CASE STUDIES

Surface Transforms have developed solutions for a number of high-performance vehicles. See below for some examples of our development process for kits and our OE customers.

NextEV Nio EP9     Ferrari 458 Challenge     Porsche 997 GT3     Nissan GT-R     BAC Mono

Nio EP9

NextEV Nio EP9

NextEV's NIO EP9 hold the production car record Nürburgring Lap of 6 min 45.900 s, does 0-200 kph (124 mph) in 7.1 seconds, reaches a top speed of 313 kph (195 mph), harnesses 1,314 bhp (1 MW) of power.

And it's a fully electric vehicle. 

NextEV founder and chairman William Li says, "The NIO EP9 was born to push limits... It is a statement of our vision and [our] technical and manufacturing capabilities. It showcases what is possible with electric vehicles."

With 635 kg of batteries to provide a MegaWatt of peak power, NextEV needed to save as much weight as possible, but at the same time aiming for 3 G of deceleration during braking (roughly the peak force on the space shuttle during launch), so could not sacrifice on performance. Surface Transforms' next-generation carbon ceramic technology and custom-made Titanium bells gave the EP9 a tiny 30 kg total brake disc weight across four 408 mm diameter discs while still achieving 3.3 G of deceleration during braking.

In March 2017, the NIO EP9 set the fastest autonomous lap time record at the Circuit of the Americas.

FF CORSE FERRARI 458 CHALLENGE

Ferrari 458 Challenge

The 458 Challenge is designed as a track-only race car; to be fielded in the Ferrari Challenge championship. It has thinner body panels, carbon fibre replacement panels and polycarbonate windows to reduce weight. While it has the same engine as the 458 Italia, the reduced weight, race exhaust system and changes to the gear ratios mean this model is a serious track day car.

In 2013, ST was approached by FF Corse (who prepares the majority of UK-based Ferrari 458 Challenge cars). Their clients regularly push the 570 BHP to speeds close to 200 mph and were finding the limits of the standard fit ceramic brakes.

ST developed a new design for the Ferrari 458 Challenge using our unique CCST carbon ceramic material, improving brake performance and durability in a series of successful tests at the Silverstone F1 Circuit. FF Corse’s test drivers were firmly convinced by the benefits of the new brakes.

Through this work with FF Corse, ST has been able to develop a brake kit for the 458 Challenge that requires no changes to the car to fit; it isn’t even necessary to space out calipers as our kits are the same size as the OE parts.

PORSCHE 997 GT3 WITH ST BRANDING

Porsche 997 GT3 (also GT3 RS, GT2, Turbo and GT3 Cup)

Starting with a With a 415 HP, 3.6 l engine, “zero lift aerodynamics” and track-orientated suspension and 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, the Porsche 997 GT3 “offers a rich, full-bodied 911 experience” according to EVO.  Surface Transforms identified the Porsche 997 GT3 as a suitable challenge for our CCST brake discs.

As the GT3 is available with either steel or conventional carbon-ceramic PCCB discs, we developed a universal kit that works on either red or yellow caliper for the Porsche GT3 and easily replaces with OE parts with small caliper spacers.

As ST owned a Porsche 997 GT3 test car, we completed testing of the kits ourselves in the UK and Germany, including the final test at Prodrive’s test track in Warwickshire. Prodrive Chief Instructor and race driver Jamie Wall said:

“The brake performance is really exceptional; I’m used to driving race cars with high-performance brakes, but even so there is still an initial moment when you first apply the brakes when you wait to feel them grip. With [CCST] brakes, the grip is immediate, which gives you loads of confidence and that’s only going to improve lap times.”

Further development work brings the same technology to 997 GT3 RS, 997 GT2, 997 Turbo and 997 GT3 Cup.

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Nissan GT-R

As the successor to the Skyline GT-R, the Nissan GT-R was widely lauded as a giant-killer, out-performing many other sports cars and supercars in a range of challenges. While OE (iron) brake performance was good, a number of owners commented on their short lifespan when on the track, so ST took the opportunity to develop a CCST brake disc that offered improved or equal performance as well as longer lifespan.

Working with a number of owners and distributors, we developed a CCST brake kit that fit within the existing calipers with minimum spacing and offers longer lifetime, large weight reduction from the OE iron brakes and better on-track brake performance.

ST also worked with distributors and suppliers to make improvements to the kits over time, offering better performance and improved lifetime, in particular by adding a cooling kit to the car to extend brake life further (not included in kit).

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BAC Mono

The Brigg's Automotive Company (BAC) Mono is a lightweight, ultra high performance, road legal supercar designed and manufactured using the latest racing technology. Described as "the most singular, single-minded, selfishly brilliant car ever" and "part race car, part art installation... and engineering masterpiece executed with jaw-dropping skill and attention to detail." by TopGear and EVO Magazines respectively, the Mono is designed with weight reduction, power, aerodynamics and beauty in the forefront.

ST took part in a project part funded by the Niche Vehicle Network alongside BAC to develop a carbon-ceramic brake disc option for the Mono, replacing the iron brake with a same-size disc and so causing minimal disruption to the brake system. While conventional carbon-ceramics often require larger rotor sizes to replace iron brakes, the enhanced thermal properties of CCST material allow replacement of iron with same-size CCST parts.

Dynamometer testing showed equivalent thermal performance as a cast iron brake disc with a 50% weight reduction. Testing also validated the vent design used by ST across our range of brake discs.

In 2016, the BAC Mono made the fastest lap at the Anglesey Coastal Circuit by a road-car tested by evo Magazine, beating the McLaren P1 GTR by a whole second.

A full report from the SMMT can be found here.