Stopping The Model S Plaid, with nearly 5000lbs and 1000hp is intense. We race routinely utilizing our uprated brakes and we torture them to find the limits. Here are some practical tips
- All of our big brake kits have high temp vinyl decals that will turn from white to gray to black based on caliper temps (replacement stickers are free). Attached you can see our race car’s white sticker turned black as it hit about 500 degrees F. If the stickers are turning gray or black consider more aggressive brake ducting or adjustment of driving style to manage heat. In this case, shown we ran our race car on zero regen flat out for a long session to try to find the limits of the brakes. We don’t suggest racing on zero regeneration on a plaid!
- Our race brake pads and carbon brake rotors can support insane temps well beyond 1500 F. Generally speaking our pads and rotors can perform reliably at higher temps than most brake fluids can handle.
- Brake fluid is a general weak point. A professional flush with Motul 660 is always our recommendation because when brake fluid boils air enters the system and loss of pedal are possible. Motul 660’s 617 F dry boiling point plus ducting and active monitoring of temps is our suggestion for track cars.
- Caliper temperatures often correlate more closely to brake fluid temperatures and should be monitored closely. Our logos do it naturally because if they’re still white odds are the brake fluid hasn’t seen extreme temps. Adding a temp sticker like shown gives further insight into peak temps. At extreme temps where these stickers burn, a caliper rebuild may be needed.
- Ducting – for any race car ducting is essential. Correctly routed airflow keeps temps down and increases the longevity of the brake fluid in particular which is commonly the weakest link in an upgraded system.
- Brake lines – When the Model S Plaid comes out of the factory, the vehicle is delivered with rubber brake lines. While rubber is a great option from both the carmaker’s and owner’s perspective, it is durable, resilient, long-lasting, and most importantly, low cost. However, there are some compromises that come with rubber brake lines, including the ability for the rubber lines to expand and contract under hard braking. This expansion leads to a spongy brake pedal feel, which is actually a loss in the braking capability and response that can be felt. In turn, adding stainless steel sport brake lines helps with this issue greatly.
Track symptom diagnosis
Fade: Depending on the brakes used, brake fade will feel like reduced friction on braking. This is a symptom usually of brake pads exceeding limits.
Loss of pedal: when there is a loss of pedal this is different than pad fade and usually a symptom of brake fluid boiled and air introduced into brake lines. Higher temp fluid, more cooling, and/or monitoring driving style can resolve.