2013 Scion FR-S: Needs Brake Cooling
July 25, 2013
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).
Blued and scored front rotor
Track pads, front, cracked and crumbling
Passenger side front caliper dust boot melted
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor