Customer Review: BMW 1M owner drops 4 seconds per lap with Essex/AP Racing Competition BBK!07.25.2017
We recently received a thorough and thoughtful review from a BMW 1M owner who has been running our Essex Designed Competition Brake System for the past year. He provides a very level-headed assessment of our kit, and is shocked by the dramatic impact it's had on his lap times! His thoughts are below:
"A year and now five track days into my ownership of the Essex designed AP Racing CP5060 front BBK, I wanted to provide some initial impressions on the performance of this kit.
The stock system is extremely capable on the 1M Coupe. With upgraded fluid and PFC08 pads, the stock rotors and calipers put up with >15 days of track use before developing cracks big enough to be worrisome. This system drama-free and fade-free stopping. However, the hassle of pad swaps on the stock system requires removing each caliper and is what ultimately lead to the search for a BBK -- it was simply going to be a matter of time before I stripped a caliper mounting bolt or something worse.
I considered the standard BBK offering from Stoptech, Brembo and PFC. However, the detailed technical description of the kit on the forums and on Essex's website are what ultimately sold me on it. The idea of differential piston sizes to combat pad taper, anodization of the caliper to minimize color degradation with heat exposure, lack of dust boots ... it sounded like purpose-built hardware that had been thoughtfully designed, rather than emphasis on bling. After some discussion with Jeff Ritter, I ended up going with the CP5060 front BBK -- Ferodo DS1.11 in the front and Ferodo DS2500 in the rear (stock rear caliper) for the track, and DS2500 pads front/rear for sport use. This would further decrease the overall amount of prep time spent on pad swaps for the track.
Christmas in July
A total of 4 boxes were delivered -- two large ones containing a rotor and caliper each, and two smaller boxes containing brake pads, brake fluid, and brake lines. Installation was reasonably straightforward (for my amateur shade tree mechanic skills) and the included printed instructions (identical to the pdf available on the website) were detailed enough to get the job done with no major misadventures.
I expected (unrealistically) a life-changing brake system epiphany (because race car) so I was initially bummed when I found no discernible improvement in daily performance: pedal feel and stopping distance were the same -- depress pedal, the car stops. I also expected pad changes to be super easy ("it takes longer to get a wheel up in the air and off the car than it takes to swap the pads...") and for pads and rotors to last noticeably longer than the stock gear, given the touted reduced running costs.
The details of daily life
So what's it like to live with this CP5060 front BBK on a daily basis? To swap pads you remove two pad-retaining bolts and wiggle out the corresponding aluminum sleeves, which themselves are quite snug. Removing pads requires taking some pliers and wiggling out the pad out a little bit at a time, one end at time -- it's a bit tedious and has never been as easy as just pulling out the pad, because the caliper pistons will be in contact with the pad. That being said, I still prefer this to removing the calipers and fighting with the spring clips on the OEM setup. (***editor's note...reaching through the bottom of the caliper and pushing upward on the bottom of the pads helps pop them out much more easily***). Swapping to pads that have less thickness is easy once the the pads are removed because the pistons will be out of the way. If you are putting in pads that are thicker than the previous ones (e.g. swapping from track pads back to sport pads that have more meat on them) you will have to spend some time retracting pistons, which is more time-consuming than the stock setup because the AP caliper has 3 pairs of pistons vs. the OEM single piston. (***editor's note...all three pistons per side can be retracted at the same time***) Replacing the retaining bolts requires lining up the aluminum retaining bolt sleeve with the corresponding hole on the caliper. This always takes a little trial and error particularly when the anti-rattle spring clip is installed -- the tension of the spring clip tends to push the aluminum sleeve away from the caliper mounting bolt hole and takes a bit of jiggling around to get aligned.
So this kit was installed to overall decrease track prep time while providing improved brake performance and decreased running costs. How does it pan out?
1. Prep time - way better. I don't dread getting the car ready for track. Check.
2. Performance - No drama. Everything feels similar although I think there are some subtle differences in feel and initial bite between my tried-and-true PFC08 (on OEM setup) vs the Ferodo DS1.11 (on the BBK). Pedal feel wasn't much different and I just couldn't notice any perceptible difference in brake pedal or stopping dynamics. HOWEVER, here's the kicker - laptimes on my home track (3 miles, laptimes low 2 minutes) dropped by 4 seconds after I installed the CP5060. This was flabbergasting.
3. Running costs - the pads (Ferodo FRP3144 according to Essex website, but it's unclear if FRP3003 with the additional retaining tab can also be used) are anywhere between $425-$500 online, and I'm using about 1mm of thickness per track day. I had 15 days on a single set of PFC08s on the OEM setup which is apparently an abnormal degree of longevity. Rotors after 5 days show some heat checking. Jury is still out on this one.
Very, very good. Pleased with responsiveness and followup.
The Essex AP Racing CP5060 front BBK is a very robust system that performs as advertised. I will need many more days with the kit to see if the cost/benefit equation truly pays of with regard to running costs but the convenience factor of pad swaps have made it a worthwhile investment for me."