Get Lighter & Stop Faster: Upgrading the S550 Mustang GT's Brakes with Steeda & Hawk
With so many different factory performance variants available for the modern Mustang, enthusiasts have never had it better when it comes to accessing high level performance with OEM reliability, yet even within the capable components available in these factory performance packages there is still room for significant improvement.
During the recent “build” of my 2016 Mustang GT, I talked with the modification experts at Steeda Autosports and told them that in addition to the daily grind I enjoy taking my Mustang to the track for the occasional autocross event or HPDE.
My car is equipped with the factory GT Performance Package which includes six-piston Brembo front brakes up front, and while the factory Brembo setup has received positive feedback from serious Mustang track enthusiasts, Steeda recommended a couple of upgrades to my braking system.
Steeda's Two-Piece Rotor Upgrade
The proven six-piston Brembos would stay on the car, but I’d be complimenting them with Steeda’s two-piece brake rotors in both the front and the rear. Designed specifically for Mustang GTs with the Performance Package, Steeda’s two-piece rotor upgrade doesn’t just improve braking performance but it saves a significant amount of weight as well.
The new rotors feature a full floating design between the hat and friction disc that eliminates stress on the rotor and significantly reduces heat under hard usage. They bring out a whole new level of performance from the factory Brembo calipers, with better pedal feel, improved stopping distances and none of the brake fade that you typically get during hot-lapping. They also look pretty cool behind the wheels as well.
Best of all, the high tech two-piece design also brings a significant savings in vital unsprung weight, with an approximate 15 pound reduction up front and a four-pound reduction in the rear. The same sort of of benefit you’d get from an ultra expensive set of lightweight wheels.
High Performance Brake Pads
Finally we paired the new rotors with a set of Hawk HPS Street 5.0 brake pads which deliver improved stopping power and more aggressive, more consistent performance under hard braking when compared to the stock pads.
Seeing as we were already working on the rest of my S550’s Mustang’s suspension, swapping out the rotors and pads was a simple job in comparison, but even if you were only changing out the rotors is something anyone should be able to do in their garage.
Testing the New Rotors and Pads
As with the rest of the new parts I’ve installed on my car, I had the chance to use the new brake setup on track at the Buttonwillow go kart course, and while speeds aren’t high and the laps are short, I still had to very quickly slow the car down on the track’s back straight and the brake feel and overall stopping power was fantastic.
I’ll have to get the car onto to the big road course to really feel the improvement, but even on spirited drives in the local mountains the improved braking performance and weight savings are quite noticeable.
Brakes are something that an enthusiast should never overlook, and this upgrade not only brought out the most of my car’s factory Brembo brakes, they perfectly fit in to the balanced and effective modifying strategy I’ve used on this car.
Stay tuned because next time I’m going to show you how we squeezed out more horsepower from my Mustang GT and greatly improve its exhaust soundtrack.