As we all get preoccupied with going fast the one thing we need to remember to do is stop. It always starts so innocently: first 13s, then 12s, sooner than later it’s 10s and as you cross the stripe at 135 mph, you realize that you have both feet planted into the brake pedal and nothing is happening.
This cues up one of the most important upgrades you can do to your drag car: better brakes. Now sure, there are plenty of tricks to get you by before you get to this point: better pads, braided lines, maybe even the addition of a better fluid, but all of these will do nothing more than to improve the feel of the brakes. On the other side of the spectrum is the over-the-top, high-dollar drag race setups that will stop you, but at the highest level of available drag brake packages you’re only saving weight, and that double 10-foot parachute system is what is getting you slowed down.
So what about the rest of us? The vast majority of street-driven track cars that weigh over 3500-pounds still have factory master cylinders and, to be quite frank about it, most of us can’t justify spending thousands of dollars on a full-blown brake package intended for a six-figure drag car.
Enter Baer Brakes and their Deep Stage Brake system, featuring four-piston calipers and two-piece rotors that are slotted, along with all of the hardware to put them on in a weekends time. What really set this Baer brake package apart from the others out there is the combination of a lightweight braking system and ease of installation. The package has just about everything one could ask for to make installation a true one-day swap out.
Performance brake packages are nothing new for Baer; after designing and manufacturing kits for just about any type of racing, it was not hard to see how they accumulated the parts and pieces to put this Deep Stage Brake package together. Baer also engineered them to work with the typical wheel and tire size packages on today’s streetcars and drag racing-specific cars.
According to Ben Coley, Technical Support/Sales Specialist for Baer, “our Deep Stage systems were designed to pack a lot of braking power into a small package for 15-inch wheels. Using thick 11-inch slot, cross-drilled, zinc plated rotors these systems were designed specifically for heavy, fast cars that might see street use. They’re available for a wide variety of application, with both front and rear systems available. Baer’s design goal is to provide a product that provides the greatest value for the dollar in the market.”
So let’s go through and see what’s in the box.
The Baer Deep Stage system contains two slotted 11-inch rotors which are a two-piece vented design, and at first glance, it looks like the direction of the vanes are pointed in the wrong direction. However, this is not the case and Baer has thought through and tested this advanced design. The vane is there to not only help cool under the extreme pressure of bringing a 4,000-pound, full body car to a halt but to dissipate that heat quickly enough to safely do their job even in the event of back-to-back runs.
Moving on to the calipers, Baer did not cut any corners at this end of the Deep Stage package either. Not only beautifully machined and built right here in the United States, the parts themselves are also a gem of a piece. Lightweight compared to any factory caliper and available in a spectrum of color combos, Baer gives you both function and form built into every pair. It’s a nice touch that they come with brake pads and installation hardware and fittings with each kit.
So the rotors are great, the calipers are functional and sweet to look at, but how easy do they go on? That could vary by car, but as for this installation, we had a fourth-gen Camaro as a guinea pig, and there were both ups and downs to the process.
In the case of the fourth-gen, we had to first source a set of late ’98-02 spindles from the junkyard—really not a big deal. Then if you have gone this far, you might as well get a new set of bearings: not all that expensive. But lucky for you, Baer makes all these notes inside their comprehensive instructions. If you take the time to read them they will be highly beneficial and possibly save you some headache down the line.
Once you have the old off the new can go on, but as with any project, be prepared for some stumbling blocks. It’s not the products from Baer that are the issue, but rather the untold years of rust, grime and worn parts that could set back the installation time.
We ran into just about all of that, including some very uncooperative strut mount bolts that seemed to have a mind of their own. Now, none of this takes away from the quality of the products from Baer, but it is something worth noting if you take on the task of swapping out your factory setup.
After we bled the system it was time for a test drive. We made a few nose-dive full-pressure stops to bed the system in. The pedal was firm and overall feel was inspiring. While we haven’t had a chance to make it to the 1/4-mile yet, there is already a noticeable difference in the way the brakes are performing. We are confident that at the end of the 1/4-mile we have brakes that will not only scrub off speed just past the stripe but also bring the car to complete stop at the end of the run.
All told the Deep Stage system from Baer was not only easy to install, but it will give you more braking power for that somewhat portly drag car you’re looking to slow once you’ve crossed the stripe.
Bigger rotors, better calipers, and hardware are nothing new to Bear when it comes to putting brake packages together. With the Deep Stage Brake system, you can check “need better brakes” off the list and not drain the bank account in the process. This brake system is a quality product, built right here in the states which will give you the confidence needed when you do start to chase down those single digit time-slips after the thrill ride has ended.