The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is a formidable pickup truck, but what really helps separate the half-ton from its rivals at Ford and Ram is its near-endless portfolio of official, warranty-backed accessories. While, true, each of these brands offer upgrades such as lift/leveling kits, cold air intakes, and cat-back exhaust systems, a brake upgrade is an uncommon availability. Take the Brembo-sourced brake kit offered through Chevrolet Performance, for example.
Available for General Motors T1 half-ton trucks, the Brembo kit was designed, developed, and validated just the same as any original equipment part, earning its keep in the accessories catalog, and maintaining the Silverado’s factory warranty. While build quality certainly plays a role in what gets the seal of approval for a Chevrolet Performance Accessory, we recently learned that validation of the kit goes well beyond just that.
“When we do the performance brakes for the trucks, you have incredible potential to have more torque at the brake – so that brake actually uses less pressure and fluid than normal,” said Chevrolet Performance Parts & Motorsports engineering group manager Seth Ravndal in an interview with MC&T. “Since you have that big rotor you don’t need as much clamp force to generate the friction to get the same amount of torque (in a braking event)… people love it.”
However, the Brembo brake kit seems to leave a little bit of grip force on the table, skewing instead towards a seamless integration with GM’s advanced driving systems such as full-speed adaptive cruise control.
“(Adaptive cruise control) will autonomously come in with a predictive pressure pulse… so when you’re closing quickly or something more abrupt that it has to react to, it will request brake assistance,” said Ravndal. “In that case we still want a smooth transition down to speed, we don’t want to toss your coffee out of your hand or bob your head.”
These are Brembos, after all. A signature name in stopping power, that Chevrolet Performance opted to use on one of GM’s biggest vehicles in the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500. At the same time, with the inclusion of adaptive cruise (and later Super Cruise, Ultra Cruise, and possibly Hyper Cruise), these T1 platform trucks SUVs are some of GM’s most sophisticated vehicles.
“In that (braking scenario) it’s about testing with those advanced systems and making sure those systems,” explained Seth Ravndal. “We wanna make sure that when we change the hardware it still behaves the way we want it to for the customer… they don’t get that abruptness when using full range ACC.”
In doing so, the Chevrolet Performance hardware does not require a re-calibration of the adaptive cruise control software in the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 to work in an optimal manner.
“We did extensive work to make sure the hardware was compatible. It gives you a heavier rotor and swept surface which really helps for cooling. It gives you a larger pad which helps with wear, it does give you more output and better pedal feel, but we didn’t take it so far as to upset the system. In that scenario, we tuned the hardware to make sure the system behaved well.”