Essex Competition Brake System - Subaru BRZ Scion FRS GT86

Essex Competition Brake System - Subaru BRZ Scion FRS  GT86
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  • Manufacturer: AP Racing
  • Condition: New


Please note: For security reasons, Competition Brake Systems can only be shipped to the buyer's billing address.

endurance kit full

Essex Competition Brake System (Endurance)- 2013+ Front BRZ / FR-S / GT86

The Toyobaru collaboration was one of the most anticipated enthusiast cars of the past decade.  Teasers and tidbits trickled in for years, hinting at the potential of what was to come.  The final product seems to have actually delivered on the hype, and a diverse range of sportscar fans are now flocking to these cars.  Most enthusiasts view these cars as a fantastic platform to develop for track days and racing.

These cars were designed from the ground up as a pure sports car.  Light weight, front engine, and rear drive all combine to offer a great driving experience on the street.  On track with sticky tires, they're laying down lap times on par with what are supposed to be much faster cars.  These cars were also designed with the aftermarket in mind.  Many features of the car are rather basic to keep costs down, and the brakes are one of those areas.  They're heavy, not particularly attractive, and leave a lot of performance on the table when track temperatures soar.

Not all brake systems are created equal.  In fact, most “big brake kits” aren’t really suited towards heavy track use either.   While they [usually] increase thermal capacity and may solve small fading issues, they generally aren’t optimized for hardcore track use.  We set out to design a couple of brake packages that can take anything thrown at them...and then some.

Let’s take a look at how the Essex/AP Racing Endurance Competition Brake System sets itself apart from the crowd.

Calipers- AP Racing CP8350 Four Piston Forged


Let's first take a look at the calipers. They are one of the most critical pieces of the system.

Pad Comparison: Sprint, Endurance, and USDM OEM BRZ

Below are some photos that show the differences between the Sprint, Endurance, and FR-S / BRZ OEM brake pad shapes. 

  • On the left is the pad used with our Sprint system.  The particular Ferodo pad shown has a radial depth (height of the friction puck) of 41mm, although a depth of up to 43mm is useable with the Sprint system.
  • The pad in the center is a 50mm radial depth Ferodo pad, which can be used with our Endurance system.  This is possible because the discs used in the Endurance system have a greater radial depth (taller disc face).
  • The pad on the right is the USDM OEM front BRZ pad.

Pad comparison

You can see in the pictures that the pad faces of the Endurance and OEM pads have almost identical surface area, while the Sprint pads are slightly narrower. Many people mistakenly put too much emphasis on pad surface area.  While surface area is an important factor in overall system design, the bigger news is pad volume.

Volume is the length x width x thickness of the pad, and determines how large of a heat sink the pad is.  The friction puck (the material attached to the backing plate) on the Sprint and Endurance pads is roughly 15mm thick, while the puck on the OEM pads is roughly 10mm thick.  That extra 5mm of thickness provides a huge pad volume increase, which is one of the factors that provides additional thermal capacity in the brake system.  Think of the pad as a barrier between the brake disc and the caliper pistons.  All else held equal, a thicker pad provides more material for heat to spread into and dissipate.   The thicker pad will do a better job of insulating the pistons from disc heat (less chance of fade-related issues), and will also wear longer (less frequent pad replacements and lower running costs).

15mm thick friction puck on the pads for our brake systems


The OEM pad friction puck is only 10mm thick

CP8350 pad thickness


OEM Evo pistonSS piston with spring 

Aluminum piston vs. AP Racing machined stainless steel piston  


Simple Pad Change with One Bolt 

bridge bolt closeupbridge holding pads 

After the countless times you’ve changed your brake pads, you’re probably never too excited when it comes time to do so.  Changing pads will no longer be a chore with the CP8350.  No more pulling your OEM caliper off every time you want to swap apds.  AP’s bridge bolt pops out easily with a 5mm hex wrench and a 7mm socket.  It will take you longer to pull off the wheel than it will to change pads.  Less time futzing around in the paddock, and more time driving= fun.

Pistons Sized Specifically for the BRZ / FR-S / GT86  

The piston sizes for our system were specifically chosen for the FT86 platform, and have very little impact on the front to rear brake bias.  That means our front system can be bolted to an otherwise stock brake system with no ill-effects, negative impact on ABS, etc.  The vehicles stock master cylinder can remain, as can the OEM rear brake system.

Compact, Ultra-lightweight Package

Our brake system follows a simple philosophy: Anything larger than necessary to get the job done is simply dead weight to drag around.

