Interview: Finding Balance – APG Performance Brakes

It wouldn’t be a stretch to consider the aftermarket braking industry a niche market.  Having so many unique barriers to entry, high cost products, and a somewhat limited consumer base, all make newcomers a very rare sight.  So, for a long time now we’ve seen these products manufactured by the same companies year after year.  As time passes though, and the availability of racing becomes more prominent, consumers began demanding a new type of product; price conscious brake kits that don’t sacrifice quality.  In other words, a product that strikes a balance between cost and performance – in steps APG Performance.

I sat down with a few of the people involved with APG’s creation and testing in order to compile a sort of ‘introduction’ article about the company for the website.  As of last week, APG is not only a site sponsor, but we’ve also began to distribute their kits as well and, since the initial announcement, I’ve been getting quiet a few inquires about the company itself.  I think this article will help to answer everyone’s questions – it’s a start at least.  As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have.

When was APG created?

APG Performance was founded in Japan in 2014.

What is the mission statement of the company?  

From race track to public street, our goal is to provide the highest quality solution to all kinds of driving enthusiasts around the globe.  The core idea of APG is to bring “a perfect gear” for all the users with a perfect guidance on the road.

What sparked the idea for creating the company?

We demanded high quality for safety and braking in all aspects of motor sport. But, wanted an alternative to the companies that existed at the time, as we felt that their product costs were very exaggerated.  After discussing with several Japanese friends who are keen on motorsport, we decided to design our own brand; APG Performance. We hope this is not just a brand but an attitude towards life – pursuing your ambitions instead of settling.

Where does APG stand in the brake market? 

The focus of APG Performance will always be on quality, not on price. Our products are designed and researched on an on-going basis in our own facilities, rather than turning a high-safety product into a commodity marketed price point product.  However, this doesn’t mean our products are overpriced – in fact, for a comprehensive braking package, they are much more competitively priced than the alternatives.

Currently our BBK kit line up covers from European car, American Muscles to JDM enthusiast community.  We’ve done the research and development to provide kits that fit an extremely wide-variety of applications.

What separates APG from other brake companies like Brembo, Wilwood, AP Racing, etc.?

APG is a newly founded brand. We know that we cannot compare with them in volume at the current moment since they’ve been in the market for so long. But, since we are a new brand, it actually gives us more flexibility on what we strive for. We attach great importance to quality and customer service to our products, and we actively expose our products on the track to prove our quality and high performance. By doing so, we hope more enthusiast who love performance and lifestyle can join APG and share our joy of motor sports at a equitable price.

I also contacted my good friend and race car driver Shinobu Matayoshi, who currently uses APG Performance brakes on his time attack FD3S.  Competing in both time attack and traditional, wheel-to-wheel racing gives Matayoshi a solid grasp on the importance of having brakes you can rely on.  As competitive as Time Attack can be, Matayoshi actually prefers to race in endurance races with many people on the track, and one-make races where overtaking is key to gaining position.  In any of these mediums, however, braking plays a major role.

How long have you been racing for?

It’s been about 22 years now. [レースは経験ですか? 22年くらいになります。]

What do you like about Time Attack?

I prefer wheel to wheel racing, especially endurance racing over time attack, actually. [Time Attackはあまり好きではありません。レースの方が好きです。]

 

How have APG Brakes performed in comparison to other brands you’ve used?

APG Braking is aiming to serve a market that has very little support; lower cost, with equal performance; the effect of this is strong.   [APGブーレーキはコストが安く効きは強いと思います。]

What do you think is most important part of braking?

Control, of course.  The car as a whole, especially in the rear, not just the front. [制動の重要部分は奥で効き、コントロール幅の広いものが好きです。]

Do you have a braking style?

My approach and use of braking is not just to slow the car down or stop, but to be conscious of the corners and my actions in relation. [制動スタイルは止めるブレーキングではなく、コーナリングに対する意識です。]

As important as the brake system on a race car is, I feel that it is all too often overlooked as the cost of upgrading can be staggering in some cases.  I feel as if APG can that stigma to rest.   Low-cost braking systems sacrifice quality, and high-priced systems ignore a huge market of consumers and enthusiasts.  Finding a balance between the two is a demand that had yet to be fulfilled.

We’ll continue to test them throughout the season on our cars – but I can report that to date they’ve been performing wonderfully; both on tracks that require heavy braking, and tracks that demand a more delicate pedal.

I hope that this article helped introduce the company a bit.  Being just 4 years old, and with creating a foundation for testing and production taking much of that time, they are just now making an appearance on the global market.