BRZ Track Prep

First off… If you’re a dedicated follower of this blog, then yes! You’ll notice this is a departure from the usual content. Despite typically focusing on Hondas, particularly my FK8, there’s no harm in highlighting one of the top affordable track cars available at the moment. Especially when it belongs to a close friend of mine.

Before we delve into the exciting process of getting Marlon’s BRZ ready for its first track event, let me take a moment to introduce my good friend Marlon. It was around 7 years ago when I first crossed paths with him at a track day held at our local venue, Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, NV. He stood out like a sore thumb, pitting solo with his track-focused S2000. The sight of another Honda at a PCA (Porsche Club of America) event, especially one with such a commanding presence, was a rare occurrence.

We spotted Marlon’s S2000 from across the paddock and felt compelled to go say hi. Unbeknownst to us, Marlon was a devout reader of Functiontheory, and the rest, as they say, is history. Seven years on, I’m grateful for seizing the opportunity to introduce myself to him. We have since developed a strong friendship rooted in our mutual passion for cars and motorsports.

Fast forward 6 years, it was the summer of 2023, and I was in the midst of persuading Marlon to invest in a ND Miata. Before you interject, his S2000, although still in his possession, had become too intense for everyday use, not just for him but for anyone else in their right mind. Marlon was eager to find a new, more comfortable “fun” car, and I was determined to guide him in the right direction. While I made a compelling case for the FK8 or FL5, the truth was that these vehicles were simply too overpriced.

He already owns a 2023 Honda Ridgeline HPD black edition, a 2006 S2000, and a 1997 Acura Integra. Why would he want another car? That’s a valid question, but I won’t be the one to discourage others from pursuing their happiness, even if it means making questionable financial choices. My role is to assist individuals in investing in possessions that bring about the release of dopamine and promote a sense of liberation.

So, back to the ND Miata. Considering the parameters he had set, and knowing that “Miata Is Always The Answer,” I informed him about an ND Miata I had spotted at Honda West while I was purchasing some oil for Angie’s Fit. It was lightly used with just three thousand miles on it and had been parked on the lot for some time so I figured they would be flexible on the price. Marlon eventually took a trip across town to test drive it and found himself not as pleased as he had anticipated. The clutch had a strange feel, and the seating left something to be desired. Essentially, for 29k, it didn’t deliver the excitement for which he had hoped.

After taking the car for a test drive that was more “meh” than “Zoom-Zoom”—since it conspicuously failed to come with the brand’s essence of “celebrate driving” that Mazda prides itself on offering its owners—and facing a salesman whose pricing flexibility was on par with a medieval sword stuck in stone, he found his enthusiasm levels plunging faster than a lead balloon.

In classic Marlon style, he swung for the fences in a high-stakes game of dealership poker. He saw their inflated prices, raised them a scoff, and confidently strutted out of there without a car key in sight. Turns out, his poker face was more of a “no deal” face!

In a twist of fate that could only rival the plot of the show ‘Lost’, Marlon found himself thanking his lucky stars for the salesman’s remarkable talent in turning his fantasy car test drive into a lemon-tasting contest. With his taste for the Miata soured to the extreme, Marlon made a beeline for Subaru where he gleefully splurged on a shiny brand new BRZ that even cost more dough. Little did that flustered salesman know he was the unsung hero, nudging Marlon towards his vehicular destiny. Hats off, dear ‘Honda West’ salesman; your classic knack for customer “dis-service” deserves a standing ovation! If you had only budged a little on the price, we are talking just a measly 1,000 dollars, Marlon would have been driving a Miata, and the topic of this post would be vastly different.

September 3rd was once a date synonymous with the birth of eBay, but that historical footnote now pales in comparison to this year’s landmark event: Marlon’s acquisition of his 2023 Subaru BRZ. Indeed, Marlon didn’t just drive off the Subaru lot—he unknowingly soared into a new realm of automotive enthusiasm, taking the wheel of what would quickly become his new favorite car.

