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Discussion Starter #1
So, I've been wondering about Ferrari's recent decision to make carbon ceramic brakes standard on its cars for the 2008 model year. Being a bit of a car nut (massive understatement), I realized I didn't really know much about carbon ceramic brakes. The four Ferraris I've owned personally and/or through Club Sportiva have all had steel brakes.

So I thought, I need to get some answers on this topic. I've heard lots of stories, rumors and hearsay, but I wanted the facts that I can quote to people without spreading further misinformation. To accomplish this, I met with Lenny Peake, head mechanic at Ferrari of Silicon Valley for a post on my blog.

Here is the overview:
- The proper term is carbon ceramic brakes (not simply carbon)
- The proper term is carbon ceramic disc (instead of steel rotor)
- The pads and rotors are both made of carbon ceramic compound
- There is no brake dust (nice little benefit!)
- They stop in essentially the same distance as traditional disc brakes
- Their true upside is tremendous all around stopping performance that simply does not fade under heavy use
- The pads need replaces about as often as regular pads
- The discs are technically meant to be replaced after two pad replacements
- Ferrari sales does say "for the life of the car" but they define "life" as the time frame of the average owner
- The current carbon ceramic brakes don't squeak like the first gen did under cold/wet/low speed conditions due to a pad compound change
- Carbon ceramic pads cost about $1,500 extra (front and rear) over normal pads (a 71% price premium)
- Carbon ceramic discs replacement cost is $28,000 (front and rear) (a whopping 1,900% price premium over steel) down from their original price of $40,000 when first introduced
- The rotors are fairly fragile and can be chipped by flying rocks if you get off the road/track and then the whole pair needs replaced
- Lots of other data in the article that can't be put in quick bullet points

It is good that we all know the basic details. This puts us in the small minority of experts. I posted a full article on my blog about this topic with a lot more valuable info and photos. Hope you enjoy it if you have a moment. If you want to learn more, please take a few minutes to visit the blog post:
http://sportscars.clubsportiva.com/2008/06/ferrari-carbon-ceramic-brakes-expert.html

The real question becomes, as Ferrari nuts, are we better off that Ferrari made carbon ceramic brakes standard? We are still paying the $18,000 retail sticker price, it is now just baked into the base price of the car. Sure, if money is no object, why not. But let's face it, no one wants to spend money needlessly. If the Ferrari will be tracked a lot, it is certainly money well spent. What about the rest of us who don't live on a track or have oodles of extra cash? And the ongoing service cost? In future years, changing the discs will be WORSE than a major service on pretty much any Ferrari today...

I am curious what everyone thinks on this interesting topic.
 

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Interesting question indeed. If you are buying an F430 new you are on the wait list, which means you have money and the extra $18k is peanuts in the grand scheme.

More braking = safer (to some degree), so I am all for it being standard.
 

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Perfect Point Torbin. The first moment I heard that Ferrari was putting carbon disks to all models I was thinking: "They create a cash flow machine".

I had an accident in Monza in 2005 with my Stradale and had to replace both disks on the back axle (although only one was broken) and I encountered pricewise what many now will on they're regular daily use Ferrari's. I think that it is a total stupidity to "force" everybody into buying a car with a additional $ 20'000 price tag on it until the car has driven 50'000 kilometers just for the need to replace these disks. If one may still decide to choose his cars disks individually as before thats fine for me but not as now. Honestly, most Ferrari drivers are very, very seldom on the track. The advantages of carbon disks are therefore very low. As a matter of fact I believe that in normal day to day use, steel disks a braking better as long as the carbon disk is not at the right hot temperature. Talking with half professional drivers running the 430 Challenge around the tracks every 2nd week, they told me that they changed the disks very fast back to steel brembos just because of costs while they are changed rather frequently. Therefore I really ask you all out there what is the means for carbonceramic brakes on ALL Ferraris except for the great feeling of having them (Maybe thta IS the reason to have 'em:) )
Oh, another calculation: Lets say that a 60'000km F430 from year 2005 in 2 years is worth USD 100'000, maybe 120'000. Now calculating 20'000 in for a needed disk replacment (besides other additional repair and maintanance costs), thats a 20% investment for a used car....just to change the disks ? It probably will lower the used car prices on all Carbon disk Ferraris in the future in a way similar to the "low" pricetags of Ferrari's 400i and 412i's because of expected expenditures on engine problems.
 

