Since the Corvette’s earliest days when it started to compete in road racing against imported sports cars such as Jaguar, Aston Martin, Porsche and Ferrari, to name a few, a major concern developing the Corvette for competition was the quest for better brakes.
The Corvette has come a long way since the early days of square metallic pucks on drum brake shoes. So much so, in fact, in 2014 on Motor Trend’s list “Fast Brake: 20 Best 60 to 0 Distances Recorded by Motor Trend” pitted against the world’s best, the Corvette stopped in the shortest distance.
It’s a high stakes game at that level where mere inches count. The 2013 Audi RS5 coupe came in 20th at 101 feet and in 2nd place, behind the first-year C7 Corvette, was the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S at 93 feet. The pack of mostly 2013-model year participants included Ferrari, Ford Shelby GT 500, Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, BMW M3, Lexus LFA and Nissan GT-R.
And, of course, all cars tested were OEM standard equipped with ABS, the saving grace of all weekend warriors and boy racers that have exceeded their driving skills at one time or another. It’s the retention of ABS and not even having to bleed the brakes that makes Baer Brakes’ options to upgrade a C6 braking system so DIY friendly.
We heard Baer’s R&D guy Dutch Miller had a C6 convertible in Baer Brakes R&D shop located at its humongous Phoenix manufacturing facility, so we made a banzai run out to Arizona and followed along as Dutch upgraded the rear brakes, followed by completing the two uprate options available for the front brakes.
As Baer Brakes describes, “The EradiSpeed+1 rotors are a two-piece design that features curved vane rotor ring mounted to a 6061-T6 billet aluminum center hat using NAS aircraft hardware. The ES+1 rotors are direct bolt-on replacements that retain the OE caliper with the use of caliper relocation brackets. Features include increased brake torque due to increased diameter, better cooling with the curved vane design and enhanced appearance. Eradispeed+1 rotors come standard with a cross-drilled, slotted and zinc plated finish; slot only finish is available upon request, and ditto for the description of the front brake rotors.
The beauty of Baer Brakes EradiSpeed uprated components for C6 Corvettes is one doesn’t have to bleed the brakes in order to install. This means a competent DIY guy can make a weekend project out of it. Baer Brakes does recommend refreshing the brake fluid if it is more than one-year old. There’s two ways to refresh brake fluid. One requires bleeding the brakes afterward and the second involves drawing (sucking out) the brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir and refilling without introducing air to the system.
And then when the brake installation is done it is vitally important to follow Baer Brakes instructions on how to properly “bed” the brakes in. Vette
At left is the base level standard equipment OEM C6 rear brake rotor in size comparison to Baer Brakes 14-inch diameter EradiSpeed+ complete big-brake conversion kit for the rear brakes.
The first step was to remove the rear wheels, exposing the C6 standard equipment PBR disc brake assembly.
Basic hand tools were all that was required to remove the stock rear brake caliper and rotor.
Dutch removed the rear caliper. It is not necessary to disconnect the hydraulic lines, hence bleeding the brakes is not required when the installation has been completed. Do not suspend the caliper by the brake flex hose while unattached.
A quick smack with a soft-blow hammer to the outer face of the brake rotor knocked the brake rotor free from the rear hub.
All aircraft quality hardware is included; Baer’s extension bracket for the rear brake caliper bolts in the brake caliper’s stock (original) holes.
Nylock nuts were developed in Anaheim, California, in 1942. Here’s a close-up view of the nylon liner in the Nylok locking aircraft nut.
Baer Brakes EradiSpeed+ rotors are directional. Notice the round white label with a black L (left) indicating the rotor mounts to the driver side; R (right) for the passenger side.
With the brake rotor installed the next step was to push the stock C6 rear caliper-mounting bracket into place onto the Bear Brakes extension bracket, line up the bolt holes and tighten (torque) bolts down.
Next, the brake pad anti-rattle/retaining clips were finger pressed into place.
Followed by inserting the inboard and outboard brake pads. Take notice how the outboard pad fits over and then pushes into the brake pad anti-rattle/retaining clips.
Always, when installing new pads and in general, pushing (compressing) the piston back into the brake caliper makes installing (fitting) the caliper over the brake pads and into place easier.
Dutch torqued down the brake caliper mounting bolts completing installation of the Baer Brakes C6 EradiSpeed+ rear brake kit.
Here’s a completed view of the driver (left) side Baer Brakes C6 Eradispeed+ rear brake kit.
In addition to a larger diameter rotor producing greater brake torque (like using a longer breaker bar, or cheater, for more power to unbolt or tighten), Baer Brakes EradiSpeed+ cross-drilled and slotted rotors add a supercar appearance.
At left is the OE brake rotor for a base-model C6 Corvette. Baer Brakes offers two options for the base model C6 front brakes: the EradiSpeed+ at 12.79 inch (13 inches) and EradiSpeed+1 at 13.35 inches … round up to 14 inches.
The OEM base model C6 front brake was manufactured for Chevrolet by PBR in Australia. The PBR rotor is heavier and offers less cooling capacity through its smaller sized vanes.
Dutch unbolted the C6 caliper by removing two bolts located on the inboard side where it attaches to the caliper bracket.
Next, the caliper bracket was removed by unbolting two bolts located on the inboard side of the caliper bracket where it mounts to the spindle.
For the rotor to run true (not wobble), it is important the brake rotor fits flush to the hub. A raised, uneven surface created by rust can be removed with a Scotch-Brite abrasive pad or coarse sandpaper.
Baer Brakes EradiSpeed+ front rotor installs directly in place of the heavier base model C6 rotor. Shown is Baer Brakes EradiSpeed+1 with the caliper extension brackets included in the kit.
The first step is to fit the Baer Brakes EradiSpeed+1 rotor to the hub. Spin the rotor by hand and watch to ensure it runs true. If not, the problem will be a raised (rusty) surface on the face of the hub.
All necessary specialized mounting hardware is included. Notice the caliper extension bracket bolts are coated with a self-locking element of nylon bonded to the threads.
To complete the second step, the caliper extension bracket was installed with two bolts and torqued down.
Followed by installing new Baer D0713 Sport Pads. The rear brake pads are part number Baer D0732 Sport Pads.
Here it is, the completed EradiSpeed+ conversion with the OE Corvette PBR caliper in place.
Further C6 brake upgrades can be obtained by replacing stock Corvette calipers with Baer Brakes calipers.
At Vette, our go to brake fluid is AMSOIL Series 500 High Performance DOT 3 and DOT 4 synthetic brake fluid.
Photography by John Gilbert