Brakes are an essential performance part for any car – on the track and on public roadways. My daily driver happens to be a 2012 BMW E92 M3 with one major shortcoming regarding any track duty – its brakes.
I have always had my eye on improving my M3’s brakes. The OEM system needed maintenance, but I was also keen on making the car more track-worthy. The opportunity to partake in an upcoming track day at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) nudged me to upgrade. I always have been a fan of StopTech’s big brake kits, so I pulled the trigger and went full in with their top-tier StopTech Trophy Big Brake Kit.
Installing the StopTech Trophy Big Brake Kit
I decided to get the top-of-the-line Trophy kit and get the bigger 6 piston front kit instead of the 4 piston front kit they offer. I picked up the StopTech Trophy ST60 Front 6 Piston Big Brake Kit (355x35mm) 83.160.6D00.F1 and StopTech Trophy ST40 Rear 4 Piston Big Brake Kit (355x32mm) 83.160.0047.F1.
The front and rear kit instructions are extremely detailed. They list out every tool you need to get the job done, from the wrenches and sockets down to the sheet-metal snips and metal files. They even go into detail on how to wash the rotors and the bed-in procedure.
To attack the install, I took use of my personal Craftsman socket and wrench collection I slowly built up. If you have ever done a brake fluid flush on any of your vehicles, you probably have all the tools already in your garage. Make sure you have a torque wrench to tighten everything down to the correct specs. The only items I had to get otherwise were sheet-metal snips and some brake fluid to complete the install – I went with Castrol SRF fluid.
The install went without a hitch. The only thing that kept me on my toes was worrying about any brake fluid leaks that might pop up with replacing so many of the OEM brake lines with the provided StopTech stainless steel lines.
I recommend just take your time and check all the connection points. Get everything nice and clean after you install the kit and after the bed in process let it sit a day and check to see if you have any leak points. Brake fluid is corrosive, so you want to catch and remedy any leaks as soon as possible.
Other Track Day Prep
A few months ago, I told you about the 3 cheapest ways to drive on a racetrack, and I practice what I preach. One of those cheap ways was to drive your own car to an SCCA Track Night in America event, which I did. I signed up for the year’s lone Track Night event at VIR.
Signing up for the track day was just one hurdle. I did significant track day prep to get ready, mainly maintenance items such as changing the oil and flushing the coolant. I also upgraded the seating situation by swapping out the stock seats for a set of Recaro Sportster GT seats and, of course, installed that StopTech Trophy Big Brake Kit front and rear.
VIR is a bit of a road trip for me personally as it is over 5 hours away. So I broke out the AutoWise Track Day Checklist and loaded up the car with everything I need to survive a track day and a road trip too.
StopTech Big Brake Kit Review for E92 BMW M3
I have taken my E92 M3 out to the track with stock brake hardware a few times. Stock calipers, stock pads, stock lines, just some upgraded brake fluid – oddly enough, StopTech Racing STR 600 Brake Fluid.
You can imagine the voice in the back of your head or the little devil on your shoulder that honestly only comes into play at triple-digit speeds. That voice is the one that tells you the point to hit those brakes when going 130+ mph on a main straight of a track. Simply put, that voice keeps you alive. I say that voice pops up a lot farther up your speedometer with this kit.
The StopTech Trophy kit helped all around the track when stabbing the brakes for a quick slow down and turn in, but the main place I could tell how good the brakes were was coming down the longest straight. The main straight on the VIR Full configuration is the longest straight I have driven on a track.
I never take note of the top speed, nor should you. Your top speed might be nice to brag to friends and family after a track visit, but leave recording your top speed for your GoPro footage review. My personal GoPro footage revealed I was hitting 140 miles per hour on many laps. But during one particular lap, I must have stayed in it a second or two longer and got up to a new personal best of 142 miles per hour.
A stock engine E92 M3 with a driver going 7/10ths of his ability (I have to drive it 5-hours home, remember) – and hitting 140+ mph on the main straight at VIR is a pretty solid performance. With these brakes, there was still plenty of room to stay on the gas a bit longer if I wanted to push the limits further. It’s so confidence-inspiring to know that you can get the car slowed down or stopped quickly, even from high speeds. Later braking points mean higher top speeds, but more importantly better lap times.
Lap after lap, even pushing these high speeds, I never experienced any brake fade with this new brake setup. These brakes inspired so much confidence to push harder and harder. On top of the quick initial bite and no fade on track, I also found them to be easy to live with and be smooth for day-to-day street driving.
The combo of fresh pads, fresh fluid, and the fresh new stainless lines (replacing the stock rubber ones) is an impressive combo that provides lots of solid and precise pedal feel. My E92 is that much sharper of a track car now, while still being an easy to live with street car.
Click HERE to find a StopTech Big Brake Kit for your ride.