Without a doubt, the second-generation BRZ deserves the high praise it receives, elevating its already flawless chassis to new heights of refinement. This car is absolutely establishing itself as the most cost-effective capable performance vehicle on the market, complete with a traditional petrol engine in the front mated to a six-speed manual transmission and the drive axle in the rear—a car enthusiast’s wet dream come true. Clearly, it’s no surprise that Marlon is naming this his top pick. While Marlon is poised to approach modifications more “conservatively” than he did with his S2000, I remain a steadfast advocate, urging him weekly to indulge in enhancing his new prized possession.

Alright, setting aside the chat about Marlon and the tale of his BRZ acquisition, it’s time to shift gears toward the track preparations and the all-important initial 1,000-mile break-in oil change. This is where the adventure truly begins!

Marlon was overflowing with excitement as he prepared to bring his car to its inaugural track day. After a three-year hiatus to cherish the early years with his son, he was finally making his comeback to the track. Marlon’s approach was thoughtful and deliberate; he wanted to immerse himself in the car’s pure, unaltered performance to truly appreciate its engineering excellence. With plans to customize the car extensively, he was keen on establishing a solid baseline. This would enable him to recognize the precise impact of each tweak, essentially making him an informed judge of the value behind every modification.

Discovering the perfect setup for your car can be an enlightening journey. It’s a beautiful process, where instead of simply following a standard recipe for parts, you evolve through experimentation and personal experience. This quest for knowledge empowers you to understand your car deeply, appreciating the quirks that make it unique to your driving style. While some drivers prefer a bit of understeer, others relish the edge oversteer offers. There are those who desire immediate responsiveness, while some seek the comfort of predictability. It’s imperative to forge your own path rather than mirroring others’ actions. Use their advice as a framework, but always fine-tune it to suit your unique preferences.

Venturing beyond the advice of online experts can lead to a wealth of practical understanding. Although the ‘clout bois’ might offer valuable shortcuts to the parts you need, there’s a special kind of magic in discovering these secrets on your own. After all, mastering the nuances of your car enriches your driving experience, enabling you to tailor your ride exactly to your preferences and become a more intuitive driver.

It should be highlighted, in this blog post, we are only going to cover the absolute minimum of modifications you need before hitting the track in your brand-new car.

Ensuring your braking system is in prime condition and fully capable of managing the rigors of track driving is absolutely essential. Despite Marlon’s eagerness to track his car in its original condition, I insisted on the essential upgrades of the brake fluid and front pads. Stock OEM pads and fluid are simply not designed to withstand the immense heat generated during intense braking when on track. Although some may take to the track with entirely stock vehicles, I strongly advise upgrading the pads and fluid to ensure that your brakes remain reliable when you need them most. It’s not just about performance—it’s about peace of mind and confidence behind the wheel.

The only other thing we will be doing is changing his oil because he has reached the 1000-mile break-in period.

Below are all the products/tools we are going to be installing/changing out/using on his car.

As you can see, he has opted to upgrade to AMSOIL with a 0W-30 viscosity, a step above the factory-recommended 0W-20. It is a widespread practice among BRZ/86 track aficionados to upgrade to a 0W-40 because they firmly believe in the superior protection offered by a heavier 0W-40 oil, particularly under the extreme oil temperatures encountered on the track. Let’s agree to bypass lengthy debates on this topic because the choice of oil one prefers can be even more personal than what candidate they are voting for.

You might ask yourself why Marlon selected the 0W-30 oil, while the majority opt for 0W-40. The answer lies in the sound reasoning behind my approach to oil selection. We should remember that while Las Vegas is famous for its heat, the winter months do bring cooler temperatures, sometimes dipping into the low thirties. To those hailing from the Midwest or the East Coast, this may not seem particularly chilly, but it’s cold enough to affect your oil’s performance. During these cooler spells, a 40-weight oil might struggle to properly lubricate an engine until it has reached its optimal operating temperature. So, it’s important to consider the impact of these seemingly mild winter temperatures on your vehicle’s health.

