Straight out of the General Motors factory, stock fifth-gen ZL1 Camaros come equipped with massive 370 mm two piece rotors up front, and slightly smaller 365 mm rotors out back. Translated into inches, the quaint Camaro is adequately armed with two 14.6-inch pizza-pies up front, coupled with Brembo 6-piston calipers. Sitting slightly behind the track ready package are two brake vents, grabbing front fascia air from a grille inlet, bringing the brakes down to a reasonable temperature after high-speed slowdowns.
On track, there is no getting away from the fact that the agile beast is undoubtedly a beached Orca at 4,120-pounds, without the driver. The Killer Whale’s weight has to slow up time and time again on track, and that’s where brake fade begins, and brake pad life ends. If the given road course has the pads and rotors doing double duty, you’d better give those pads and rotors time to cool off between sessions, or else the rotors will begin to show signs of heat damage in the form of small surface cracks and hot spots.
Since our 2012 Camaro ZL1 was purchased used, and while it only displayed roughly 3,000 miles on the odometer, the previous owner undoubtedly tracked the beast, and didn’t take the time to give the big fish’s brakes the chance to properly cool. The stock two pieces displayed multiple hot spots, and the front rotors definitely had heat cracks. With that being said, as a GM High-Tech project car, Apex Assassin was going to see circuit laps again, and was desperately calling for new rotors and pads.
EBC Brakes came to the rescue, and supplied similarly sized CTS-V one-piece rotors that were dimpled and slotted, and a set of the Yellow Stuff brake pads. The pads offer a greater heat threshold over stock, and the rotors, while slightly heavier than the two-piece setup, can dissipate heat through the slots. Before track testing, we swapped out the stock brake fluid for Motul DOT 5.1, to help with the heat too. During our on-track baseline, the EBC setup showed no signs of brake fade, and pedal feel was great. Check out the install below, and be sure to properly pre-flight your own setup before heading out to the track.
1. Here’s a look at the entire EBC setup, including the dimpled and slotted one-piece rotors, and Yellow Stuff brake pads. We went with Yellow over their range of Blue, Red, or Green, since these offer the perfect balance of street longevity and track performance—just what we’re looking for from our ZL1!
2. On closer inspection, the fine finish of the rotors is apparent, and the slotted and dimpled design looks more than ready to help with the on-track heat dissipation.
3. Looking at the pads, the top red portion is denoted for brake bedding, a necessary step to ensure that proper pad transfer happens on the rotors.
4. At AntiVenom’s shop, it was time to grab a spot on the lift! Along with the rotor and pad swap completed by Kyle Miller, we would also switch out the stock brake fluid for Motul DOT 5.1 high-performance fluid, before setting off to the track for a road course baseline.
5. Take a look at the surface heat cracks on one of the ZL1’s front rotors! Hot spots from overheating are also visible. This is the result of improper brake bedding. Time to replace those worn out rotors!
6. To start things off, Kyle would remove the caliper anti-rattle clip, punch out the pad pin, and remove the caliper bolt. The pads will then simply slide out of the caliper. Changing the pads at the track is that easy!
7. Keeping a finger on the pads, Kyle slips off the caliper from the rotor and removes the pads from their former home to get ready for the rotor removal.
8. With the pads out of the caliper, Kyle loosens the caliper bolt that is holding the two-piece rotor onto the Camaro.
9. With all of the hardware removed, the rotor can be tilted off. Once removed, we weighed the stock rotors and were ready to install the new EBC setup! We’ll discuss the weight differences in a few pictures on the following pages.
10. Look at the shiny new EBC dimpled and slotted rotor! It fits like a glove, and Kyle simply slides the new rotor onto where the old two-piece rotor was.
11. Looking up at the caliper, Kyle slides in the new Yellow Stuff pads, before inserting the caliper bolt. It’s really that simple!
12. The pad pin was reinstalled, the rotor was bolted back up, and the anti-rattle clip was reattached. All of the parts went on factory smooth, and we did not come across any problems with the new setup!
13. Here’s a look at the finished product, which was repeated by Kyle for the other three rotors on the Camaro. The entire setup looks great, and bedding in the brakes worked like a charm.
14. The stock ZL1 rotors weighed 26.10 pounds up front, compared to the new 28.30 one-piece EBC rotors. That’s a difference of only 2.2 pounds per side.
15. The stock rear two-piece rotor weighed 22.92 pounds, and the new one-piece rotors 22.104 a piece, a difference of 0.816 pounds. But you must also remember the old stock rotors were well worn, with plenty of material reduced to brake dust. We took our Apex Assassin ZL1 to Palm Beach International Raceway for testing. Get the full story in an upcoming installment