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Better Braking Through Chemistry

July 29, 2008

You don't have to be a fan of Formula 1 to appreciate its technological marvels. Today's production cars are loaded with formerly cutting-edge engineering thanks to its high-risk, high-dollar racing programs. Among the latest F1 technology to make it into the hands of mere mortals are ceramic composite brakes, or CCBs (sometimes referred to as carbon-ceramic brakes).

Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are among those currently offering CCB. The 2009 Corvette ZR1 will be equipped with CCB, and there's talk that the 2010 Nissan GT-R V Spec will go the same route.

Porsche was the first to make CCB available (which it calls PCCB) on a production car, as optional equipment on the 2001 911 GT2. And the 2008 Boxster S, with its base list price of $55,700, is the most affordable path to CCB currently on the market — although the PCCB option will run you an additional $8,150. That's right: In the brave new world of CCB, "entry level" is north of $60 grand.

Considering the hefty price of admission to the CCB club, the question is: Do ceramic composite brakes live up to the hype?


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© 2008 peter j. wolf