I’m completely aware of dual-weight oils and their dynamics. Essentially, the ‘zero w’ indicates the oil’s viscosity when cold (winter), and the ‘forty weight’ denotes its viscosity at the engine’s operating temperature. Therefore, a 0W-20 oil will technically behave identically to a 0W-40 oil in cold conditions. Nonetheless, this is an oversimplification, and there is a lot more to it. Always remember that in lower temperatures, an oil with a forty-weight designation requires some warm-up time before you push your car hard on a track or even drive spiritedly on the street. Consider this a fundamental rule of thumb for maintaining your vehicle’s health and performance. So, because Marlon was going to be daily driving this car, I helped persuade him not to run the 40 weight, and we settled on the 30 weight.

While you may still argue that we are preparing the car for the track, and as I mentioned, most “track guys” opt for the 0W-40, it is important to keep in mind that the track day he is prepping for is in January and, as mentioned earlier, it is quite cold, even in Las Vegas. If we were planning for a track event in summer, late spring, or even early fall, we might opt for the 0W-40.

I hate that I must over-explain and justify my reasoning so much, but unfortunately, we live in a world of haters who would love to call attention to something they took out of context that I said. When all is said and done, oil manufacturers still must meet certain SAE, or API standards… Most high-performance oil will have a higher zinc content which has also been known to increase protection under extreme conditions. So technically it doesn’t really matter what weight oil you use; just follow your manufacturer’s guidelines and change it before and after every event you do, and you will get hundreds of thousands of happy miles out of your car.

Admittedly, the abundance of information surrounding oil types and brands can make choosing the right one a daunting task. It involves a complex understanding of the underlying science and the varying demands of different driving conditions. However, this post isn’t about delving into the intricate details of oil classifications; the focus here is to highlight the rationale behind selecting a higher-weight oil than what is recommended by the manufacturer. It’s a discerning choice made with performance and longevity in mind.

When optimizing your vehicle for track usage, a non-negotiable upgrade is the replacement of the standard brake fluid with a high-performance variant designed to withstand extreme temperatures. Even if you retain the OEM brake pads, prioritizing this swap is critical to avoid brake failures under extreme conditions. Picture yourself approaching a tight corner at high speed—this is not the moment for a soft brake pedal. Ensure you’re equipped with brake fluid engineered to handle the extreme heat and maintain your safety and performance on the track. As seen below, Marlon has chosen to go with the best, most expensive option on the market, Castrol SRF! I myself have had this stuff in my FK8 since my first track day, and despite discoloring my calipers due to heat, never once has my pedal gone soft.

Following my expert advice, we set our sights on a significant upgrade for his brake pads by selecting the Carbotech XP8, a superior option for mild track performance. Despite Marlon’s car coming equipped with Michelin PS4S tires, these stock tires are inadequate in terms of grip for the heightened demands of a more vigorous brake pad. It’s crucial to match your brake pad compound to your tire’s capabilities, considering both compound and width, to prevent overpowering the tire’s grip by using too aggressive of a pad. Overshooting the tire’s grip leads to constant ABS engagement—a situation you want to avoid at all costs.

There’s a science to selecting the right brake pad, taking into account a myriad of variables including car weight, power, tire grip, and even ambient temperatures. For now, take it from me: choosing the XP8 was the calculated move. True, it’s a touch more aggressive than necessary for a car with stock power and a stock tire, which is precisely why I advised sticking with the stock rear pads as a counterbalance. Trust in this approach, as it’s the result of seasoned insight and strategic foresight.

We begin the process first by breaking all the lug nuts loose while the car is still on the ground.

Remember, “breaking them loose” is only about a 1/4 to 1/2 rotation of the breaker bar.

With the lug nuts loosened, it’s time to jack up the vehicle. The BRZ/86 chassis boasts a robust metal portion on the front subframe that serves as the ideal jacking point, as illustrated here. To protect Marlon’s pristine, brand-new car—mind you, my jack has exposed metal without a rubber cushion—I’ve opted to employ a wooden buffer to guard against any scratches on the subframe’s black coating. This precaution, while not mandatory, is a testament to the extra care I’m taking with his vehicle. After all, a quick look at my FK8 will reveal a subframe that bears the battle scars of use with an unabashedly worn paint finish. Once jacked up high enough, place jack stands under the car. See the diagram below for guidance… Jack stands go where the four rectangles.

Now onto the rear. Simply use the differential as a jacking point.

Let me zoom in to make it more clear where the jack is.

a little more zooooming.

Different angle just for clarification.

annnd a little zoomed in, since I know most are viewing on their phones.

Now it’s time to remove the wheels.

Boom! That is one clean wheel well and brake assembly.

With all four wheels off, I decided to begin with an oil change, as it’s a simpler task compared to overhauling the entire brake system.

Start by locating the oil cap on top of the engine.

Taking off the oil cap before draining is a clever little hack! It ensures that you get every last drop of oil out by preventing a vacuum from forming. This nifty trick makes the oil change process smoother and more efficient.

After removing the cap, we’re now ready to venture beneath the car to take out the drain plug. But first, we must easily gain access to it by detaching the small panel you can see below. It’s as simple as unscrewing the x3 10mm bolts that hold it to the undertray. I’ve got to admit, this process is a breeze compared to the task on my FK8, where I’m wrestling with the entire large aluminum undertray. A round of applause for the Subaru/Toyota engineers for making our lives just a bit more effortless!

Alright, you’ve got the access panel off, so now you’ll spot the 17mm drain bolt that needs to be removed for the oil to start flowing.

For the most efficient removal of the drain bolt without undertray interference, a deep 17mm socket is unquestionably the best tool for the job. This will ensure that you can work with the ratchet without any obstructions.

And the oil begins to flow.

Marlon had an unusual concern about metal in the oil, but I knew that Subaru’s extensive experience in engine manufacturing meant such an issue was highly unlikely. Nevertheless, to put his mind at ease, I indulged him by allowing the use of a magnet during the oil drain. Unsurprisingly, we found no trace of metal.

Once most of the oil is out.

Move back to the top and remove the oil filter. Expect to disrupt another minor vacuum seal, which will facilitate the drainage of any residual oil straight into the drain pan.

I usually let it drain for about 10-15 minutes, ensuring as much oil as possible is drained out.

Again, Marlon was a bit overly concerned about debris in his oil, and he wanted to open the oil filter to see if there were any metal bits or the dreaded RTV that so many claim to have discovered in either their oil, sump screen or even the filter. So, again, to put his mind at ease, we cut open the filter to inspect.

Oil filter cutters, although not a common garage tool, are devices designed to safely and cleanly cut open used oil filters. Having one in your arsenal is beneficial for several reasons:

  1. Inspection of Contaminants: Cutting open a used oil filter allows you to inspect for contaminants and metal shavings, which could indicate abnormal engine wear or failure. Regular inspection can help you catch potential engine issues early, saving you from costly repairs.
  2. Evaluation of Oil Condition: By examining the filter media, you can assess the efficacy of the oil in capturing dirt and debris. This might give insights into the oil’s performance or signal if it’s time to switch to a different type of oil.
  3. Quality Control: If you’ve recently shifted to a new brand or type of oil, analyzing the filter media can help determine if the new oil is effectively protecting your engine.
  4. Educational Insight: For enthusiasts and mechanics, it provides a valuable learning tool, helping to understand engine health and the importance of regular oil changes and maintenance.
  5. Supporting Regular Maintenance: It reinforces the importance of routine maintenance and gives confidence that you are not just replacing parts without understanding the ‘why’ behind their condition.
  6. Professional Engine Diagnostics: For professional mechanics, it provides a more complete diagnosis when assessing engine health for customers, often leading to more informed and accurate service.
  7. Ease of Use: Oil filter cutters are designed to be user-friendly, making the process of cutting open an oil filter easy and safe without damaging the filter components that need to be inspected.

In essence, oil filter cutters allow for a non-destructive entry into a filter to examine its contents, which can provide heavyweight evidence of the internal state of an engine.

Having one is also beneficial for comparing oil filter internals and overall quality. As you can see below, the filter element of the OEM filter is made of a paper(ish) material that was quite easy to tear. (probably not the best for filtering out microns)

With the element fully extended, the pristine condition of the filter is undeniable – not a single fleck of metal or a trace of debris mires its integrity. Marlon can rest assured, with absolute certainty, that his engine is in peak health.

