Brakes Make the Biggest Difference to a C5 Z06 on Track

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When tracking at the sharp end of 140 miles per hour, brakes should be the only thing on your mind.

Corvette’s C5 Z06 stands as one of the best bang-for-buck performance models you can currently buy. Deprecation is at its lowest swing, and potentially rising, as more and more track-minded enthusiasts are scooping them up. While already stout from the factory, a platform that has aged 15 years can benefit greatly from some modern tech, or even, just some upgraded tech. This time, we’ll focus on something small, and simple, but pays big dividends; brake pads.

YouTube personality and Corvette enthusiast ZentRose is at AutoClub Speedway for an open track day and his Z06 is stock apart from PFC 11 compound brakes. As a comparison, Rose even catches up to a C6 Z06 at one point. He says “I just caught this C6 Z06 in the braking zone! This C5 is just a fantastic little track car, and with these sprint racing pads, it’s a whole other animal. With the endurance compound, you give up a lot of feel with the brakes.” Obviously, the sprint pads won’t last as long as endurance pads, but if you’re only taking your car out for a leisurely track day rather than a full-on race, it’s a good compromise.

C5 Z06 brakes track day

Lap after lap, Rose catches up to more cars. Less powerful cars and much more powerful cars are all caught, and every time it happens in the braking zone. After watching this video, it shouldn’t be a speed secret that that’s the area where you’ll typically make up the most amount of time. Slowing down isn’t the whole equation though. Brakes only work as good as the tire’s grip allows.

C5 Z06 brakes track day

Tires give you the ability to extend grip in a mechanical way, making your brakes even more effective, but even that is dictated by something else; suspension. Starting to sound complicated? It doesn’t need to be. At CorvetteForum we take a “ground up” approach to building a car for track days. Start at the ground (tires) and work your way up when picking upgrades; brakes, then suspension, then add power.

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Patrick Morgan is an instructor at Chicago's Autobahn Country Club and contributes to a number of Auto sites, including MB World and 6SpeedOnline.

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