A cutaway display shows the internal vane patterns Brembo uses to provide maximum airflow and cooling for its brake discs. (Larry Edsall / Special to The Detroit News)
A little more than a year ago, Germany's highly respected Auto Motor und Sport magazine took the world's highest-performance vehicles and put them through testing.
When it came to braking — from traveling at 62 mph to achieving a full stop — the magazine discovered that 21 of the top 25 vehicles were equipped with brakes produced by Brembo.
Founded in 1961 in Bergamo, Italy, Brembo became known around the world for producing brakes proven by their performance on racing cars and motorcycles. By the 1980s, Brembo had become an original-equipment supplier to some of the world's leading sports car manufacturers, including Ferrari and Porsche. More recently, many more automakers — including those based in Detroit — have equipped their highest performance vehicles with Brembo brakes.
Through its aftermarket production and distribution network, Brembo has made its braking components, even entire braking systems, available for many other vehicles — alphabetically, from an Acura CL to a Volvo V70, or perhaps in the spectrum of vehicle duties, from a Bentley Flying Spur to a Chevy Silverado.
Though based in Italy, some of Brembo's braking components are produced by Brembo North America Inc. in a factory in Homer, Mich.
Brembo parts range from calipers and pads to discs. For example, you can improve your vehicle's braking performance simply by installing a set of Brembo's new sport brake pads.
Brembo says its products are designed to be lighter but stronger than original equipment or aftermarket offerings, with higher thermal capacity and improved brake torque, whether on the track or the street. The company also notes that its components are fully compatible with anti-lock, traction-control and other modern vehicle dynamics and safety technologies.
For those who want to simplify the product selection process, Brembo has developed complete, ready-to-install braking kits.
For example, there are Club Racing brake kits designed for people who take vehicles such as the BMW M3, Dodge Viper, Ford Mustang, Scion FR-S, Subaru STI or Porsche to the track on weekends. These kits are designed to meet SCCA, NASAS, Grand-Am and other sanctioning-body specifications and include cast racing calipers, floating discs, caliper brackets, steel-braided brake lines and other components.
For those who simply want better braking performance on the street, Brembo has what it calls its Gran Turismo or GT braking systems designed for a wide range of vehicles, from hatchbacks to SUVs, from sedans to pickups.
The GT kits are vehicle-specific — for some 800 vehicles — and include bred-on-the-track components including cross-drilled or slotted ventilated discs, aluminum calipers with four, six or eight pistons, high-performance pads, metal-braided hoses, and hardware.
Price start at around $2,000 per axle. More expensive and even higher-performance GT-R kits are available for some vehicle models.
Who are the primary customers for Brembo's aftermarket brakes?
"Enthusiasts," said Brembo's chief North American engineer, Mark Valskis, "from those with Minis and Civics to those with Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
"Some buy them just for the way they look, some for their performance," he added, "but all our brakes are engineered for performance."
For information, visit www.brembo.com.
Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at email@example.com.