Before Marlon finalized his decision, I wished I had the chance to recommend a WIX XP oil filter, renowned for its superior quality and exceptional role in prolonging an engine’s lifespan. But he had already placed the order for an OEM Subaru one. No worries, using the OEM one won’t hurt anything, and the next time around, he will most definitely be going with a WIX XP. Remember, Steer clear of FRAM FILTERS and STP filters; your engine deserves the unmatched protection that only a WIX filter can provide.

Now, screw on the new oil filter. But before you do that, make sure you lubricate the oil filter’s rubber O-ring.

Lubricating the O-ring of the oil filter is a critical step in the oil change process. Here’s why:

  1. Ensures a Good Seal: Lubricating the O-ring helps it seat properly against the engine’s mating surface, providing a tight seal that prevents oil leaks.
  2. Prevents Dry Cracking or Tearing: A dry O-ring can crack, tear, or deform when it’s screwed into place. Lubrication allows the O-ring to slide smoothly into position without damage.
  3. Easier Removal: The next time the filter needs to be removed, an O-ring that was lubricated during installation won’t stick or bind, making it easier to unscrew the filter.
  4. Protects from Heat and Contaminants: Oil acts as a barrier, protecting the rubber from heat and contaminants that could cause premature degradation.

When you’re changing the oil filter, just a dab of fresh engine oil on your finger applied around the O-ring is sufficient to accomplish this. Always ensure the seating area on the engine is clean before installing the newly oiled filter.

The new oil filter is now on. A bonus tip is, don’t go crazy trying to tighten it either; so many people over-tighten oil filters.

The correct torque specification for the oil filter on the FA24 engine (the one in the BRZ/86) is generally around 10 – 13.6 lb.-ft. However, it’s important to remember that oil filters are most commonly installed by hand, tightening until the sealing gasket contacts the mounting surface, followed by about a 3/4 turn additionally without using a wrench. Always check the vehicle’s service manual or the oil filter manufacturer’s instructions to confirm the correct torque values for your specific application.

Marlon, driven by his incessant concern for his car’s well-being, opted to take an additional, extra precautionary step by installing a magnetic oil drain plug. Honestly, it’s a clever idea, as it introduces an additional safeguard for the engine and serves as a handy check-up during each oil change. The magnet reveals the presence of any metallic particles, offering insights into the engine’s condition. I, too, run magnetic drain plugs in my cars.

Take a look at the new GReddy drain bolt which has been securely installed. It’s important to note that drain plugs are often tightened too much, which can cause damage to the threads on both the pan and the drain bolt itself. To avoid this problem, it’s recommended to follow the factory torque specifications.

The correct torque specification for the oil drain plug on an FA24 engine typically falls within the range of 23 to 31 lb-ft.

Also don’t forget to reinstall the access panel for the drain plug.

Once you are sure you have reinstalled both the drain plug and the oil filter, only then can you begin pouring in the new oil.

The Subaru’s FA24 engine has a capacity of approximately 5.7 quarts of oil with a filter. Although the owner’s manual mentions that it is 5.3 qt with a filter and 5.1 qt without a filter, we added all 6 quarts to Marlon’s car. This is because it is frequent practice to add a little extra oil when tracking your car to prevent oil starvation during high G-forces. For some, it is normal practice to add up to an extra quart of oil. However, use discretion when deciding on how much “extra” to put in.

Determining the correct amount of oil for your car is crucial for its proper functioning. To ensure the accuracy of your oil level, you should always rely on the dipstick, which is the definitive source of truth no matter what you read online. After adding oil, run the engine for a few minutes and then turn it off, allowing a few minutes for the oil to settle back into the pan. This guarantees that the dipstick reading you receive is accurate and trustworthy. Remember, precise oil levels are achievable, and your dipstick is the key to ensuring this. Lastly, in case they weren’t clear, it’s important to keep in mind the two following things.

  • Before checking your dipstick, your car must be turned off. When the engine is running, the rotating crankshaft can result in oil splashing, which will skew the oil level displayed on the dipstick, leading to unreliable readings. It’s essential for the accuracy of your inspection that the engine is not on.
  • For accurate dipstick readings, it is imperative to perform the check on a completely flat and level surface. The position of the dipstick within the pan is designed with this expectation in mind; any deviation from a leveled state can result in misleading readings of the oil level.

