Brakes Part 4: Brake Pads

It can be considered that the specification of the brake pads is the singular most important component of the braking system. You could have fitted the “perfect” brake system for your car from the pedal box, master cylinder size, rigid and braided brake lines, 6 pot calipers and then fit brake pads that are made of “cheese” (ie:- very soft and last about 20 minutes) or “concrete” (ie:- so hard they will outlast mankind).

Of course there is a middle ground that gives both stopping power and durability. In sprint racing you would aim towards the ultimate stopping power and in endurance racing you would aim towards the endurance side (on the basis that you save time not having to change the pads during the race).

In simple terms the longer lasting the pad the harder the compound (and the pad thickness is greater) and the lower the overall peak stopping power.

A brake pad is made up of a number parts and these are detailed in the following section:


  1. Friction Material

Friction material formulations to ensure the material is a suitable match for the performance requirements of each vehicle application.

  1. Scorched Friction Material

Speeds up the bedding in process by ‘scorching’ the pads to burn off gases and excess resins instead of allowing them to be burnt off on the vehicle during the bedding in process.

  1. Chamfer

Used where required, this reduces noise during the ‘bedding-in’ process.

  1. Intermediate Layer

This layer of friction material has a higher resin content. This increases the bond strength with the back plate and reduces heat transfer to the brake fluid, which can reduce braking performance.

  1. Adhesive

This bonds the friction material to the backing plate.

  1. Shim

Used where required, this damping material absorbs vibration and minimises noise.

  1. Slot

Used where required, this allows the pad to flex under pressure and prevents the friction material from cracking.

  1. Backing Plate

The backbone of every brake pad. Our backing plates are powder coated to prevent corrosion.