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I agree with 212Export. Very few owners actually track the car frequently and will have the benefit, and the price difference (for maintance specially) is too big.

I'd go for steel if I was going to buy one, and wouldn't like to compulsory have carbon ceramic
 

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... It probably will lower the used car prices on all Carbon disk Ferraris in the future in a way similar to the "low" pricetags of Ferrari's 400i and 412i's because of expected expenditures on engine problems.
That is a very valid point IMO. The irony being that adding value, actually reduces value.

A possible solution might be the availability of a retrofit conversion kit.



.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am all for technology, but it should be optional. On a 430 Scuderia, most will see heavy track time and it makes sense to make it standard. I know Ferrari is a leading technology designer, but it seems like leaving it optional makes sense based on the replacement cost. It makes a $10,000 major service on a F355 sound downright reasonable, by comparision...
 

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I am all for technology, but it should be optional. On a 430 Scuderia, most will see heavy track time and it makes sense to make it standard. I know Ferrari is a leading technology designer, but it seems like leaving it optional makes sense based on the replacement cost. It makes a $10,000 major service on a F355 sound downright reasonable, by comparision...
I fully agree. The Scuderia is probably bought by people who tend to use it also on the track (although it's the track use that opens the door for fast disks replacement after hitting the gravel). IMO even on the track most people are tired from hard concentration after 3-5 laps and tend to go out to the pits to recover, way before steel disk fading occurs. So even on the Scuderia we could probably open the case for optionality on disk material.

But after all....Ferrari needs to earn some money. This is the best way to assure that our favoured automobile company will still be there in the future !:D
 

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I have a bit of a different point of view. I really see no reason to fit ceramic brakes on a road car, even a Ferrari. The cost just does not justify it. Looking at it from a slightly different angle, what do you think the reaction would be if Ferrari introdcued a new model that needed a $20k engine rebuild after 30,000 miles. You would get a huge negative backlash. Why is this any different.
 

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I have a bit of a different point of view. I really see no reason to fit ceramic brakes on a road car, even a Ferrari. The cost just does not justify it. Looking at it from a slightly different angle, what do you think the reaction would be if Ferrari introdcued a new model that needed a $20k engine rebuild after 30,000 miles. You would get a huge negative backlash. Why is this any different.
Well....then it seems we all agree....?!
 

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I agree but Ferrari's concern is mainly selling new cars...I expect a large part of the audience buying new ferrari's just want the lastest and best technology available. In many cases they don't worry about depreciation. So ceramic it is....
Can think of one benefit of ceramic breakes: it looks great IMHO, the huge discs fills the wheels beautifull compared to the steels ones.
 

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I agree with you all on the slight silliness of carbon ceramic disks on road cars and even more with the non-optional scheme.

Therefore I have a question: I assume it would be possible to retrofit steel brake disks and corresponding pads? Would it be costly? It might be worth your while if you find a nice carbon ceramic disc F430 that nobody wants because of the required replacement....


Onno



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I agree with you all on the slight silliness of carbon ceramic disks on road cars and even more with the non-optional scheme.

Therefore I have a question: I assume it would be possible to retrofit steel brake disks and corresponding pads? Would it be costly? It might be worth your while if you find a nice carbon ceramic disc F430 that nobody wants because of the required replacement....


Onno
Yes it is. However most owners who have done it keep the ceramic disc so that they can be refitted before selling the car on. Selling a 430 that should have ceramic discs that does not, would be difficult.
 

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Yes it is. However most owners who have done it keep the ceramic disc so that they can be refitted before selling the car on. Selling a 430 that should have ceramic discs that does not, would be difficult.
Good point there.

I agree with Boxer in that there really isn't any reason for a non-track car to need the carbon-ceramic brakes, it simply shouldn't be an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Therefore I have a question: I assume it would be possible to retrofit steel brake disks and corresponding pads?
Onno
I want to address JazzyO's question about removing the CCB and putting on traditional brakes. When I interviewed Lenny Peake, head Ferrari mechanic at Ferrari of Silicon Valley (Redwood City) for my blog post that initiated this thread, I asked him that same question and his response was No, you can't retrofit (in either direction) because the car's computer algorithm. The actual blog post goes into more detail, of course.