With the oil now completely changed, it’s time to move on to the brake pads and fluid flush.

To get started, we need to replace the brake pads. The initial step is to remove the 10mm bolt that connects the brake line to the strut. This will give us more flexibility in the brake line, making it easier to move the caliper away from its bracket.

Below you can see how the brake line is no longer attached to the strut.

Next, take a ratchet and completely remove the upper 14mm caliper bolt.

Next, turn your attention to the lower 14mm caliper bolt. Give it an easy twist to loosen it up (but don’t completely remove it), enabling the caliper to gracefully swing clear of the bracket as shown in the image below.

With the caliper repositioned, the pads are now readily accessible for swift removal.

Here’s how it should appear after removing the pads.

The new pads can be inserted just as easily as the old ones were removed.

Typically, replacing brake pads involves compressing the caliper pistons back into the caliper to accommodate the new, thicker pads. However, since Marlon’s car is virtually brand new, boasting a mere 1,000 miles on the odometer, this step was completely unnecessary. There was ample space for the fresh pads without any adjustment to the brake caliper pistons.

Now the caliper swings back on, and you can cinch down both caliper bolts. These bolts should only be torqued to 19 lb/ft.

As mentioned earlier in the post, we are only swapping out the front pads and opting to leave the rears stock.

Now moving on to the fluid flush. Begin by locating your brake fluid reservoir.

Remove the cap and the strainer as well.

Use a lubrication suction pump or gun to extract the bulk of the old fluid from the reservoir. Be mindful to avoid over-draining; fully depleting the fluid can lead to bleeding complications from air entrapment in the master cylinder. Should you inadvertently remove too much, you will need to bench-bleed the master cylinder before bleeding the calipers to ensure a flawless brake performance.

You can safely remove the fluid all the way down to the fluid sensor plug on the side of the reservoir.

To ensure a thorough and efficient brake fluid change, it’s essential to remove as much of the old fluid as possible before introducing new fluid. This proactive approach significantly reduces the need to repeatedly bleed each caliper to remove residual old fluid.

Pro tip: For crystal-clear visibility of the fluid level, position a light source directly behind the reservoir. It’s a surefire way to enhance fluid level detection.

Once you are satisfied with the amount of old fluid removed. Now you can top off the reservoir with the new Castrol SRF. It’s time to start bleeding the brakes. Start with the caliper farthest from the master cylinder—the right rear caliper (usdm passenger rear). Next, proceed to the left rear (usdm driver rear), followed by the right front (usdm passenger front), and conclude with the left front (usdm driver front). This sequence ensures the most efficient bleeding process for your braking system. Perform this sequence multiple times—no less than three—to guarantee that all the old fluid has been thoroughly purged and replaced with fresh Castrol SRF. This step is essential for optimal performance.

Rest assured; a single 1-liter bottle will suffice to thoroughly bleed the entire system. However, for absolute certainty in case of unexpected complications, it’s always wise to keep an additional bottle at the ready. This way, you’re guaranteed not to run short on fluid and can complete the task with confidence. We used the whole bottle with nothing to spare, this was because I really wanted to make sure the old fluid was completely flushed out.

Below is an excerpt from the factory service manual pertaining to the steps necessary for bleeding brakes. Given that this procedure involves expelling old fluid, it is advisable to perform steps B and C a minimum of five times for each caliper. Subsequently, this entire sequence should also be replicated across all calipers at least three times to ensure thorough maintenance. So, you’re looking at a total fifteen bleeds at each corner; five at a time, three complete times around the car.

Just a heads up, it’s good practice to check the brake fluid level in the reservoir and top it off after each caliper you bleed. You definitely don’t want the reservoir to run dry. If that happens, you’ll be in for the hassle of bench bleeding the master cylinder, and trust me, you don’t want that extra work.

Below I will illustrate what it should look like at the rear and front as you bleed the brakes. Keep in mind I’m only showing the driver’s side because it’s a little tight in my garage on the passenger side.

