Beginning with the start of the 2006 rally season, I've been testing the EBC Yellowstuff Ceramic brakes pads. Most have heard that EBC pads were are one time considered to be unfriendly to rotors and they earned a bad reputation as such. EBC Greens in particular were known for leave pad deposits and causing warping.
Two years ago, a new owner with new ideas took the reins at EBC, and many fantastic changes have occured. I've been working with Andy Freeman, managing director for Freeman Automotive and EBC Brakes UK Ltd. and CEO of EBC Brakes USA Ltd. He sent SubieGal Racing a set of EBC Yellows to test in real, racing conditions, and we will be providing honest feedback on how they fare.
EBC Yellowstuff Rs are the official brake pad of the Subaru Challenge in the UK. This fact alone has got to say something good about the beating these pads are capable of taking. These pads are true full race-spec material and can handle higher temperatures than some of the other options out there. EBC claims they offer good wear life and that the bite from cold is great. Not many true race pads can hold up to that kind of claim.
Our test vehicle is the SubieGal Racing 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon. It's brake setup consists of
- OEM Subaru Rotors
- OEM Subaru Calipers
- Goodridge Stainless Brake Lines
- Motul Brake Fluid
These Yellowstuff R pads have seen some very high-speed, hard-braking tarmac stages wher eI really put the brakes to the test. Hitting speeds of 130mph and coming to a near stop caused the brakes to literally smoke, but the hotter they got, the better they performed.
Braking Ability / Fade Resistance: I've yet to experience brake fade! Extreme temperatures, constant left-foot braking - let's face it, I've been nothing short of brutal on these pads. True that in between stages they do get a chance to cool down a bit, but on stage they performed better the hotter I got them. For me, this inspired nothing but confidence in the pad, brakes, and car setup.
As with the EBC Redstuffs, pedal travel remained just where it should. There was no extra travel at all. In racing terms, this means that even though the pads were heating up, the heat was not getting all the way through the pads to the point of fading. The rotors showed zero signs of warping or wobbling, which means that the pads were not leaving damaging deposits.
Brake Feel: When cold, I was a bit concerned initally. The pads did not provide a huge amount of feedback. Yellowstuffs would be decent for highway travel, but perform better and better with each braking application, inspiring more confidence. I will agree that this is one true track pad that allows you to drive to the track, compete, and drive home all in one go and on one set of pads. For a daily-driven once-in-a-while track car, I would still recommend the Redstuffs. Choose Yellowstuffs for your high-powered toy, racecar, or rally car.
Rotors: These pads have been very, very easy on my rotors. In my rally class, I am required to run factory original spec brake rotors. These rotors can be subject to warping and damage with incorrect applications. I've run five full days of racing and testing at this point, all on the same rotors without removing them from the car once. They are still in great shape with no warped feeling or heat stress to be seen.
Brake Dust: Believe it or not, there is very minimal dust from these pads. No more than an OEM brake pad, and far less than the dust created by my old Porterfield R4s.
Compared to Previous Pads: I've previously run Porterfield R4s and EBC Redstuff Ceramics. I've never had brake fade with the Porterfields, yet the Yellowstuffs, unlike the Porterfields, do not score my rotors, do not emit extreme amounts of dust, and they last. Typically, after two days of rallying, my Porterfields were destroyed, worn to the point of being unsafe. With the Yellowstuffs, I can run three to five days of rallying before I need to consider swapping pads. Much better value and performance.
Compared to the EBC Redstuffs: These pads are very similar. Both are rotor-friendly, with no noise and little dust. The benefit of the Yellowstuffs over the Redstuffs is their ability to handle higher temperatures. Although I've never had fade with either pad the Yellowstuffs seem to grab better the hotter they get. I can feel it in the pedal, in the car, and in the feedback from the car when under heavy braking. I have absolute confidence in either compound, but for faster, more aggressive racing events, you will find me running the Yellowstuffs.
Value: I feel these pads are an excellent value - a real bargain. Front and rear EBC pads can be found for less than half what I was paying for the Porterfields. When comparing them to other, similar performace pads, these are the best value I've found. I've gotten five full race days on the same pads and rotors, and I'll probably use them for another day or two before swapping out!
You can learn more about EBC at EBC's website.