Being a long term lurker to this group, I feel I might payback with personal experience that may be valuable to some. I've been attending driving schools with increasing frequency for six years. My car is a '92 535i, 5 spd. with suspension upgrades and 17" tires. At the tracks I most frequently lap, it eats front brake pads like puddin' pops. I get maybe an hour of hot laps out of the normal HP street pads I've tried (MetalMasters, Ferodo, Pagid). This means, in a two day event, I have to scramble to replace pads the morning of the second day. I have always hated this distaction.
Last season I bought a set of Hawk Blues for the fronts and used them for a couple of late season schools. Why just fronts? It was a mistake that I'm fixing this year. Why the Hawk Blues? I wanted the full, uncompromised experience and the Blues have all the good and the bad of a full race pad. If your big ol' seedan eat brake pads at lapping events, I think full race pads are a great solution.
You don't use these pads on the street. They need heat to work. Cold, they will maim your rotors. You need to break them in, instructions included. I installed mine on a set of 75% fresh Powerdiscs and found the pads extended out onto the edge bead of the rotor. After break in, the edge bead was gone. Huh. I find I can install them the day before my event and drive carefully until I get there. You just have to anticipate braking situations and apply light pressure to heat them up before you lean on them.
At the track, they haul down an E34 from 130 mph like you can't believe. And they can do it over and over again. Frankly, I don't understand how a race pad can affect braking so profoundly when a stock pad can still actuate ABS. Maybe the reduced pedal effort and freedom from fade fools me, but they certainly inspire confidence and invite abuse. The feeling of deceleration seems much more powerful and I could not induce even a hint of fade.
I mentioned that I'm going to Blues on the rear as well. I noticed that under heavy braking, there was more nose dive and a little rear end skitishness. I talked to Turner Motorsport last week (should have last year when I bought only fronts) and was told that the rear brakes are only at 20% capability because stock pads have a much lower coefficient of friction. They said if I use the Blues in the rear too, dive and stability will improve and my front pads and rotors will last much longer. And I'll get even stronger braking. Gees, I'll have to duct tape my glasses to my forehead.
The bad news. They dust like crazy. Piles of black pad dust - or maybe its rotor dust. After a good two day school and one full day of all lapping, the pads are down to 60% left and the front rotors are about whooped. I had following driver's tell me that they could see a puff of dust shoot out from my front wheels when I hit them hard from high speed. The Blues have a reputation for corrosive dust, but while dry, the dust brushes off easily from wheels and fenders and comes off in the car wash. I hear you want to avoid leaving the dust on in the rain and letting it dry. Economics were a small portion of the decision, but at better than five times the life, the Blues are cheaper than standard pads. And I get the amazing braking and no pad changing hassles during the schools. Rotors are cheap for these cars - no need for drilled or slotted rotors. I've had no rotor warpping problems - never have as I always drive around for ten minutes after I come off the track. I have to hone my braking skills as the high friction of the pads require a more subtle squeeze on and off. The reduced dive with rear pads will help this also. Hawk Blues are only one of several fine race pads on the market. In sure comparable products offered by Performance Friction, Porterfield or others do very well also. I don't think, however, any streetable carbon pad (PFZ, R4S, etc.) can offer the full advantage on the track of a race pad. High temperature capability precludes cold pad performance. Comments and questions welcome.