OEM frt caliperOEM frt cal brckt

OEM caliper & bracket = 11.6 lbs.

CP8350 and Evo bracket

CP8350 and Lancer Evo bracket shown above (FR-S bracket will weigh almost the same) = 5.6 lbs.

Lifetime Professional Reconditioning Service 

Caliper disassemblyCaliper cleaning 

Now let’s take a look at some real racing calipers. 

The caliper we're using in our Essex Competition Brake Systems is the AP Racing CP8350.  This caliper was designed to be ultra-lightweight, stiff, and durable under all track conditions.  The finish we chose is a hard anodizing.  Hard anodizing is the business under track conditions.

The result is a finish that is far more appropriate for racetrack use.  Anodizing creates a uniform surface that is much more abrasion resistant than paint or powder coat.  That means if you ding an anodized caliper with a box wrench when bleeding it, a big chunk of the finish isn’t going to chip off into your hand.  While anodized calipers will still exhibit minor color shift, it will take a lot more heat to get them to change, and they won’t change as dramatically.  They will go from semi-ugly grey, to a semi-ugly grey-brown (see below).  In short, they’ll look like the race calipers they are.  More importantly though, you aren’t going to have bits of anodizing sticking to the sides of your pistons.

finish closeupAnodize color shift

Please do keep in mind however, that every yellow AP logo is hand painted on the caliper.  It will degrade over time, particularly if you slop brake fluid all over it.  Our customers asked us for something with at least a little visual punch and some brand recognition, so we had to offer them this token.  Also keep in mind that an anodized finish is not designed to be driven through road salt.

Discs- AP Racing CP3908 Heavy Duty J Hook Racing

evo hat and disc

Two-piece Floating Design with Aluminum Hat

As is the case with most metal, iron brake discs grow substantially when heated.  As it is heated, a disc expands radially, increasing in diameter and circumference.  One-piece disc designs run into problems when this occurs.   Look at the picture below and imagine the disc is being heated on the track.  As the disc expands, the outer edges of the disc are pulling away from the center of the disc, but there are no built-in provisions to allow for that expansion.  The edges of the disc therefore pull, lift, and distort, which is called coning.  Now imagine that disc vertical on the car, running in your caliper.  Coning directly impacts the brake pads’ contact with the disc, leading to uneven wear and tapering, and even a long brake pedal.

 evo disc assembly 2

Two-piece discs on the other hand, compensate for the expansion of the disc as it heats.  This is accomplished by building ‘float’ into either the disc itself, or the disc hat/bell.  In this case, the float is in the disc.  If you look closely at the picture below, you can see that the mounting holes for the hat attachment bobbins are not round.  They are an oblong shape.  These channels allow the hat mounting hardware to slide as the disc is heated and expands, allowing the disc to run true in the caliper without distortion.  That means less distortion, stress cracks, and pad taper.

 coning oem disc

Radial expansion 

Bobbin sliding 

bobbin sliding 2 

Bobbin sliding 

If you look closely at the mounting hardware, you’ll notice a few other details that are often overlooked in lesser products.  These components are specially made for their intended purpose.  These are not cheap bolts found at your local big box store.  They are custom made in the USA for Essex and AP Racing, and they are the exact same components we use on professional racing products.

Mounting hardware 

Two-piece discs also have the added benefit of reducing heat conduction to the hubs and bearings, decreasing wear and tear on these costly components.

Please keep in mind that fully floating, two-piece discs do come at a small price.  You will likely notice some rattling and noise from the discs while driving them cold.  The rattling usually diminishes as the discs heat and expands.  On the plus side, you know that you have a true floating disc, and all of the benefits that go with it.  Many competitive products don’t build much, or any, float into their discs, which limits the realized benefits.

The disc hats themselves are manufactured from 2024-T351 heat-treated billet aluminum, with a hard anodized coating.  This material was specifically chosen for its strength at high temperatures, as it will be in direct contact with the searing hot iron discs.  The hats feature scallops on the underside, to allow for heat evacuation along the outer disc face once installed.

Evo hat topEvo hat bottom 

 Vane Design

 The OEM FT86 discs use an internal vane design known as a pillar vane, or island vane design.  The primary design objective behind a pillar vane disc is stability and a low production cost.  The discs are not handed or directional.  In other words, the left and right side discs can be swapped on the vehicle.  The reason for this is that the discs are not designed to optimize airflow in any particular direction.  They are inefficient at moving air, and this type of design is also heavy.

