I recently was looking for a set of new pads for my RX-8. Ideally, I wanted a pad that worked well for autocross, daily use, and track days. My number one concern was autocross use, which basically means it needs good bite at ambient temperatures (i.e., first run of the day) although I’m not too worried if the bite falls off a little below 50 degrees or so.
However, I was also hoping for a pad that would hold up well for track days. I’m not a track hound, but now that I have the car in STX trim I’m itching to get it out on the track, and I’d prefer to avoid swapping pads, if possible.
I was browsing the Racing Brake web site, dreaming of a lightweight caliper/rotor conversion, when I noticed they had quite the range of pads as well. It would appear that the ET500 is the recommended pad for autocross work, but then I read some reviews that they can fade if used heavily on the track. The ET800, on the other hand, generally gets rave reviews for track use, yet RB claims they are easy on rotors, don’t dust much, and there isn’t a minimum temperature listed. Looked good. Still, I wondered if they would be off a bit when cold, so I posted to the RB forum and asked if they ET800s would work well for autocross.
As you can see in the thread
, RB (and one user/vendor) said they thought they would work well for autocross, and offered me a discount & money back guarantee if I would try them and then post a review. I took them up on the offer and here is my review.
For the record, I have only used OEM and a generic aftermarket pad (although I think it was ceramic) on the RX-8. I’ve used Porterfield RS-4 & Cobalt on my Miata, however.
I’ve had the ET800s on my car for two weeks now, and have two autocross events on them. At both events I ran first thing in the morning in overcast conditions, and had no problems with them working right out of the start, at the first corner. Their bite seems consistent with temperature increase as well – one of the events had 8 runs in 90 minutes, with some heavy braking (for autocross anyway) both during the run and in the finish. In fact, at the finish of the last 4 runs I got that “hot brake pad” smell as I drove back to grid. No, it’s not track use, but under these conditions I noticed no change in bite/torque.
They also modulated well, allowing me to easily vary braking force as I negotiated decreasing radius turns.
Not surprising, street use is fine as well. I can’t say what they will be like in cold conditions – it would not surprise me if they need to be brushed once to heat up – but so far, I’ve had no problems, and only have mild squeaking under light pressure.
Can’t comment on rotor wear yet, but dusting seems at about OEM levels or so.
Unfortunately, I do not have any track events on them yet. However, if you do some searching, you will see that the ET800s get near-universal praise on the track, so I expect them to do well there. The big news for me is that they are a good street/autocross pad that will (hopefully) stand up to track use as well - a true dual-purpose pad. I may do a track day later this summer and if I do I will update this review. I certainly will not be asking for my money back, and can easily endorse them for street & autocross use.