Hawk HP Plus Brake Pads – Street, Autocross, and Track!

Hawk HP Plus Sport PadsI’ve been writing up quite a number of reviews lately, based on products that I’ve purchased for my STi. One area that is often overlooked in the car tuning world is brakes. Sure, your car can have great power, but none of that matters if you can’t slow down in an appropriate¬†manner. (and by appropriate, I mean not being a noob and cooking your pads at the track)

So, why not spend $150 and invest in some brake upgrades? The easiest upgrade by far is a new set of brake pads.

For me, it all started when I did my first HPDE. (High Performance Driving Event, also known as a track day) My first time out, I was on the stock OEM Brembo pads. Stock fluid as well, but I had bleed the brakes a few days prior to my event. (to get rid of any excess air bubbles in the lines)

The day proved to be quite enjoyable, although towards the end of the day my brake pedal started to get a bit mushy. That’s when it hit me: street pads on a track isn’t the greatest idea. They’re known to overheat easily, depending on driving style, and I was experiencing this first hand. I took it easy on the brakes for the rest of the day.

Fast forward a few weeks later, I decided to sign up for another HPDE, my 2nd one. (the first time was just too much fun) Although this time I decided that I wanted to prepare my brakes, and wanted to do it right.

I began reading on all of the forums, most notably IWSTI, and a bit of NASIOC. Brake pad reviews can be very subjective sometimes. A little bit of noise to you, can be considered completely silent to someone else. I weighed these factors, but more importantly, I weighed the review trends. (ie: Most people think this pad dusts way too much, etc)

After doing lots of research, I ended up buying a set of Hawk HP+ brake pads from The Tire Rack. I opted for new sets both front and rear. The Hawk HP Plus pads are considered to be an aggressive street pad, capable of light track duty. After ordering the Hawk HP Plus brake pads, they arrived at my door step no more than 3 days later.

For those of you who haven’t done so before, swapping brake pads out on an STi is a piece of cake. Therefore as soon as I got them, I threw them on. Brake pads can take a few cycles to be fully broken in, (also known as “bedding”) and I wanted to make sure they were ready to go for my next event.

The second HPDE went very well, and the pads showed absolutely no signs of fade at all. One thing that probably helped a lot as well is that I bled the lines this time using ATE Superblue brake fluid. This fluid has much higher wet and dry boiling points, and therefore can take the added heat from track duty.

After the track event, I decided to leave the pads on, as I had an autocross event coming up the following weekend. During this time, I daily drove on the Hawk HP Plus brake pads for about a week. (work commute, errands, etc) My autocross event finally arrived, but I didn’t have to change anything brake-wise, as the pads were already on the car.

I soon found that these were excellent autocross pads. The first turn of the course, I had a bit of trouble, because my car was cold, and so were my pads. As soon as I braked, the pads quickly warmed up and were ready for action. The rest of the course was an absolutely blast. The Hawk HP Plus pads stop the car very well, and are very confidence inspiring. Throughout the day, I found myself going into corners and elements of the course much faster than I normally would. From my perspective, the giant confidence boost is created by the fact that these pads have such a hard bite.

After the autocross event, I found myself leaving them on my car for the rest of the summer, even for DD duty.

Dust? Sure, they may dust a bit, but it wasn’t as bad as the stock pads in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, the dust is certainly there, but what else can you expect from a track-worthy pad?

Noise? A tiny bit. I’ve found that if I haven’t washed my wheels in more than 2 weeks, they will begin to whine a tiny bit. They also whine sometimes when coming to a stop using light pressure. Solution for me? Apply more pressure, and come to a quicker stop. (safely of course!)

Overall, the Hawk HP Plus brake pads are an excellent choice for an STi that will see street, autocross, and even the track! Sure, there are other pads out there made by Endless, Pagid, and others, but the cost of them is much higher. For around $150 for both front and rear sets, you can’t really go wrong.

Interested in picking up a set, or reading more reviews ? Check them out by clicking here: Hawk HP Plus Sport Pads

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