The question then becomes, can you do it anyway? Is Ferrari's party line that you can't retrofit, when you really can? Does anyone know that with certainty? CCB are still pretty new. From my interview, I am not sure if Lenny knows, he may just be following Ferrari's official dealer response.

Paragraph six addresses retrofitting: http://sportscars.clubsportiva.com/2008/06/ferrari-carbon-ceramic-brakes-expert.html
 

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I want to address JazzyO's question about removing the CCB and putting on traditional brakes. When I interviewed Lenny Peake, head Ferrari mechanic at Ferrari of Silicon Valley (Redwood City) for my blog post that initiated this thread, I asked him that same question and his response was No, you can't retrofit (in either direction) because the car's computer algorithm. The actual blog post goes into more detail, of course.

The question then becomes, can you do it anyway? Is Ferrari's party line that you can't retrofit, when you really can? Does anyone know that with certainty? CCB are still pretty new. From my interview, I am not sure if Lenny knows, he may just be following Ferrari's official dealer response.

Paragraph six addresses retrofitting: http://sportscars.clubsportiva.com/2008/06/ferrari-carbon-ceramic-brakes-expert.html

Brembo was working on a caliper/disc upgrade for the 430 which could be dropped into the car with no modifications needed. They were hearing from customers without the ceramic brakes (or maybe ones with them too) that they needed additional braking power. The system was supposed to fit the Maserati as well so I was following the development with interest. Considering Brembo designs the OE system, I think they have a pretty firm grasp of how to integrate into the existing electronics system and I don't see why this system couldn't be a viable alternative to the carbon system. They are currently listing a GT kit for 2005+ 430's (seperate parts numbers for CCM equiped cars).

Just think, with the system costing less than half of what replacement rotors/pads will cost, there will probably be a good deal of owners making the switch which means lots of "like new" sets on the market for the owners who keep the carbon set-up
 

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The question then becomes, can you do it anyway? Is Ferrari's party line that you can't retrofit, when you really can? Does anyone know that with certainty?
I have been told by several owners of 430 Challenges that you can, and they have, swapped the ceramic for steel brakes to use for testing and track days. For more serious racing, they go back to the ceramic set up. If this can also be done on the road cars, I am not 100% certain but don't see why not.
 

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Perfect Point Torbin. The first moment I heard that Ferrari was putting carbon disks to all models I was thinking: "They create a cash flow machine".

I had an accident in Monza in 2005 with my Stradale and had to replace both disks on the back axle (although only one was broken) and I encountered pricewise what many now will on they're regular daily use Ferrari's. I think that it is a total stupidity to "force" everybody into buying a car with a additional $ 20'000 price tag on it until the car has driven 50'000 kilometers just for the need to replace these disks. If one may still decide to choose his cars disks individually as before thats fine for me but not as now. Honestly, most Ferrari drivers are very, very seldom on the track. The advantages of carbon disks are therefore very low. As a matter of fact I believe that in normal day to day use, steel disks a braking better as long as the carbon disk is not at the right hot temperature. Talking with half professional drivers running the 430 Challenge around the tracks every 2nd week, they told me that they changed the disks very fast back to steel brembos just because of costs while they are changed rather frequently. Therefore I really ask you all out there what is the means for carbonceramic brakes on ALL Ferraris except for the great feeling of having them (Maybe thta IS the reason to have 'em:) )
Oh, another calculation: Lets say that a 60'000km F430 from year 2005 in 2 years is worth USD 100'000, maybe 120'000. Now calculating 20'000 in for a needed disk replacment (besides other additional repair and maintanance costs), thats a 20% investment for a used car....just to change the disks ? It probably will lower the used car prices on all Carbon disk Ferraris in the future in a way similar to the "low" pricetags of Ferrari's 400i and 412i's because of expected expenditures on engine problems.
Your last point is very valid, Chevrolet put Carbon Ceramics in the Zr1, interesting to see the price of a used Zra that stickers for 100K-ish USD with 75K miles on the odometer in need of a $15,000 dollar brake job.
 
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