Brake fade is a gradual reduction in braking power due to loss of friction between the braking surfaces. It occurs when brakes overheat from prolonged or repeated braking during high-performance driving.
Friction-based braking systems progressively lose their effectiveness as heat builds up. Overheating causes a film of gas to accumulate between the break pad and the disc. When the brakes are applied, the pad slips on the gas and friction decreases. With less friction, the brake pedal travels further than normal and requires more pressure to slow the car down, and the stopping distance increases gradually until the brakes can no longer slow the car down.