The hobby of building cars is no cut-rate venture. Project car owners out there will know this all too well. This may lead to car enthusiasts pursuing more budget-friendly parts to keep the cost of their build down. This, however, is certainly not the ideal solution. Cheap parts are cheap for a reason — they make use of more inexpensive materials, manufacturing is of a lower standard, and ultimately, they don’t last and will lead to more issues than it’s worth. Although many may think that going for cheaper brakes is sufficient for wear-and-tear items, this 2014 GMC Sierra proves that spending a little extra on your pads and rotors up front is worth every extra penny.
Our 2014 GMC Sierra has been a faithful daily companion for five years, having undergone several upgrades – a ProCharger supercharger, a MaxTrac lowering kit, Yokohama tires, and JBA exhaust. As a result, the truck now has the power, the stance, and the handling to put the ‘fun’ in ‘functional,’ perfect for both 0-60 pulls and regular towing.
Now for the next step — brakes. What good is all that power and grip if you can’t actually stop the relatively large 431-horsepower truck? So, the decision to upgrade the brakes using top-quality parts from Hawk Performance wasn’t a particularly tough one to make. But on the other hand, using cheap brake kits can be pretty disastrous. They typically don’t like temperature changes, cheap pads wear out quicker, and most importantly — the more expensive option will certainly stop better than lower quality alternatives, possibly saving lives and costly mishaps.
From stock pads and rotors to Hawk’s LTS brake pads and Talon rotors, we saw a considerable improvement in reliability and performance regarding the stopping power of our GMC. We tested the 60-0 mph on both the old and new setups numerous times, and the results did not disappoint.
The Performance Tests
The first 60-0 mph test showed negligible variance between the stock and Hawk setups, with the stopping distance getting within 10 feet of each other. That 10-foot difference is so minuscule that it can be attributed to driver reactions; it’s safe to assume the result was pretty much identical.
The subsequent test runs showed the Hawk’s significant advantage over stock brakes — boasting a stopping distances within 10 feet of the first Hawk-equipped attempt, which could once again be attributed to the driver’s reaction time. In addition, the brakes suffered no noticeable performance loss after more than one attempt, making the Hawk brake kit more consistent, ultimately safer, and more resistant to extreme temperature change.
On the other hand, the stock brakes suffered a substantial loss in efficiency after the first test run. The increase in stopping distance was no less than 43 feet, more than four times the difference between the Hawk runs. This meant an extra half-a-second in stopping time — enough to be the difference between a crash and avoidance. Nevertheless, the tests speak for themselves, proving the advantage of paying the extra pennies when buying a decent brake kit.
Being a daily workhorse, the ProCharged GMC Sierra often finds itself towing heavy loads, such as our project cars. The Hawk Performance pads and rotors will also assist in stopping that extra weight. Unfortunately, the heavier the load, the more the brakes are used when slowing down. This leads to the brakes having to deal with higher temperatures. In addition, SoCal is filled with climbs and descents, conditions that can often upset weight distribution. As a result, braking, steering, and carrying loads can become just a bit more dangerous. Thankfully, these efficient brakes will give us the confidence we need when hauling big loads down hills and taking on the elevation changes within our daily commutes.
It’s time to race!
After installing the Hawk Performance pads and rotors, the Sierra is ready to tackle anything thrown at it. The truck will continue to be the hard-working daily-driver it was always meant to be, but with the build being complete, the GMC will be destined for greater things. Our Sierra will no longer be a stranger to track days, and thanks to its tires, suspension, supercharger, and brakes, the GMC will produce track times like it never could before! Speaking of times, we finally have the chance to wrap up the drag strip testing. Expect to see our results soon in LSX Mag. All the Sierra needs now is a once-over to make sure it’s track-safe, and she’ll be leaving other trucks in the dust!