Needs Brake Cooling - 2013 Scion FR-S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Scion FR-S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Scion FR-S: Needs Brake Cooling

July 25, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

After I returned home from my weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with our long-term 2013 Scion FR-S, I swapped its tracky brake pads back for the stock ones. If you use track pads on the street, they'll eat your rotors alive. This is because aggressive pads never warm up to operating temperature on the street, and when cold they are very abrasive.

In the process of swapping in the stock pads, I noticed signs of what I experienced while on track, that the brakes got rather hot. Above is the melted driver side front caliper dust boot. See others below. Keep in mind that this happened with stock power and street tires, though it is true that Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a track that's hard on brakes. More power and/or stickier tires like R-compounds (never mind dedicated track tires) would exacerbate the brake heat situation considerably.

There's not a lick of air that makes it way to the FR-S's brakes. There are no vents in the wheelwell liner, and the little spat that deflects air away from the front tires also deflect air from the brakes.

It's also got pillar-vane style rotors which have generally poor airflow pumping characteristics (manufacturers use them because they are not directional so the same part can be used on both sides, and they have good NVH characteristics).

2013 Scion FR-S
Blued and scored front rotor

2013 Scion FR-S
Track pads, front, cracked and crumbling

2013 Scion FR-S
Passenger side front caliper dust boot melted

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor


  • jederino jederino Posts:

    Good write up and pics. I've tried to make small upgrades to my braking system in a G35 for track days, but without spending a lot of money I've figured I may just coast more into the corners and reduce my laps per session.

  • Time for a big brake kit perhaps? Stoptech! Although I dont know if they make a kit for the FR-S, I just remembered your old E46 M3 (sigh) good times.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Ahhh E46 M3. Good times indeed.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Cha-ching! $36,500 and counting! Car is obviously built to a very strict price point. Looks like it's going to need an aftermarket fender liner and/or front bumper cover/splitter with some air ducting, plus a big brake kit, based on the performance last time at the track. Also, now that we have the car off the dyno, we can proceed to the track and find out if/how badly the clutch slips with the power upgrade.

  • That's a little worrying for a potential track car...

  • dashpot dashpot Posts:

    No, that's typical for a potential track car. No mention of soft pedal/boiling fuid, so it's not all bad. Pretty much anything run semi-hard on a track will see that kind of wear & tear. Ducting + modified or yanked dust shields are step 1. Fordson1 sees the slippery slope.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    Well, at least they didn't fail like the brakes on the Nissmo Z that C&D used in their Lightning Lap test a few years back. That said, ti still feels like a design fail to build a dedicated sports car then fail to provide adequate brake cooling.

  • opfreak opfreak Posts:

    the excuses for this car are limitless. With the money saved from removing the buttons on SPORTS steering wheel, couldn't toyota spend a few cents more for better rubber on the brakes? You fanboi's keep claiming stuff on this stuff is cheap, because its supposed to be a SPORTS car. Fail.

  • akula1 akula1 Posts:

    $499. APR brake ducts replace the foglight area. Just pipe it to some ready made dust shields.

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