Ceramic composite brake rotors are standard on Formula One racers, and a new era of road-car use is beginning with their optional — and super high-cost — fitment on bad-boy models like the Porsche 911 Turbo and Mercedes-Benz CLK 55 F1.

In addition to outrageous stopping power, the carbon ceramic brakes are claimed to reduce weight by almost 13 lbs. (5.8 kg) per rotor, and they're nearly impervious to heat-induced fade and will last for the life of the vehicle.

Famed Italian brakemaker Brembo doesn't plan to fall behind the trend, announcing that it has initiated pilot production of its own carbon composite material (CCM) ceramic brake rotors at its new Brembo GmbH plant in Ottobrun, Germany. Brembo is not, however, the supplier for either the Mercedes or Porsche ceramic-brake systems.

The company says it has a new process that reduces the ceramic rotors' manufacturing time to a few days instead of several weeks. The new pilot site, in operation since late 2000, is producing the rotors at the rate of 30,000 to 35,000 units annually.

A Brembo spokesman says the company is focused on reducing cost (Porsche asks an astonishing $7,990 for the option), and says the first Brembo-made ceramic brakes will be fitted to a production vehicle next March.