Performance Friction Brakes for the Nissan R35 GTR
Written by Mike Cullingford.
Performance Friction Corporation (PFC) has been producing brakes since 1984 from their factory in the USA. They won their first NASCAR race in the same year with their CarbonMetallic pads. Since then PFC have been constantly developing products for various industries – but I want focus on their Motorsport developments. PFC’s disc mounting method was unique with their V1 disc assembly. This then evolved into the V2 disc then the newly designed V3.
Today we’ve got three different disc assemblies off the Nissan R35 GTR – a vehicle with big braking demands from it’s 1740kg weight and 500hp+ engine package. PFC has manufactured V3 disc assemblies for the front but have retained the V2 system for the rear. This is because of the steel hat used on the rear which incorporates an integrated drum (under hat) for the handbrake system.
These pictures are of the Generation 1 R35 equipped with the 380x34mm front discs. The chassis code for this model was CBA (2008-2011). The PFC discs are a factory fit and come as a complete assembly, replacing the factory drilled disc which is prone to cracking with hard use. This is because the drilled holes create high stress points in the disc, and this is where the cracks start and spread from. The factory disc is also a “pillar” core design which means the discs can be used on either side. This reduces costs but it also reduces cooling capacity. The PFC discs come with a curved vane core design which acts as a pump to push air through the core. This cools the discs faster and allows for prolonged use on the circuit.
For the Generation 2 R35 (Chassis code DBA, 2012 onwards), PFC has opted for an upgraded 405mm disc. This replaces the factory 390mm disc for improvement braking performance and longevity. They are also 34mm thick which are slightly thicker than the factory 390mm discs which are 32.6mm. Note that there is no bolts or bobbins with the V3 mounting system, resulting in a super clean look.
These are the spacers that are included with the 405mm V3 front disc assemblies. These move the caliper outwards radially to fit the larger diameter disc.
The PFC V2 rear assembly for both generations of R35 GTR. The hat is made from steel to allow for the retained use of the factory handbrake which is a drum-under-hat system. While using a steel hat is heavier, it means there is no compromise in strength and durability of the handbrake system.
Now lets get to the good stuff! This is what the V3 mounting system looks like from the backside of the disc. It’s such a simple and effective design. These use a three layer snap ring to hold the disc onto the bell/hat. This holds the disc onto the hat firmly to stop rattling and vibrations, but still allows it to move both radially (outwards) and axially (side to side).
Close up of the snap ring with the disc disassembled. The middle layer actually has a wave to it to act as a spring. This ensures the disc is pushed hard against the hat surface to reduce noise and ensure a positive and snug fit.
The machining and tolerances on the anodized aluminium hat is critical to make this V3 mounting system work. If the tolerances are too large, then it will cause excessive hat wear and noisy operation. If the tolerances are too tight, once the disc heats up it will bind in the aluminium. Even though aluminium grows more with temperature than iron, the disc (iron) is exposed to higher temperatures than the aluminium hat.
This shows how the snap ring goes back into the channel in the hat. It’s carefully wedged back into place and pushed as outwards as possible. Note the wavey middle ring section. The PFC V3 system means that discs can be replaced very quickly - within a couple of minutes. Much quicker than tradition bobbin mounting systems. This also means less weight!
Fully assembled the middle section of the wave ring has been compressed. This picture shows off the curved vane design of the disc casting.
Front Pads for the R35 – these work for both Gen1 and Gen2 chassis’. PFC only produce this pad shape in their 08 compound. This compound is suitable for anything from track days to racing, but I would limit the amount of street driving on these pads. They are a full racing pad, typically used for endurance racing. With the braking requirements for the R35 being so heavy, it works well as disc temperature is generated quickly.
To maintain chassis and braking balance, we’ve got the same 08 compound for the rear calipers also. Getting the balance of braking correct is important to make sure one system isn’t being worked harder than the other. Often I see people only upgrading the front pads which leads to instability of the chassis and overloading of the front brake system. The car actually doesn’t stop as efficiently with the front tyre is maximized, but the rear system doesn’t do enough braking.
We have all of these items currently in stock in our shop, feel free to have a look around.
We will continue to expand our PFC stock with popular items. If there is anything you're after that we dont have in stock - we can get these items in quickly from PFC. Please just ask!