ALSO! The brake bleeder screw only needs to be torqued to 5.9 lb/ft (or 71 lb/inch)



With the brakes now all bled, we can highlight some small modifications Marlon has already made to his car, despite wanting to keep it as stock as possible for the first track day.

He has added a Blitz strut bar.

And he has also added a Verus engineering master cylinder brace.

That now concludes our track day pre……..

HOLD ON A MINUTE!!! Did any of you catch it? The major brake pad SNAFU that took place earlier in the post… That’s right, after a glorious mix-up only Marlon could manage, he was clicking and scrolling between multiple sites in his quest for rock-bottom brake pad bargains. While trying to find the cheapest option, he mistakenly ordered the Carbotech 1521 compound rather than the decided-upon XP8 compound.

Eagle-eyed viewers might have spotted at the beginning of this post that the color of the pad we were installing didn’t match the typical XP8 color. Initially, it flew under my radar as well! I trusted that Marlon had ordered the correct pads, so I didn’t give it a second thought. It was only when we began to look up the bedding-in procedures that we discovered Marlon had purchased the 1521 pads instead of the recommended XP8.

Below is another picture showing the 1521 pad installed (in case you wanted to know what the color was)

Marlon was quick to blame the company he ordered from upon discovering they were not the XP8s, totally sure they’d messed up. But when he actually took a closer look at the invoice in his email, it was pretty clear that the mix-up was all on him. Marlon had indeed ordered the wrong pads.

I guess I can cut Marlon some slack this time around – he was just shooting for that smart shopper badge, you know? But I did tell him, “Hey, sometimes being a penny-pincher just isn’t worth it.” Just look at this – Marlon here had to rush order a pair of those XP8 pads for his upcoming track day. So, in the end, what happened? He thought he’d save some cash at first by shopping around for the best price, but nope. He ended up coughing up double and now he’s stuck with two sets of pads.

Now, welcome to Marlon’s garage, where we’ve transported you forward in time to another day, a new chapter in our narrative. This deliberate shift in setting is part of my unwavering commitment to providing you, my valued readers, with an unfiltered glimpse into the process that goes into our blog posts. Yes, the path we navigate isn’t always linear; it’s filled with unforeseen twists and turns, and juggling not just one, but two schedules—mine and Marlon’s—is no mean feat. However, these challenges do not hinder us; they enrich the stories we craft. I assure you, it’s this dedication to authenticity and precision that elevates our content to the pinnacle of trustworthy and comprehensive articles you’ll find online.

I could have easily left this next part out of the post, just told you we installed XP8s, and I bet almost all of you would have been none the wiser (or would have even cared). For me, though, it’s all about pouring my heart and soul into each word I type. I act with extreme integrity, and I’m on a mission to craft blog posts that resonate with the precision of an encyclopedia because spreading misinformation? That’s the bane of my existence! I stand against the tide of half-truths and personal guesswork that leads people astray.

Here we go! Picture proof of the XP8 part number on the box. This will be the part number for all BRZ/86/FR-S chassis.

Again, we start by unbolting the 12mm bolt that secures the brake line to the strut.

Remove the 14mm upper caliper bolt and only loosen the lower 14mm caliper bolt. Then easily swing the caliper out of the way.

If you’re experiencing some “squealing” noise with your track-oriented brake pad, you can try applying a small amount of high-temp grease on the “ears” of the pad. This will help to reduce the noise. Additionally, adding high-temp grease to the pad can provide other benefits such as lubricating the metal-on-metal area to ease the installation process, ensuring proper seating of the pad in the caliper bracket, preventing corrosion, and damping micro-vibrations from the pad to the pedal. It’s important to note that applying high-temp grease may not completely eliminate the noise, as this method did not work for XP8’s on Marlons car. Ultimately, whether or not to apply high-temp grease is up to you.

Below it’s easy to spot the difference between the “1521 pad” red one and the “XP8 pad” silver one.

and some grease for the inboard pad as well.

With both inboard and outboard pads installed, now simply swing the caliper back into position.

Reinstall the 14mm bolt.

Then, using the 12mm bolt, secure the brake line to the strut.

