Written By Steve Baur
Photography By Dr. Rudy Rouweyha and Courtesy of Aerospace Components
Since coming to market in 1993, the SVT Lightning pickup truck has become a favorite among Ford, Mustang, and truck enthusiasts everywhere. When the supercharged, second-generation version came out in 1999, we saw even more of them at the race track, modified to the hilt and drastically reducing elapsed times as the horsepower numbers increased. Eventually, SVT Lightning owners looked at ways to lighten their 4,700lb trucks and perhaps increase performance at the same time. To that end, Aerospace Components developed replacement front and rear braking components that were up to the task of stopping the supercharged trucks at speed, while cutting weight and allowing for the use of most 15-inch drag wheels.
There’s no denying that the 15-inch-diameter tire rules the drag-racing world. It is the standard for most every class and drag-tire makers offer their largest range of sizes in that diameter. While many have moved to offer drag radial tires in 16-, 17-, 18- and even 20-inch sizes, most drag racers look to the 15s for the best possible performance.
The second-generation Lightning came standard with a healthy braking package that filled the generous 18-inch wheels—SVT spent considerable time ensuring that the Lightning was an all-around performer, not just a stoplight standout. Aerospace created a rear brake package that dropped the rotor size from 13 inches down to 11.75, so racers could bolt on 15-inch drag wheels. Aerospace claims swapping this kit will reduce un-sprung weight by some 38 lbs, and the company also offers the more common 4 ¾- or 4 ½-inch bolt patterns in addition to the Lightning’s stock 5×135 pattern.
Clamping down on the vented rotors are billet aluminum, two-piston calipers with Hawk high-performance brake pads, and further weight reduction comes from the billet aluminum rotor hats and caliper brackets.
Moving up front, Aerospace Components steps up to a billet 4-piston caliper with the same 11.75-inch vented rotor, Hawk brake pads, and billet rotor hats and caliper brackets. Up front, the weight savings is even greater at 54 lbs, which should help reduce rotational mass as well as aid in weight transfer. According to Aerospace Components, another benefit to switching to the company’s brake kit is a better caliper release for virtually no drag on the rotors.
While you can contact Aerospace Components directly for these 1999-2004 Lightning and F-150 brake kits, BG Racing is the company’s premier distributor of the kits and BG proprietors Brad and Nina Gusler offer first-hand experience with the products as they both race in the NMRA Drag Racing series with both SVT Lightnings and Mustangs as well.