BRZ OEM disc air gap
Air inlet J Hook 


Even though the AP Racing CP3908 is substantially larger than the OEM FT86 front disc, the weight with hat is almost identical (roughly 17 lbs.)

OEM frt FT86 disc

Evo disc weight
Lancer Evo hat shown, but weighs roughly the same as the FT86 hat

Exclusive AP Racing J Hook slot pattern 

J hook closeup

When you cut a slot or drill a hole in a disc you impact heat transfer. The area around the slot or hole acts as a cool spot when the disc heats up, which is not ideal. Ideally, heat is distributed uniformly around the disc so it can be hit with the cooling air that is pumping through the disc, radiate outwards away from the disc, etc.  Cool spots create stress risers and increase the likelihood of the disc cracking. They also cause the face of the disc to distort unevenly, leading to uneven pad deposits, vibration, and judder.

The OEM discs avoid this problem by simply leaving the face blank.  While the risk for NVH goes down, so does the pad bite and feel of the disc through the brake pedal.

During exhaustive R&D testing, AP's J Hook design was found to create a constant pathway of evenly distorted material on the face of the disc.  The hooks are spaced out as evenly as possible both around the circumference of the disc, as well as from the inside edge (where the hat attaches) to outer edge, with a slight overlap to promote even heat distribution/distortion. In addition to reducing cracking, the even heating of the disc also helps provide an even transfer layer of pad material on the disc when you bed them in.

Additionally, the J Hook slot pattern produces a greater number of leading edges for the pads to bite into vs. a traditional curved slot pattern, and particularly a plain-faced disc.  While this may lead to slightly more whirring or scraping noises from the discs when applying the brakes, the benefits of more even heat distribution, less propensity to crack, cleaner pad material transfer during bed-in, and more bite far outweigh the slight increase in NVH for the serious enthusiast.

Feature: Complex metallurgy developed through 50+ years of experience 

AP Racing has been designing brake components for more than 50 years.  They've had their components on cars that have won more than 600 grand prix's (Formula 1).  On any given race weekend, AP J Hook discs can be found on 75% or more of the NASCAR Sprint Cup grid.  AP has learned from these experiences, and have developed a proprietary iron alloy with extreme durability, designed specifically for what you intend to do with it (flog the hell out of it).

J hook metal

Reasonable replacement cost 

Let's face it, no matter how good a brake disc is, it's still a consumable item.  They're no different than brake pads or gasoline.  You beat them up until they crack to pieces, then you throw them away.  If replacement iron is too expensive, you're always driving in fear, waiting to shell out big bucks for a new set.  Despite having the most expansive set of features on the market, the 325x32mm Heavy Duty J Hook's retail for a budget-friendly $249 each.

Going to the track is expensive!   Event entrance fees, hotels, fuel, and tires all add up.  While you obviously want the best product available, you can't afford to pay a small fortune for something you're just going to destroy.  You can buy a set of cheap, heavy, OEM-style repalcement discs every so often, but you're much more likely to have heat-related brake issues, and you'll find yourself swapping them out much more frequently.  When you do the math, the long-term value of the AP J Hook's is tough to beat.  You'll enjoy all the benefits without breaking the bank, and you'll spend more time driving and less time wrenching.

Elite level teams choose AP Racing discs because they know the work has been done to provide the best available product at any price level.  The AP Heavy Duty J Hook is a direct derivative of AP's vast racing experience.  You can buy with confidence knowing that you're getting the best product available at any price point.  A note of caution however: the J Hook design is often imitated, and there are a number of lesser quality imitations on market.  Before purchasing, make sure you are getting an authentic AP Racing J Hook!

Caliper Bracket with Integrated Brake Duct Provision 

Caliper brackets for our system are machined from heat-treated 6061 T6 billet aluminum, and hard anodized, ensuring strength and durability.  Our Endurance System caliper bracket comes with a built-in provision to attach brake ducting, an industry first.  The brake duct adapter provides a solid, convenient mount for attaching duct hose, and feeds cooling air exactly where it should go: into the center of the disc.  The duct attachment system comes as a separate piece, and does not need to be attached if ducts are not being run.

Spiegler Stainless Steel Brake Lines 

Spiegler line pair high res

For our FT86 system, Essex is including a pair of the highest quality brake lines currently available.  These lines have a wide range of features not available in competitive offerings.  Below are just a few.  From complete details please visit the Spiegler page on our site.  Also, matching Spiegler rear FT86 lines are available.





