Brakes - Ceramic or Iron?

Brakes - Ceramic or Iron?

Author
Discussion

samoht

Original Poster:

4,017 posts

130 months

Monday 31st October
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As someone looking to get into McLaren ownership soon, I was interested in the recent discussion about ceramic brake wear on the 570s, and thought it could use its own thread.

Ceramic brakes in general are advertised as being better on the road due to fading less easily and having lower unsprung weight to the benefit of ride and handling. They are also promoted as lasting longer than iron discs, not wearing thin in use (and thus not generating brake dust) nor rusting if left parked.

Which all sounds great, but the concern is the five-figure cost of replacing a set of brake discs if they do need it. I understand that if worked too hard and run above a certain 'critical' temperature on track they can degrade quickly, and that certain wheel cleaners contain chemicals that can also kill them.

AFAIK 12Cs had iron as standard, carbon ceramics optional. 540C were iron, 570GT iron with ceramic option until 2018 when it became the converse. There are also 570Ss around which have been 'downgraded' to iron from their standard fit ceramics.

So for those of us looking at these cars it's a real point of differentiation between the cars and models on the market - the perceived risk of ceramics vs the performance and ownership benefits. I've read suggestions on here of seeking out a 540C for track use, purely because the iron brakes are cheaper to replace if needed. Conversely, James at McLaren Hatfield was keen to sell the ceramics as a clear benefit behind the wheel, and advanced the argument that the expected total cost of ownership is actually lower, since the ceramic discs should in normal use outlast the iron parts.

So I'd be interested to hear from owners, have you tracked your car and have you had to replace ceramic / iron brake discs? Do we know what the 'never exceed' temperature is for ceramics, and what's the best way to keep an eye on them to avoid overheating them? Danny & Lando have their engineer on the radio to advise when they need to cool their brakes (or conversely, get more heat into them), what's best for mere mortals?

Streetbeat

433 posts

60 months

Tuesday 1st November
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I think part of my point on the other thread is, how many Mclaren owners have actually had to replace ceramics due to track work, 1%, 5% at most? A few examples here or there does not represent a "problem" with ceramics, they are more than suitable for your average attending track day driver. Of course they are not bullet proof, but as in the other thread, take care with session times and cooling down and they will be just fine.

I have done a handful of days in my 1.5 year 570s ownership, various tracks, inc heavy braking from 160mph, i have no issues what so ever with my ceramics and have plenty of friends with ceramics in the same boat. Personally its a non story.

Mclaren life is full of very good info on this subject and it seems its only the track hounds with double digit days a year and regular ambient high temps that seem to swap, which is probably very wise, not 20 degrees at Goodwood wink


Chrism355

96 posts

144 months

Tuesday 1st November
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I was talking to the R&D guys at McLaren their take on it was that if you intend to do a lot of track days then go steel discs as the running costs of carbon were to high, if doing the occasional trick day then either will be fine. They also said if you put it in the kitty litter then make sure you dont pick up a stone as your carbon discs will be scored in no time

akadk

1,160 posts

163 months

Tuesday 1st November
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I have had Ceramics on my F-TYPE, RS 4, RS 6, R8 (x many), GT4 (x2), 650S, 12C (x2) and Project 8 (x2)

I would have ceramics all day long

I disagree with the other poster saying there isn’t a problem tracking CCM discs hard.

There is a reason JLR put CCB on the P8 instead of their existing CCM supply

But I wouldn’t over think it, as long as you have a reasonable amount of mechanical sympathy then they will be fine.

I just changed the pads all round on my P8 at about 50% wear as it’s said to not let the pads wear thin as that increases the heat being put through the disc.

Edited by akadk on Tuesday 1st November 21:43


Edited by akadk on Tuesday 1st November 22:01

akadk

1,160 posts

163 months

Saturday 19th November
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justin220

4,913 posts

188 months

Saturday 19th November
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I've never driven a car with ceramics but absolutely no complaints about the stopping power of the standard steels.

Ceramics do look fantastic though!

RSbandit

1,979 posts

116 months

Saturday 19th November
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akadk said:
Saw this one advertised …amazing spec but yes those disks look toast to me too…still if you got it for 90k you would have a serious car with brand new disks at a shade over 100k

akadk

1,160 posts

163 months

Saturday 19th November
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Trouble is, toasted discs are a big giveaway as to how hard the car has been driven….

Davyt

70 posts

2 months

Saturday 19th November
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akadk said:
Trouble is, toasted discs are a big giveaway as to how hard the car has been driven….
Isn’t that a good thing ??

Sarnie

7,463 posts

193 months

Saturday 19th November
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RSbandit said:
Saw this one advertised …amazing spec but yes those disks look toast to me too…still if you got it for 90k you would have a serious car with brand new disks at a shade over 100k
What exactly makes them look "toasted"? Genuine question smile

akadk

1,160 posts

163 months

Saturday 19th November
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The outer layer of the disc has been burned through, and so the carbon fibres are exposed have been oxidising, so the face of the disc will be like sandpaper to touch

To look at, as the carbon fibres are exposed, you can visually see them

akadk

1,160 posts

163 months

Saturday 19th November
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Toasted disc


akadk

1,160 posts

163 months

Saturday 19th November
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Not toasted


samoht

Original Poster:

4,017 posts

130 months

Saturday 19th November
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^ many thanks, v helpful.
(I did have a browse online and found some examples, but those pics are very clear).

macdeb

8,197 posts

239 months

Sunday 20th November
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akadk said:
Trouble is, toasted discs are a big giveaway as to how hard the car has been driven….
yes My thinking too.

12pack

1,416 posts

152 months

Sunday 20th November
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FWIW, 4 years in now, about 20 track days and 7k miles, no sign of problems with the ceramic discs.

Only issue is of the current pads “whistling” on light contact.

akadk

1,160 posts

163 months

Sunday 20th November
quotequote all
12pack said:
FWIW, 4 years in now, about 20 track days and 7k miles, no sign of problems with the ceramic discs.

Only issue is of the current pads “whistling” on light contact.
It can be done, just needs mechanical sympathy

Gibbo205

3,035 posts

191 months

Tuesday 22nd November
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akadk said:
Trouble is, toasted discs are a big giveaway as to how hard the car has been driven….
Yes and no.

Track days are not a bad thing for a car if it is correctly maintained and serviced.

I've also witnessed an owner demolish ceramic disc in one track day on a 992 GTS, simply because the owner did not care about money so did no warm up laps and even worse no cooling laps, the ceramics de-laminated in one day.

Whereas I've seen a 600 LT and GT3's do track days on ceramics with very little wear because time was spent cooling the disc for 1-2 laps before coming in.

I'd rather a car used and driven as intended correctly rather than a garage queen in all honesty.

That car for 95k is a bargain, replace the disc and have potentially a great car, also maybe look into a steel option for replacement.