In the world of performance, it is easy to get wrapped up in the mods that generate horsepower and lower track times. While the goal of going faster is obvious, there does come a time when you need to stop. It might not be as sexy, but slowing down is pretty important when you are blasting down the track at triple-digit speeds or a tractor trailer cuts in front of you on the highway.
The folks at Hawk Performance are stand-up guys who, just like us at Steeda, are hardcore enthusiasts. It was only a natural fit for our teams to collaborate on this project. — Chris Cervenka, Steeda
In order to offer and develop the right products for its customers, the crew at Steeda prides itself on testing the hardware on the street and the racetrack.
“Steeda has been around for over three decades and has built a brand on taking the Mustang (and other Fords) to the next level. Here at Steeda, the racetrack — both drag and road course — is a second home to many of us!” Chris Cervenka, E-Commerce Marketing Director at Steeda, added. “We thrive on taking the already stout performer that rolls off the dealer floor and turning the volume knob to 11, while keeping NVH at bay. And even sometimes, what may make sense on paper just doesn’t equate on track. In order to continue evolving and offering top-notch Mustang parts, we need to keep testing and winning at the race track — which we intend to continue doing!”
Recently Steeda set out to perform some brake pad testing that resulted in partnering with a long-established brake pad manufacturer.
“We simply reached out about our intentions for this test, and they were happy to lend a hand and even participate!” Cervenka said. “The folks at Hawk Performance are stand-up guys who, just like us at Steeda, are hardcore enthusiasts. It was only a natural fit for our teams to collaborate on this project.”
While Steeda regularly fields competitive race cars, its customers have a wide variety of needs, so the goal of the testing was evaluating several pad compounds in order to provide better recommendations.
“Our goal is to educate. We get so many customer service inquiries on which brake pad is the best for their application. This goes for both street and track brake pads,” Cervenka explained. “We set out to debunk the myths and misconceptions about many brake pads out there and provide hard data for these enthusiasts to make the best choice on which brake pad was for them — whether for a stock replacement or an all-out track pad.”
To that end, the two companies headed to Florida International Rally & Motorsports Park in Starke, Florida, to put a selection of Hawk pads through their paces on a 2015 Steeda Q350 Mustang. This EcoBoost-powered pony features a few power upgrades like a cold air intake and tuning, along with a full complement of Steeda chassis and suspension upgrades. Riding on a set of grippy Nitto tires, it provided a fast, reliable test bed from which the Steeda team could learn more about the brake pads.
“On the street test, the differences between HPS-5.0 and Performance Ceramic showed. I previously ran the HPS-5.0 pad on my 2015 GT a few years back. No doubt it was an upgrade over stock, but I chose this pad without doing much research,” Cervenka reflected. “From what I read at the time, it seemed like the go-to street performance upgrade pad. Little did I know what I was missing out on with the Performance Ceramic pads. Nearly all the benefits you get in terms of comfort with the HPS-5.0 pad, but with much better initial bite and overall stopping power — an 11-foot decrease in stopping distance!”
While the street is where most Mustang owners play, the racetrack provided an opportunity to learn even more about the braking system upgrades on an S550.
“For the track test, I was personally unaware that at this level of competition, racers would stagger their brake pads. For example, the Hawk Performance guys explained to me that we shouldn’t run a DTC-70 on the rear of our Mustang because it was too much pad,” Cervenka elaborated, “to the point they were afraid it would overcome the ABS due to their aggressive nature and lock up the rear wheels. This is why we staggered the pad selection in testing to run a DTC-60 in the rear when testing the DTC-70 up front. Same goes for the DTC-60 in the front, and DTC-30 in the rear, which kept the car much more balanced during track braking.”
This outing certainly provided some interesting revelations. For the complete details on Steeda’s brake testing, check out the full rundown on the company’s website right here.