Let’s start this off with a little bit about MX5 brakes and the goals we have for the cars, the approach to almost all modifications to an MX5 is about making the car more precise, responsive and better dialled into how you want it to drive and operate.
Turbos aside, this is generally the theme when changing suspension, wheels, adding strut bars – etc.
In the case of a car that needs to perform dual duty, i.e. drive to and from the track (safely) as well as perform the commute to work and back. This somewhat dictates the choice of braking system, pads, fluid and indeed supporting modifications.
Let’s take Leaf – the 1.6 T2554R turbocharged car. One of the best modifications you can do to a 1.6 car, regardless of powerplant, is upgrade to 1.8 brakes. All that’s required to do this is the 1.8 carriers, discs and pads – as the calipers are the same – you’ll inevitably need to do a brake job on your car in your ownership and moving to a bigger pad and disc for basically free is good in our books.
All the cars in our stable are running Roddisons Magical Mystery pads, which on their own are a great balance between cold bite and their ability to handle getting HOT on track. They necessitate the need to upgrade your brake fluid as we found out at rockingham.
So, what we learned from rockingham, or rather what I learned I need to change with the leaf was centred on braking and cooling.
The brakes themselves performed excellently, but as everyone learns on track you need to push harder, faster and later when it comes to braking and the MX5 has a real handicap when it comes to getting this right, the firewall flex.
Take a look at this video from Leaf;
What that means in practice is you end up with an inconsistent brake feel, pushing harder than you think you need to but with less impact on the brakes. It’s an irritating handicap, with a simple solution – brace that master cylinder and stop it moving.
The difference is immediate, you’ll still have the 1/2-1 inch of travel before the brakes bite – that can be taken up by adjusting the brake pedal but when the brakes start to bite – it’s a hard wall rather than the previous 1-2 inches of sponge.
DaveFab’s solution is very neat, quick and simple to install – there are other ways of doing this, like modifying a strut brace or purchasing a strut brace with a built in brake stopper – but those tend to be considerably more expensive and are getting rarer in the marketplace.
With that done, the next change is a brake fluid that can take the heat – ATE TYP200 is the fluid of choice, it’s relatively inexpensive and to go much better you’re doubling the cost.
That’s it, we’ll report back on how well it performed after the Mighty5s ‘5fest’ at llandow circuit on the 29th of June, we’ll be there with at least 2 cars and it’s as much of an R&D day as it is a track day for us.