I’m currently in Daytona Beach, Florida for the ICACC’10 conference. One of the keynote speakers was the University of Bayreuth’s Walter Krenkel. Krenkel invented a liquid silicon infiltration process for the manufacture of SiC-based ceramics for disks and pads in high performance brake systems.These brakes are hard and heat resistant, plus their light weight translates into less spun mass at the wheels.
The downside is that ceramic brake systems are still expensive. So, while it will still be a while before these brake systems make it into the typical Ford or Toyota. Nevertheless, ceramic composite brakes are common in F1 racing and increasingly in high-performance, luxury-level cars.