Are endurance race pads really the best choice for a daily driver?

Tom
Update by Tom Suddard to the Volkswagen Golf GTI project car
Dec 28, 2023 | Volkswagen, VW, brakes, GTI, brake pads, VW GTI, Mk7 GTI, Pagid RSL 29, Pagid

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In our last brake update, we fitted a set of 3D-printed brake cooling deflectors. Our goal? To keep our very street-friendly pads–Pagid’s new STREET+ line–working even after back-to-back hot laps.

We wanted to stay true to this project’s mission: A truly daily drivable car that can also dominate a track day with zero changes.

Those Pagid brake pads were a compromise, trading perfect performance on track for exceptional street manners. But we finally discovered their downside: wear.

Yeah, after three track days totaling about two hours of track time, we’d completely used up the front pads, returning to the FIRM’s paddock with one corner metal-on-metal.

Sadly, accelerated wear like this is just a fact of life with dual-duty pads. For occasional track sessions they’re a great choice, but for us it’s far more economical to switch between street pads and race pads before each event. 

And speaking of next event, our GTI’s next outing would be the Tire Rack One Lap of America presented by Grassroots Motorsports, a week-long slog with daily track time and punishing transits.

[One Lap of America: How competitive can a daily driver actually be?]

Rather than risk burning through another set of dual-purpose pads, we instead decided to fit the nuclear option for One Lap, Pagid’s RSL 29, which the company labels an endurance pad but also says is “very popular for track days.”

We’ve used them in the past and loved them, so we ordered a set for the front of the car. At about $400, these pads are priced like real race pads, but we figured spending twice as much on pads that would last far longer was a worthy gamble.

What about out back? We decided to leave the STREET+ pads in place, as they were hardly worn and we didn’t anticipate a different compound up front causing any balance issues.

Our first test day showed this gamble paid off as well: Both us and two co-drivers noted the GTI’s “fantastic” brakes, and the fact that the car could seemingly go forever without hurting them. So we left the race pads on for a full season.

And even after completing One Lap, thousands of street miles and four more track days, the GTI’s pads still aren’t halfway worn.

Are they dusty? Yes.

And are they noisy? Also yes.

But they’re also fantastic on track and seem like they’ll last forever, proving this gamble paid off.

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Comments
triumph7
triumph7 HalfDork
9/19/23 12:37 p.m.

But, are they really good for the street?  Traditional wisdom say that any race pad won't "turn on" at typical street temperatures.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
9/19/23 12:43 p.m.

In reply to triumph7 :

Nope, on the street they're fairly noisy and dusty. But they stop the car, even if it takes a bit more pedal pressure. 

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/19/23 2:13 p.m.

How hard have these been on the rotors? How are they in the coldest temps you see in Florida? Any trouble bedding in with the scoops in place?

I've been considering trying more expensive pads that might last longer and eat rotors less than the Powerstop PSAs I've been using, but for me they need to work decently in near-freezing temperatures.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
9/19/23 2:21 p.m.

In reply to GameboyRMH :

I ran Porterfield R4 last year all year with a lot of track time and even more street time as it was my daily. They dust, a lot, and they squeak, a lot. And yes the rotors by October looked like records but were still serviceable. Around 10k street miles and 15 track days. Went G-Loc R12's and reused last years rear R4 with fresh rotors. Less track time since I screwed my body up on One Lap, but still a bit of street time and pretty much the same thing.

As for working on the street, they do. Well. I have to be aware of who is behind me and how close because after a couple stops in evening traffic they get all nice and grabby and want to stop RIGHT NOW! A lot of people are not expecting cars to stop like that. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 PowerDork
9/19/23 2:51 p.m.

My solution has always been as follows:

Put on bigger brakes from another model (read overkill) and just use quality street pads.

If that's not possible then performance / track / race pads that will last a long time.

I don't care about noise or dust.

 

QuikMcshifterson
QuikMcshifterson New Reader
9/19/23 3:34 p.m.

+1 on the Porterfield pads, big fan. On my SM they have good feel, good stopping power and last quite a bit.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
9/19/23 3:42 p.m.
GameboyRMH said:

How hard have these been on the rotors? How are they in the coldest temps you see in Florida? Any trouble bedding in with the scoops in place?

I've been considering trying more expensive pads that might last longer and eat rotors less than the Powerstop PSAs I've been using, but for me they need to work decently in near-freezing temperatures.

I haven't measured so take my comments on rotor wear with a grain of salt, but wear seems accelerated but not catastrophic. I think I'll get two sets of pads out of these rotors, in addition to the abuse they took with the STREET+ pads. 

They work fine in the coldest temperatures I've seen so far. It stops fine.

Berck
Berck Reader
9/19/23 3:50 p.m.

I've had great experience running Carbotech/G-Loc pads on the street.  Yes, they work better with more temperature than you get on the street, but stone-cold XP8s still bite harder than any street pad I've used.  They're not even that hard on the rotors.

I'm running them on both a track Miata that I drive on the street and on an E30 rally car.

I'm tempted to switch back to them for my street Miata because I hate every single street pad I've put on the car since the Axxis Metal Masters went away.  But that's because right now I'm dealing with pads that don't bite.  I'm sure if I switch back to G-Locs, the dust/noise will drive me batty.

The downsides are they are dusty and they are noisy, and while others have reported no problems, the dust has ruined the finish on wheels for me.

I'm -1 on the Porterfield pads on the Miata.  I think they require way too much pedal effort--some find that feel easier to modulate, I find the opposite.  I do run R4S shoes on my Formula Vee and they're fine for that application.

 

Tom1200
Tom1200 PowerDork
9/19/23 4:01 p.m.

In reply to Berck :

I'm running Porterfield shoes on the back of the Datsun and have been very happy with them. 

 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
9/19/23 4:55 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

My solution has always been as follows:

Put on bigger brakes from another model (read overkill) and just use quality street pads.

If that's not possible then performance / track / race pads that will last a long time.

I don't care about noise or dust.

 

I run a car that came with big brakes to start with and effective brakes in the rear with enough rear weight to be helpful. First full season I ran Porterfield R4S street pads. I had fade one time at Road America following an over-braking car in front of me. Once I got past and could do single brake usage per corner they were fine. 

With that said..... the switch to actual race pads was eye opening. The bite, the grip, the feel were all way better. The G-Locs are more bitey than I want, and the R4 was a little soft on initial bite so somewhere in the middle would be my Goldilocks.

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