Now make sure to tighten both upper and lower 14mm caliper bolts. As mentioned earlier in the post, the torque specs of these bolts are 19 LB/FT.

Now all completely reassembled with the CORRECT pad compound.

And, while I’m here at his house, I might as well snap a picture of his notable S2000

In conclusion, the “track prep” element featured here might seem understated and somewhat clickbait-ish, but rest assured, it’s a deliberate choice as I wanted to lure in as many of you (BRZ/86 owners) as I could. This post serves as the perfect stage to introduce Marlon and his BRZ. It marks the beginning of a deep-dive journey into the amazing world of BRZ/86 modifications. Marlon has some ambitious plans for the car, and we are excited to document the transformation, all while providing useful information. Our future articles will not just highlight a progression of performance improvements that maintain the car’s usability for everyday driving but will also meticulously detail the process for our new BRZ/86-blog reader community.

Reflecting further on track preparation, it’s crucial to emphasize Marlon’s intention. His strategy was clear: to run a track day with his vehicle in a nearly unchanged state. This approach sets a valuable performance baseline from which he can gauge the effect of each subsequent upgrade. Such a process ensures accurate assessment of enhancements, proving Marlon’s wisdom in preserving a controlled, stock condition for initial evaluations.

Here he is pre-pitted ready to head out for the first time in the ZC6 chassis.

It’s absolutely essential, a non-negotiable must, that if you’re going to take your car on the track, you have to flush the brake fluid. This is the lifeblood of your car’s stopping power! The OEM fluid just isn’t up to the challenge of staying cool under the extreme temperatures on the track. And let’s be real – while you’re getting your hands dirty, you might as well swap in a set of high-performance, track-ready brake pads since you’re down there already. These two modifications should be paramount before anyone hits the track. Peace of mind and confidence can go a long way.

Hondas have always sparked the purest form of joy in my heart, igniting a relentless passion within me. Yet, it’s impossible not to recognize the array of other extraordinary platforms recently gracing the automotive landscape. At this electrifying juncture, I’m all set to embark on a thrilling journey with Functiontheory, as we delve deep into the world of the BRZ/86. Expect to be engrossed in a plethora of modifications, DIY guides, and how-tos, complemented by forthright, unbiased product evaluations.

There’s an undeniable passion within the BRZ/86 community—a torrent of excitement that’s as tangible as it is inspiring. These machines aren’t just vehicles; they’re track-dominating beasts, constantly displaying their prowess with each lap. And honestly, as we cruise into 2024, it’s a legitimate question to ponder—what other brand offers a more economical platform that screams “sub-2” potential, straight from the showroom floor? The answer is clear to those who’ve had the opportunity to drive one of these: the BRZ/86 stands alone, a testament to automotive excellence.

If you’ve thoroughly enjoyed every word until this final sentence as a newcomer, I’m excited to extend the warmest of welcomes to you. Your enthusiasm and quest for knowledge has ignited your path to becoming a dedicated BRZ/86 aficionado. To the enthusiasts who’ve been on this journey with me from the start, your constant support and hunger for new content fills me with gratitude. Let your excitement soar because there’s only good news here – as well as providing BRZ/86 content for my newfound readers, my promise to bring you stimulating FK8 content stands stronger than ever, with a series of thrilling updates on the horizon. Stay tuned for some FK8 content, hopefully coming up in the next month or so.

Whether you’re a new or returning reader, as always, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or even hate! I would love to engage in some virtual chit-chat with you and offer any sort of help or guidance that I can. My goal is to help foster a community of enthusiasts who all share a common goal, which is to “functionally” enjoy their cars. If you are only going to be parking lot pimpin or Cars and Coffee sippin, then please lose this URL.

You can get in contact with me via Email at, DM me on Instagram @Functiontheory, or simply comment on the post below and I will get back to you.


  1. Another great write-up! Love the BRZ and look forward to its future content. Congratulations on the car Marlon, she’s beautiful!

    1. Thank you so much for reaching out and the kind words. We do have quite a lot of really unique informative content coming up for the BRZ/86 platform. I will let Marlon know you like the car!

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