The stopping performance of the standard braking system on a Mustang GT can be questionable at best. In a Mustang that’s been modified to go fast, like our 2013 Mustang GT, Project Silver Bullet, scrubbing off the momentum created by the supercharged Coyote engine can be downright frightening. That’s why we turned to LateModelRestoration.com for a brake upgrade.
LateModelRestoration.com offers a variety of brake upgrade kits for the S197 Mustangs. A decade ago, the best Mustang brakes available were the dual piston 13-inch Cobra setup, or if you could swing it, the bigger 14-inch 4-piston Cobra R package. Mustangs today are heavier, and make even more power than even the halo cars of that era, requiring better, and more advanced brake systems. LateModelRestoration.com has the needs of most Mustang enthusiasts covered with a variety of OE style and aftermarket brake system options. Most of these systems can be installed in a couple of hours by just about anyone, using only basic hand tools.
For Project Silver Bullet we chose to go with the GT500 15-inch package from LateModelRestoration.com, part number LRS-2120AK . LateModelRestoration.com’s Jeff Jimenez tells this is a wise choice for many enthusiasts because, “The 2013 GT500 front brake kit features Ford original brake components. This provides customers with OEM level fitment with great braking performance.”
The massive 15-inch rotors, and six-piston Brembo calipers give more stopping power and less brake fade. -Jeff Jimenez
The stock Mustang GT brakes use a meager 12.4-inch front rotor, barely adequate for daily use, let alone on a modified car. The stock 12.4-inch rotor has a total circumference of 38.94-inches, while the GT500 15-inch unit has a massive circumference of 47.1-inches; that’s a big jump in surface area for the brakes to be applied every revolution.
Having a greater surface allows heat to dissipate faster and more evenly than on a smaller brake system. This reduction in heat means less brake fade under hard driving conditions, which in turn gives more consistent braking performance. They also feature a Brembo engineered cooling vane design. “The massive 15-inch rotors and six piston Brembo calipers give more stopping power and less brake fade,” says Jimenez
Going To Bed
The anti-corrosion zinc coating needs to be removed from the rotors by completing several low speed parking lot stops before doing any street driving.
To help break in the pads and rotors, Brembo recommends performing 30 stops at lower speeds, with a half-mile cool down driving between each stop to bed in the rotors. Bedding should be followed by a long driving cool down period where the brakes are used very little if at all.
The calipers are a two piece design, featuring six stainless steel pistons. The greater number of pistons utilized in these calipers provides increased clamping loads from the brake caliper.
The calipers also feature pistons on both sides of the rotor. This allows the brake pads to be applied evenly to the rotor, while increasing the braking forces and giving more stability to the caliper. Stability comes from the caliper design, which does not utilize a sliding pin system. These type of system have a reputation for flexing under extreme braking conditions.
The staggered piston sizes help contribute to even pad wear by spreading the load across the surface of the pad. The stainless steel piston construction does not conduct heat as well as other metals, transferring less heat into the brake fluid.
These features add up to shorter stopping distances and brakes that should respond consistently – whether driving on the daily commute, mashing the brakes after a quarter mile pass, or during an autocross or road race event.
Our brake kit also included a set of OEM hoses needed to connect the GT500 calipers to the hard-lines, as well as a set of Ford brake pads. The aluminum calipers are finished in black and contrast well with the Transparent Smoke finish on our Forgeline wheels. The black finish also won’t make the brake dust too obvious after we’ve put them through the paces. Other features include a drop-in pad design for quick and easy pad changes, as well as floating anti-rattle hardware.
The beauty of a factory style replacement system like this one is that it was designed by Brembo in conjunction with Ford engineers, and is already optional equipment at the OEM level. What this means for end users is that this brake system is fully compatible with the car’s original ABS system, spindles, and the rest of the brake system hydraulics. With this OEM design there are no warning lights, no odd ABS activation, and no funky pedal feel.
This brake kit is something that can be easily installed in any Mustang enthusiast’s driveway with a few simple hand tools, a jack and a jack-stand. -Jeff Jimenez
For those familiar with replacing brakes this job will probably take an hour and a half to two hours. The process is a fairly straight forward nuts and bolts-type job that anyone competent with hand tools should be able to perform. “This brake kit is something that can be easily installed in any Mustang enthusiast’s driveway with a few simple hand tools, a jack and a jack-stand,” Jimenez says.
Since only the front portion of the braking system is opened, only the front brakes need to be bled. Wheel compatibility does come into play with this system; unless you ordered the optional 19-inch wheels on your GT you’ll need a different wheel to clear these brakes. Jimenez informed us that LateModelRestoration.com has tested a variety of their wheel offerings for fitment and can advise customers ordering these brakes what wheels they carry that offer proper clearance.
How Does It Stop?
We took Project Silver Bullet out for a few test stops prior to performing our installation, what we found was that the car stopped at a best distance of 120.8 feet. This is probably slightly better than stock since our Forgeline wheels and Mickey Thompson tires offer better grip and a larger footprint for stopping than the original equipment wheels and tires.
With our GT500 front brakes from LateModelRestoration.com installed we were able to pull the reins in on the car in 111 feet. That’s nothing to sneeze at, in fact it puts the performance of Silver Bullet’s brake system in the same range as many more expensive cars with much larger tires. While we reduced our total stopping distance by 9.8 feet, we also noted that the brakes feel much more consistent after each braking stop and fade less once they are hot.