Disc brakes where first patented by Lanchester in 1902 but it was not until the series of spectacular Jaguar wins at Le Mans in the 1950’s that their advantages were clearly demonstrated to designers and users alike. Their comparatively less tendency to “fade” compared to the Drum Brakes when braking from high speeds enabled the Jaguar drivers to brake later at each corner and thereby improve their lap times. Adoption of disc brakes for cars was initially inhibited by the high costs of low volumes production, aggravated by the fact that a booster often became necessary because disc brakes produce less torque for a given input effort. Consistency of performance remains the principal reason for the widespread adoption of disc brakes.
The actuation of brakes was mechanical; cable-actuated brakes were prone to sticking and seizing when corroded. Next came the hydraulic actuation, which was easier to modulate, and provided more force per square inch than mechanical systems. Hydraulic systems are broadly used nowadays.
Learn the Types of Brakes & how disc brakes differ from drum brakes. Find out what types of brakes your car has at Firestone Complete Auto Care.
All these cars feature serious engine performance, but what goes fast should also stop fast. Since brakes slow cars down using friction, they also tend to get extremely hot and can deteriorate in terms of performance. Carbon ceramic brakes are actually designed to withstand the usual intense heat that occurs during braking. According to Brembo, this heat resilience cannot be easily replicated with the usual cast iron materials found in most brakes.