Simple fact – Pearl isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Despite being in hibernation for most of 2018 while I played lightweight high revving Honda games, Nissan is and always has been where my heart lies.
After completing Build v3.0 in late 2018, the need for any other substantial purchase seemed very distant. Power and the reliability to support such power had been attended to so if anything required some thought, it would be the handling and brake to bring back Pearl to her optimal state.
There were a few items on the cards such as coilovers, a fancy splitter or new wheels but something that caught my eye recently has been the D2 big brake kits since recently launching in Australia.
The most recent brake setup on Pearl is nowhere near lacking, Evo Brembo calipers paired with Evo X 350mm rotors up front with rear Skyline 2 pots equipped with Intima Type-Dv2 pads pull the Silvia up with ease.
After doing some research on their current big brake kit range and actually seeing them in person, the temptation to make the plunge was strong.
I’ve seen the older 2 piece caliper models and compared to those, the current 1 piece forged monoblock model is a big step forward – quality and workmanship is unreal with no shortcuts and cheap components.
One unexpected bonus was that there was actually a weight saving of the 6 pot caliper that came in the 356x32mm kits compared to the 4 pot Brembo caliper, almost a good 1kg each side.
Bigger caliper yet lighter weight? Yes please!
Every reduction of unsprung weight adds up which was one of the reasons for switching to the lightweight Prodrive GC010E forged track wheels in place of the heavy OEM 370Z wheels (8kg vs 13kg per wheel).
The D2 calipers utilise the AP racing and Brembo pad profiles so finding replacement parts wouldn’t be an issue, they included Intima Type-dv2 pads anyway so no need to worry about sourcing pads initially and in the future!
The only concern I had and I’m sure most other people will have when embarking down the D2 decision path is questioning the quality and longevity of the Taiwan manufactured brake kit.
Personally for me, this wasn’t a showstopper as I know of many good brands that come out of Taiwan – even the brands the general public doesn’t know are manufactured in Taiwan.
Seeing the kits in person and knowing plenty of local circuit cars running the D2 and their rebranded variants for years without any dramas helps with making the decision easier.
Moreso helped by discovering there are big name time attack cars in Japan also running the D2 brake kits with great success such as Top Secret, Kurumadoh, Pro Shop Screen and Car Shop Dream Lotas which did a 1:30.8440 at WTAC 2017.
Time to bite the bullet!
Getting the optimal size whilst retaining braking balance was important so for the fronts the 356x32mm 6 pot 2 piece floating rotor kit was chosen paired with the 330x32mm 4 pot floating 2 piece rotor kit on the rear.
There are a myriad of colour options which is nice to see but I stuck with the standard red caliper and black centre hat colours.
The brake kit itself came very well packaged, it was a pleasant experience opening all the boxes within to reveal the goodies.
The star of the show – the caliper, was indeed a beauty. The little touches such as the titanium finish anti-rattle clip and bolts, carbon pressed logo and overall finish echoed money well spent.
As with all new overnight parts, I couldn’t contain myself and proceeded to install the new brake kit as soon as I could lock away a few hours.
Everything was a breeze and all parts bolted up perfectly. The dust shields required more trimming so the adaptors could clear which isn’t a big deal but otherwise it was very straightforward with no surprises.
A lengthy installation was included just in case anyway with some expected Engrish moments.
Installation per axle takes about 2-3 hours, most likely quicker if you’re not taking photos and sitting back every 5 minutes gleaming in admiration – and if you don’t snap a brake line like I did with the rears!
Some moron decided loctite or the hulk was required to tighten the rear brake lines to the hard line so there was no other choice but to cut and reflare, a good learning but time consuming process.
Packing up the Evo Brembos and 2 pot Sumitomos you can really notice the weight differences. Despite the obvious size difference, the D2 forged calipers are noticeably lighter. Although this was expected based on my research, until you compare side by side it doesn’t really sink in.
Last step was flushing out all the bubbles each side with some spare ATE SuperBlue 2000 brake fluid and then a solid initial bed in on the street.
As expected, there were bucketloads of stopping power even just cruising around to bed them in. The real test however, is at the track!
Luddenham was the track of choice and on a quiet day in early March, the S15 was ready to shake off the cobwebs and make some noise.
The day was really only meant to be a shakedown to get the driver and car reacquainted but after a few laps Pearl was in the mood so we went into maximum attack mode.
For a relatively short track (<1 minute laps and 1.4km), it was surprisingly quite technical and highly enjoyable. With a mixture of hairpins, elevations and straights, I believe it actually puts the car and drivers capabilities to the test more so than Wakefield.
Smashing out 5-8 hotlaps per session on a 30 degree day were absolutely no issue for the brakes, never did I feel lack of confidence or stopping power. Fade was non existent which was a surprise as this track actually demanded high amounts of continuous braking performance with a quick accelerating Silvia tackling hairpin after hairpin.
The brakes continually responded to my call to dive deeper and push back those braking points, even if it was nerve racking braking into a crest with all that weight shifting around.
As with the throttle, this track demanded delicate input to the middle pedal as well which the D2 brake kit happily responded to.
The only thing that did give up was the brake fluid which at times made the pedal a tad mushy.
Times kept dipping and for a first timer at this track, anything below 55 seconds is worthy. To my glee, hitting a best time of 52.799 for the day was humbling.
With the S15 back into tip top shape and with a braking setup that is now nothing short of amazing, Wakefield and SMSP is on the cards ASAP!
The long standing 1:06.6 Wakefield PB for Pearl needs to get beaten, it’s been too long.
So was the D2 big brake kit worth it? 100% worth it.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the stock 4 pot Sumitomo setup, it’s proven to work quite well with some good pads. The Evo Brembo swap takes the braking setup one step further with more stopping power and pad longevity.
The D2 big brake kit however, is absolutely next level. The braking feel, consistency and stopping power when paired with the included Intima Type-D v2.0 pads is nothing short of confidence inspiring.
Sure I could have splashed a bit more on an Endless, Stoptech or AP Racing big brake kit which has the extra “oomph” factor but when you consider the price difference for something on a similar performance and quality level, I’m more than happy with my D2 big brake kit.
I will be hitting up Wakefield and SMSP soon so will update this post further with my results.
Check out d2race.com.au to find your D2 brake kit!