All components manufactured in USA and Europe


Stringent and consistent quality control


Stress-free Torsion Fitting System


Allows 360 degree rotation of banjo fitting for correct alignment and strain reduction


Abrasion resistant coating/sheath


Eliminates snagging and chafing


Aircraft quality stainless steel fittings and bolts


Superior strength, longevity, and safety


Heavy gauge, tightly woven stainless steel braid


Eliminates line swell, more consistent feel


Du Pont PTFE- Teflon® lining


Reduces line expansion and provides greater durability


DOT compliant


Quality assurance, road legal


Wide range of colors


Allows for personalization


Standard and custom designs shipped in 48 hours


No more waiting around for lines to show up


Full testing battery on all parts, with lifetime warranty


Purchase and drive with confidence


Evo system line kit

Summary and Conclusion 

Based on everything we’ve learned during development, we believe our Endurance System offers our customers the following advantages over the OEM BRZ / FR-S / GT86  brake system:  

  • 5 lbs. unsprung weight reduction from both front corners of the car.  Ten lbs. total are removed from the nose of the car, improving front to rear weight balance.
  • Incredible array of inexpensive race pad options at prices that are substantially lower per set than the OEM pad shape.  The 20mm pads are 50% thicker than stock, providing far greater wear resistance and insulation for your calipers.
  • Extremely compact package for low moment of inertia, lowest possible weight, and superior wheel fitment
  • Two-piece, fully floating, high airflow, heavy duty AP Racing J Hook brake discs that weigh the same as the OEM units, despite being substantially larger.  Available at an extremely competitive replacement price ($249 each).
  • Disc metallurgy specifically designed to handle the temps typically seen on track offers a long service life, and low long-term running costs
  • Stainless steel pistons that keep heat out of your brake fluid to resist fluid fade during extended track sessions
  • Mitigation of pad knockback due to 4lb. anti-knockback springs in the calipers
  • Less chance of damaging bleed screws or crossover tubes when changing wheels due to built-in protection
  • Anodized caliper finish that is more resistant to wear and deterioration
  • Stainless steel caliper hardware for a long caliper service life under frequent pad change conditions
  • High temperature, low drag seals that will hold up to track temps better than OEM components= less rebuilding and longer service life
  • No dust boots to burn up and make a big mess
  • Simple pad change with one bolt 
  • Lifetime professional caliper rebuilding support by Essex (at a fee)- pull off your calipers, send them to us, we clean, inspect, and rebuild them
  • AP Racing J Hook slot design that gives more pad bite/feel, and distributes heat evenly throughout the disc
  • Highest quality, Spiegler stainless steel brake line with clear sheath that reduces compliance over OEM rubber design.

Endurance vs. Sprint System Comparison

  • Sprint system is roughly 10 lbs. lighter per corner than stock, while Endurance system is approximately 5 lbs. lighter per corner than stock
  • Endurance System comes with built-in provision for connecting brake ducts
  • Endurance system uses slightly larger disc, with a higher internal vane  count
  • Aluminum hats on Endurance discs are floating, while hats on Sprint discs are bolted
  • Actual disc metallurgy the same for both kits, although spare discs for Sprint system are about $100 cheaper (each)...$200 less for the pair.
  • Slightly taller pads can be used on the Endurance package, giving greater pad volume and longer wear characteristics
    • Any pad  that works in the Sprint System will also work in the Endurance package
  • Both kits will fit under certain 17" wheels, but neither will fit OEM wheels without a spacer.  Wheel fitment templates available on our site.

Differences are in bold below:

Essex FT86 Competition Brake System Comparison Grid

Endurance System

Sprint System



Total system weight savings vs. OEM= 10 lbs.

Total system weight savings vs. OEM= 20 lbs.

Weight savings per front corner vs. OEM= 5 lbs.

Weight savings per front corner vs. OEM= 10 lbs.



AP Racing CP3908 Disc

AP Racing CP3862 Disc

325mm x 32mm

299mm x 32mm

70 Directional Vanes

60 Directional Vanes

J Hook Slot Pattern

J Hook Slot Pattern

Fully floating

Fixed mount

Crack-resistant metallurgy

Crack-resistant metallurgy

Approximate weight with hat= 17.6 lbs.

Approximate weight with hat= 12.2 lbs.

Spares Price= $249 per iron replacement disc

Spares Price= $158 per iron replacement disc



Brake pad maximum radial depth 50mm

Brake pad maximum radial depth 43mm

Endurance wheel fitment template

Sprint wheel fitment template


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Price $2,599.00