A new, systematic approach to the design-evaluation-test product development cycle is described wherein the vehicle design and simulation environments are integrated. This methodology is applied to brake mechanical design and material selection. Time-domain computations within a vehicle dynamic simulation environment account for brake and lining geometry and material properties, actuator properties, and temperature effects. Two examples illustrate the utility of this approach by examining: the effect of varying hydraulic cylinder diameter on passing federally mandated stopping distance tests, and the effect of S-cam actuator adjustment on the performance of air brakes on a tractor-trailer. The simulation results are compared with experimental vehicle stopping distance tests to assess the validity of the simulations. Implementing virtual testing early in the product development cycle has the potential to shorten development time, reduce the risk of failure during expensive physical testing, and increase the overall product quality.