Recently there was an industry article about Porsche’s PCCB (Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake; signified by their yellow calipers) and whether they were the best brakes to use for track days (including high performance driver education, autocross, etc) or those who are heavy-footed on the “slow” pedal. Porsche Australia’s technical representative Paul Watson reported that iron brake discs are recommended over carbon discs for those who are heavy on the brakes or tracking their vehicle. Why? The issue revolves around heat; heat can quickly degrade the carbon fibers in the PCCB discs. The harder you are on the brake pedal, the more friction(heat) builds up, taxing the carbon rotors quicker than iron/steel rotors would be taxed in the same braking scenario.
You might remember long ago that Porsche had stated that PCCB’s could last the lifetime of the vehicle. This could be true for the owner who has the vehicle sitting in a collection and rarely drives it, or who drives light-footed on the brakes. But for spirited drivers and those hard on the brake pedal including during any “track” exercises, PCCB’s may wear out sooner than you anticipated. With replacement costs in the $20k+ range for front and rear, it might make you re-think adorning the sexy PCCB’s on your next Porsche.
So who are PCCB’s probably the best for?
-All-out racecars where the driver wants the lightest unsprung weight for best acceleration and deceleration (calculated in milliseconds), and have the budget for changing out worn brake parts often.
-Those who are light on the brakes and want the unique look of carbon-ceramic rotors and yellow calipers.
-Those who are OCD about keeping their vehicle as clean as possible, as carbon brakes significantly reduce the amount of brake dust accumulating on the wheels/vehicle (although it is important to note that there are ceramic brake pads available for vehicles with iron discs who want to reduce brake dust, but keep in mind ceramic pads typically require a bit more pedal effort to be applied than semi-metallic brake pads do).