Mar 23, 2012

Nissan GT-R Brake Rotor Upgrades 2009 - 2013

DBA slotted , AP J-Hook and Slotted, AP/STILLEN CCM-X


The Nissan GT-R is a very hard car on brakes. At 4000 lbs with driver and fuel, stock front 380 mm x 34 mm  2009-2011(US) or 390 mm x 32.8 mm (2012-2013), Brembo rotors crack around the cross drilling with hard use. At the track, we see 2-3 track days out of set of factory rotors, some guys can even crack them with hard street driving. Here are a couple of brake upgrade options for the Nissan GT-R. STILLEN will have some iron AP Racing options for the 2012- 2013 Nissan GT-R soon. Email me to get on the waiting list.


DBA Slotted rotor.
The first option for a rotor replacement for the 2009-2011 is the Disc Brakes Australia- DBA(not 2012+) rotor.  The DBA replacement ring is a great option for street driven Nissan GT-R's.  The factory rotors from the dealer are sold as an assembly with hats/bells and come in at more than $1000 per rotor. The DBA 5000 series factory replacement rings are a great street upgrade over the Brembo rotor. They feature DBA's kangaroo paw ventilation system, and propriety alloys for disk materials.These rotors with replacement locking nuts come in at $896 (MSRP) for two front or rear. Less than 1/2 the cost of the factory rotors, and no cross drilling to crack. They do also have a cross drilled and slotted option, if you would prefer. However, if you run your car hard at the track, the next step up is the AP Racing curved vane rotor.

AP Racing Curved Vane rotor in the famous J-Hook face treatment
AP Racing upgraded discs that mount straight onto the OE 2009-2011 brake hats. These discs have been track proven (Nürburgring, Silverstone and more) on GT-R’s in extreme conditions by professional drivers. They not only lasted much longer without cracking, several drivers reported improved brake pedal feel and easier pedal modulation. The best thing is that these upgraded discs cost even less than standard factory replacements.

Click HERE for a video explaining the benefits of these rotors.



The AP rotors have been owner proven in the US the last couple of years. Most GT-R's can go from just a few track days on a set of OEM's to 18-19-20 track days on a set of AP rotors.  The AP rotors are available in two flavors, Slotted, and J-Hook and include new hardware.The J-Hook rotors are for the track junkies, as they provide better initial bite, and provide a constant path of evenly distorted material on the braking face. The pad never loses contact with the braking face, improving the friction characteristics and braking performance. The J-hooks can make a little noise as the rotor passes the pad, a slight whishing sound, but in the grand scheme of Nissan GT-R sounds, its never really noticed. Who uses AP Racing J-Hook rotors?

The slotted rotors are a great option for the street or track guy, that doesn't want to go with the J-hook rotor.

2009-2013 Nissan GT-R 390 mm x 34 mm Brake Rotor Upgrade
390 mm x 34 mm Nissan GT-R Upgraded Brake Rotors


STILLEN and AP Racing have been offering 380 mm x 34 mm front, and 380mm x 30 mm rear bolt on replacement disks for the Nissan GT-R for several years.  The AP Racing 48 vane curved rotors, have been proven by owners in the US, often lasting 5 times as long as the factory rotors under harsh track conditions. 

For 2012 in the US, Nissan increased the diameter of the front brake rotors on the GT-R, but they went thinner(32.6mm) to keep the weight the same.  In a car with braking rotor issues, weighing in at 3829 lbs, this didn't make much sense.  Why not make the rotor 390 mm, and keep the same thickness 34 mm, as the early car?  AP Racing, and STILLEN have answered this question, with an all new 72 vane, 12 attachment point(vs 10 stock), 390 mm x 34 mm rotor that will bolt onto a 2009-2013 Nissan GT-R.

NIS3910AJ  - Fits 2009-2011 Nissan GT-R's with OEM 380mm front rotors


NIS3910AJ        Front Disc Assemblies  08-11 Nissan GTR (includes discs, hardware, bells and spacers) Replaces OE 380x34mm disc


NIS3920AJ        Front Disc Assemblies 12+   Nissan GTR  (includes discs, hardware and bells) Replaces OE 390x32.6mm disc

NIS3930DJ        Replacement disc kit for NIS3910AJ and NIS3920AJ (discs and hardware only, no bells)

CP8080Y100     Replacement bells (sold individually)

These discs are from a new AP Racing casting specifically designed for heavy sports cars. It uses a 72 curve vane design, using the same OE air gap of 17mm and increasing mass with thicker walls. The result is a disc with higher thermal capacity which is needed on a vehicle that is heavily tracked, very hard to design effective air ducting and sees high disc temperatures.


