To do brake testing properly, we needed a large, closed expanse of pavement all to ourselves. And there just aren't many of those around world that don't have a shopping mall attached to them. Thankfully we had the use of "Black Lake," a paved surface so large you can see it from space, at GM's Milford Proving Grounds in Michigan. It was here that we conducted our 60-to-zero empty and loaded brake-testing runs with our three three-quarter-ton gas-engine 4x4 pickups for our 2014 Ultimate Heavy-Duty Challenge.
This particular event was all Chevrolet, at least in terms of stopping distances. When empty, the Silverado 2500 stopped in 3.4 seconds in 146.4 feet, while the Ford F-250 stopped a little faster (3.3 seconds) but over a slightly longer distance (147.8 feet). When loaded at max payload, the Chevy stopped in 3.4 seconds and 150.1 feet; the Ford in 3.3 seconds in 153.2 feet. The Ram 2500 didn't do well in either case, stopping in 155 feet when empty and 161 feet when fully loaded, both in 3.6 seconds.
How We Did the Testing
We used our bags of rock salt in the brake-testing area for the loaded runs with each competitor. For empty and loaded runs, we used the same two-person team strategy for each of the brake-test runs with one change. For this test we used one of our judges, Kent Sundling from MrTruck.com, because of his skill at knowing how much each truck's speedometer is slightly off — and they all seemed to be off by a little bit. In the passenger seat, RaceLogic VBOX expert Joe Lachovsky recorded all the data and monitored the actual speed of the vehicle based on satellite observations of our test gear, calling out the speed readings to Sundling so he knew exactly when they hit the target speed.
Each empty and loaded run went around (in a big loop) Black Lake, entering from the south side of the track. Slowing and gently squeezing the throttle, Sundling would get to the 60-mph mark then mash the brake pedal, holding it to the floor until our computer recorded the time and distance. If that sounds like fun to you, imagine doing the same thing about 20 times over the course of hours. After each disc-brake-heating foot stomp, there was a 1-to-2-minute mandatory cool-down drive around the pavement to make sure the front brake temperatures were within factory parameters.
Cars.com photos by Evan Sears