Brake rotors replaced drum brakes in vehicles due to their greater efficiency in slowing down the vehicle, as well as the fact that they last longer. Drum brakes used shoes which wore out very rapidly, due to the heat caused by friction. In addition to brake shoes having to be changed, drum brakes usually required the drums to be replaced too. Brake rotors, on the other hand, only require the brake pads to be changed once in a while.


Brake rotors, however, are not completely resistant of heat. They too wear out over long periods of time. Moreover, the heat in a performance brake rotor can seriously affect the braking time of a vehicle. While in ordinary vehicles this may not seem like a problem, it is a real problem in performance vehicles. Therefore, brake rotors now come with holes drilled into them to increase ventilation. This is known as cross-drilling and improves the rate at which a brake rotor cools. This helps increase the life of a brake rotor, while giving a vehicle better braking capability.


In the case of performance brake rotors, however, cross-drilling the brake rotor may not be such a good idea. This is because the holes in the brake rotor act as a source of stress points and may reduce the overall strength of the rotor, making it prone to breaking. This is especially true in racing cars, where strong rotors are vital. In vehicles that are not used for extreme driving, the cross-drilled rotors may be more of an advantage than otherwise.


A performance brake rotor, as a result, mostly use slotted rotors. Slotted rotors are almost as equally effective as cross-drilled rotors. Yet, unlike the cross-drilled rotors, the slotted performance brake rotor is much stronger. This quality has made them very popular with performance drivers. The slots on the performance brake rotor are very effective in removing heat from the rotor, as a result reducing wear and increasing braking efficiency. These slots act as vents allowing the heat to escape as the brake rotor spins.


Using carbon fiber for performance brake rotors is a good idea as carbon fiber on its own has a high durability. Ceramic is another ideal material for a performance brake rotor because of its high heat capacity. These materials with slots are the perfect combination for a performance brake rotor. Racing drivers usually prefer these combinations for their cars to achieve optimized braking performance.


In addition to a performance brake rotor, race drivers need to pay attention to their brake pads to get the best out of their performance brake rotor. Installing the best performance brake rotor will not necessarily improve braking performance if the brake shoes are not up to standards. The performance brake rotor and the brake pads work together as a pair.