Baer Brakes, Toyo Proxes, & Budnick Wheels Upgrade - Braking Traction

Project Snowball Gets Big Brakes, Sticky Tires, And A Hot Set Of Wheels

John Ulaszek Apr 14, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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According to the 1989 Pontiac sales brochures, Project Snowball's four-wheel disc brakes would have required 139 feet to stop from 60 miles per hour when new, 21 years later the 2010 Camaro is advertised to cover just 117 feet for the same effort (while far outweighing the third-gen). Given the fact that our Formula Firebird is going to see lots of high-performance driving days on road courses, and we have no intention of being embarrassed by new Camaros, let alone Mustangs, we turned to the experts at Baer Brakes to upgrade our third-gen's stopping capabilities to match or better modern muscle cars.

1005gmhtp_01_o Baer_brake_toyo_proxes_budnick_wheels Tires_and_brakes 2/28

According to Baer, 60-0 distances are a convenient benchmark, but they don't accurately characterize a braking system, and in the case of the Formula, Baer's testing found 139 feet to be optimistic for a single stop and unattainable after repeated events. For the 20 or so minutes at a time Snowball will be running the road course, it's essential that the brakes are good from not just 60 mph but 140 mph, and be up to the task repeatedly without brake fade. While we won't be able to get our own test results until the drivetrain is back in the car, Baer's testing of third-gen F-bodies equipped with its 6S brakes, found an average driver can easily and repeatedly attain 110 feet or better (60-0 distances), and with high-temp track pads those numbers can go down even further-putting Snowball into C6 Corvette territory.

Since the brakes are only as good as the friction between the car and the track, we knew we would need more and stickier rubber to make sure the guys with traction control and anti-lock brakes couldn't dive deeper into the corners than Snowball. To that end, we turned to Budnik and Toyo to stuff a gummy set of 275mm wide Toyo R888s under the fenders wrapped around 18x9.5 two-piece forged Budnik wheels on each corner. Considering our third-gen should have at least a 500-pound weight advantage over a 2010 Camaro, the wider tires and bigger brakes should be just the thing to equalize the Camaro's horsepower advantage.

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