Nissan GT-R Carbon Ceramic Brake Upgrade

The ultimate brake upgrade for the Nissan GT-R, available for the 2009-2011(stock 380 mm) and 2012-2013(stock 390mm) cars is the STILLEN/AP Racing CCM-X carbon ceramic matrix brake rotors.

STILLEN/AP Racing CCM-X 400 mm carbon ceramic brake rotors

Once found only on the world’s most expensive supercars, Carbon-Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes have been developed for the first specifically-tuned aftermarket application – the Nissan R35 GT-R. These 400mm disc assemblies are 20mm larger than the standard 380mm OE iron discs, yet reduce weight by nearly half(38 lbs lighter than the stock brakes). This is rotating and unsprung weight, leading to improvements in all performance categories: acceleration, handling and braking.




Wouldn't you like to lose 38 lbs of rotating, unsprung weight?

After three decades of using carbon-carbon brakes on racing vehicles (even longer on fighter jets), AP Racing CCM discs are the next technological platform. Advancements in materials, process technologies and nanoparticle technology make it possible to use a special carbon fiber precursor along with new, patented process techniques. The unidirectional precursor is needled into a 3-Dimensional, continuous carbon fiber preform. This differs from lower cost technologies that use loose, chopped strand fibers and thin woven face plies bonded on as a friction surface. A true 3D matrix is stronger, more robust and provides longer life than the more brittle alternative. As a comparison, think quality hardwood versus particle board or MDF with a veneer.

Converting the 3D preform to carbon-carbon is done under high heat and pressure via methane cracking during a special carbon vapor infiltration (CVI) process. After initial machine work, a final conversion process results in a full matrix carbon-silicon carbide (CSiC). We call it Carbon-Ceramic Matrix, or CCM for short. The discs are then sent through the final machining, grinding, and balancing. Of course, the CCM discs are now so hard that only special diamond tooling can be used!

DBA, AP, AP, STILLEN/AP


There is a lot of confusion out there when people hear "carbon brakes". In racing, carbon-carbon (C-C) is used wherever the rules allow it. For high-performance road vehicles, carbon-ceramic matrix (CCM) is the rotor of choice. Carbon-carbon brake systems consume both the rotor and the pads, where CCM brakes are designed to consume only the pad.

There are a few different ways to make CCM rotors. The ones on the Scuderia you mention are made from three pieces, a chopper-gun-like core and two face plies -- and only those face plies are siliconized into carbon-ceramic. The core remains C-C. So far, this style of construction is more delicate and less user-friendly than a full 3D CCM, like those on the STILLEN GT-R upgrade. The 3D version takes longer to make and requires more energy, so they end up being more expensive.

The enemy of CCM brakes is not wear -- they are very, very hard (approaching diamond hard!). The real issue is oxidation. As long as rotor temps are kept below 750°C / 1400°F, they could possibly last the life of the car or even longer. If run for extended periods of time over that temperature, oxidation will start to convert the carbon molecules to carbon dioxide, which just floats away. So it pays to keep track of rotor temps, which is why we apply paint temps at STILLEN before we assemble them to the hats. Cooling kits are a great idea for track use. Keep in mind that the pads will also run hotter as the rotor has less mass to absorb braking energy than iron discs, so the CCM discs will heat up everything around them a bit more.

Now here is another interesting point: If you were to oxidize those Scuderia CCM rotors (or the ones on any Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Aston Martin, Audi, ZR-1 Corvette, etc.) you get to throw them away after they lose a prescribed amount of mass. With the Stillen GT-R system, surface oxidation can be ground off to where the rotor looks like new again. This can only be done with a full 3D CCM rotor, not the 3-piece laminated type like on the other cars mentioned above as you would grind right through the thin face plies!

If we chose to go with the 3-ply route instead of 3D, we could probably lower the price a couple grand -- and then have to deal with the occasional dissatisfied customer who would have to replace a front pair when they were excessively oxidized or if damaged by putting wheels back on the car. In the service manual for the ZR-1, the service tech is required to place a foam ring around the rotor before removing a wheel. If not, the dealership gets to pay for a new rotor if he chips it. While I certainly don't recommend pounding a wheel against the STILLEN/AP Racing CCM rotors, we are much less concerned about careful, routine service creating such a problem.

Even though carbon-carbon has been around since the 70's (I started working with C-C in 1990), the more recent availability of CCM to the general public will continue to cause confusion until we get further down the road. They are not the same as iron in any capacity other than they are roughly the same shape. We can't expect that after 100 years of iron drums and discs that CCM technology will be completely understood by the masses for quite some time. Then add the fact that they are still changing as companies continue to look for ways to reduce the manufacturing costs.


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