Project Fiesta ST - Improving the Brakes with a Gold Coast Automotive Big Brake Kit and a Ford Racing Brake Controller

by Mike Kojima

When we last left off, our Project Focus ST had gotten a new set of coilovers from ST Suspension and a few other bits from mountune. Well, the owner of our car has just gotten the track day bug and decided to take the Fiesta ST off the street and build a race car out of it.  The car has been getting converted to a real race car at SPD Motorsports and part of that conversion has been upgrading the brakes to bigger units from Gold Coast Automotive with some electronic help from Ford Racing.

Gold Coast Automotive is a race shop run by the Lapp family.  Ryan Lapp has been carving out a reputation for the last few years as one of the fast guys for Ford Compacts in road racing with NASA and in TIme Attack.  Ryan's dad Mark contacted us to see if we wanted to run the brake system he had developed for Ryan's time attack running Fiesta ST.and we eagerly replied yes!

The Gold Coast Automotive Big Brake Kit is unique in that it uses the stock Fiesta ST stock sliding calipers with much bigger rotors.

Read More About Project Fiesta ST

The new Gold Coast Automotive front rotor dwarfs the stock front rotor at a huge 326mm compared to the stock 278mm.  The larger rotor gives more thermal mass and more swept area as well as giving the caliper more leverage on the tire contact patch.  The big rotor should make a significant difference in both fade resistance and overall stopping power.
The rear Gold Coast Automotive rotor is a huge 280mm vs the stock 253mm.  With all the advantages listed for the front rotors, the Gold Coast Automotive rotors are also drilled and slotted to help evacuate vaporized brake pad material for improved braking at high temperatures.  The drilled holes are chamfered to reduce the chances of cracking during race use. The Lapps' race cars haven't had much problem with cracking so we are not too worried.  The rotors are chromated for rust resistance and have a unidirectional ground finish to help facilitate pad break in.
These brackets move the stock calipers outward radially to accommodate the larger rotors.  The front brackets are machined from billet aluminum and the rear brackets are direct replacements from a larger Ford car.
These spacers move the front rotors outboard so the rotors' friction surface is in the same position as stock even though the rotor is slightly wider than stock.
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Monday, March 09, 2015 1:20 PM
That drill/slot pattern will do wonders for pad sales, as opposed to one that is correctly laid out.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, March 09, 2015 1:37 PM
I doubt it will make any significant difference in pad wear.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Monday, March 09, 2015 3:12 PM
I read through this late last night and was awed by the well engineered and affordable package(at least the rears I found on their site) this makes. It would be a smart move to utilize stock calipers in many of these bigger brake upgrades. Wish you'd see more of these options.
Monday, March 09, 2015 9:30 PM
There's a ton of kits that relocate stock calipers, but IIRC a lot are through smaller vendors-- Fastbrakes, forum group buys after someone figures it out (some of the road racing forums are pretty clever at this), etc.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 12:33 PM
Mike, actually it does make a significant difference. It shows up mostly as severe grooving, which these rotors will clearly do to pads, as well as the rotors themselves. Grooves also lead to excessive noise and, when severe enough, sticking pads. Seen it every time over many, many years. If one is going to do a slot and/or drill pattern, it really doesn't take any more effort to do it right. Of course, one can always change parts out earlier than should be necessary.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 3:31 PM
I have run tons of cars with grooved and drilled rotors on everything from street to full race cars for many years and have never had any issues othet than cracking drilled rotors on race cars. Never an issue with street cars. Drilled rotors might make a barely perceptable whirring noise and slotted don't make,any noise difference. Never noticed much difference in wear either. Rotor and pad composition make a way more significant difference in wear.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 2:42 PM
Not to perpetuate a senseless argument, yet I have (in a professional environment) seen and evaluated many thousands of worn rotor and pad combinations over 25 years. Yes, it makes a difference far more often than not, as long as one is talking about the same rotor and pad compound. It's not the presence of "an issue", it is the uneven thermal ramp-up caused by having leading edges hitting the same annular region repeatedly. There are better ways to set up a drill and/or slot pattern to promote even wear across the pad and avoid grooving the rotors prematurely. If you look at production cars (and bikes) with factory drilled rotors, they all follow this logic for the same reason -- test results. Every single one of them.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 11:49 PM
I have never seen much differential wear (in a professional motorsports environment) due to drilled holes, a small bit perhaps that was noticeable only when the rotor needed replacing. If the holes are staggered it makes a slight difference of a slight phenomena. Slots have no effect on the evenness rotor wear what so ever and maybe under some conditions might cause slightly faster pad wear. This drill pattern is not going to create an "oh my god my rotors wore out instantly" situation and I would not think twice about that when putting them on a car. For a race car I would prefer to runs slotted rotors over drilled from a cracking standpoint. For a street car there is little benefit to any of this other than for looks.
Thursday, March 12, 2015 12:30 AM
Yes, in a professional environment, the holes are drilled correctly and cause nearly no wear differential across the pad face. Improper drill patterns leave different and varied results. I have long preferred J-hook, crescent shaped or even dimpled features for race rotors. They give just about the same initial bite as cross-drilling, yet without the cracking concerns. Slots are second best for bite, yet do accelerate pad wear a bit, although evenly. On the street, cracking only occurs with crappy rotors and/or massively stupid driving techniques. I've used them for years without cracking a single one, even while melting wheel center cap retainers off (oops). However, the higher *initial bite* can still be felt (harshness) and measured in reduced stopping distances. Merc, BMW, Porsche, GM and more all have quantified this (along with Alcon, AP Racing, Brembo, PFC and more, including myself during back-to-back testing), and there is least one SAE paper on the topic by GM, which directly led to the C5 Z06 getting drilled rotors from the factory. If you want to freak a pro driver out (like many need yet another reason...), have him/her qualify on drilled rotors, then switch out to slots for morning warmup without telling them! I have not done that, but I do know drivers who almost ended up in the first corner barrier after not getting the memo. You can no longer convince them drilled rotors don't bite (in the good sense of the word). The pad face comes up to temp a lot quicker *from cold* due to the additional leading edges, which does matter for many performance-oriented street/enthusiast pads with their hotter sweet spot, not so much with junk, rubber-filled stock pads. It's the same reason we used to slot pads with a hacksaw in the pits on tracks with long straights leading to hard braking zones (Road America, Daytona RC). Also, the additional cooling affect is oversold. It only becomes a measurable factor at higher temps -- above 1200°F core -- where drilled rotors really shouldn't be used anyway.
Thursday, March 12, 2015 10:17 AM
That Ford Racing ABS module sounds like a great addition.

Is this the same part on their website? The Ford Racing site lists the abs module for B spec racing...which isn't for the ST.

Paul Mather
Paul Matherlink
Saturday, June 25, 2016 5:31 AM
Hi, we are running a 2006 Mk6 Fiesta ST in the UK - looking for a racing ABS module does anyone know if the one in the article is suitable - or did Ford Racing do one for that year of car - thanks for your help anyone. Paul
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