiences, and have developed a proprietary iron alloy with extreme durability, designed specifically for what you intend to do with it (flog the hell out of it). The primary objectives with OEM discs are simple: they must be cheap and easy to produce. The design objectives for these two products are vastly different.
If your brake discs aren’t being properly prepared for abuse prior to flogging them on track, you’re exposing yourself to potential judder, vibration, and cracking issues. We all know that prepping your pads and discs at the track can be difficult. Doing so wastes time during the first session of the day, and it's a hassle and potentially dangerous for other drivers as you go through the procedure. Track time is expensive and tough to come by. The more time you spend behind the wheel performing an elaborate bed-in procedure, the less time you’ll spend doing hot laps. Performing the procedure on-track also limits its repeatability. You can't control what's going on around you with track conditions, other drivers, etc., and many track configurations don't really lend themselves to the constant start/stop/start required to do the job properly.
Essex is now offering a solution via our professional burnishing service. Previously reserved for our professional racing customers, we are now offering our retail customers the option of having the discs in select Competition Brake Kits pre-burnished at our factory. We burnish thousands of discs for the top racing teams each year. After countless hours of experimentation, and extensive feedback from the top drivers and teams, we can consistently squeeze the most reliable performance out of AP Racing's discs. The procedure is incredibly repeatable, as it is performed on a computer-controlled machine by experienced technicians. The cost of our burnishing service is $50 per disc ($100 per brake kit).
Please note that the pads you receive will not be pre-burnished. In other words, the pads and discs do not have to be a matched set burnished together to reap the benefits the procedure has on the discs. In other words, we will burnish the discs in the pad compound you choose, they just won't be burnished with the exact set of pads that will arrive with your kit.
Let's face it, no matter how good a brake disc is, it's still a consumable item. They're no different than brake pads or gasoline. You beat them up until they crack to pieces, then you throw them away. If replacement iron is too expensive, you're always driving in fear, waiting to shell out big bucks for a new set. Despite having the most expansive set of features on the market, spare AP Racing J Hook's are completely affordable.
Going to the track is expensive! Event entrance fees, hotels, fuel, and tires all add up. While you obviously want the best product available, you can't afford to pay a small fortune for something you're just going to destroy. You can buy a cheap set of discs for every event, have relentless heat issues, and find yourself constantly swapping them out. When you do the math, the long-term value of the AP J Hook's is tough to beat. You'll enjoy all the benefits without breaking the bank, and you'll spend more time driving and less time wrenching.
Elite level teams choose AP Racing discs because they know the work has been done to provide the best available product at any price level. The AP J Hook is a direct derivative of AP's vast racing experience. You can buy with confidence knowing that you're getting the best product available at any price point. A note of caution however: the J Hook design is often imitated, and there are a number of lesser quality imitations on market. Before purchasing, make sure you are getting an authentic AP Racing J Hook.
Caliper brackets for our kit are machined from heat-treated 6061 T6 billet aluminum, and hard anodized, ensuring strength and durability. All included hardware is of aircraft quality, and identical to what we use in professional racing. One of the nice features of our brackets is their cutaway design, which allows for the snug fitment of many currently available brake duct kits.
Essex recommends running our system (or any system) with a quality brake duct system. Please note, DO NOT BOLT ANYTHING BETWEEN THE CALIPER BRACKET AND THE SUSPENSION UPRIGHT! Any ears or tabs from a brake duct system bolted between the bracket and the upright will misalign the caliper from its intended orientation, causing potentially serious damage to the entire brake system or car. The bracket should be directly bolted to the upright as intended, with nothing sandwiched between the two.
Our Competition Kits include a set of the highest quality stainless steel brake lines available. Spiegler lines have a wide range of features not available in competitive offerings. Below are just a few. For complete details please visit the Spiegler page on our site.
All components manufactured in USA and Europe
Stringent and consistent quality control
Stress-free Torsion Fitting System
Allows 360 degree rotation of banjo fitting for correct alignment and strain reduction
Abrasion resistant coating/sheath
Eliminates snagging and chafing
Aircraft quality stainless steel fittings and bolts
Superior strength, longevity, and safety
Heavy gauge, tightly woven stainless steel braid
Eliminates line swell, more consistent feel
Du Pont PTFE- Teflon® lining
Reduces line expansion and provides greater durability
Quality assurance, road legal
Wide range of colors
Allows for personalization
Standard and custom designs shipped in 48 hours
No more waiting around for lines to show up
Full testing battery on all parts, with lifetime warranty
Purchase and drive with confidence
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