Friction materials used in the brake linings of automobiles, trucks, buses and other vehicles are required to satisfy a number of performance demands: they must provide a dependable, consistent level of friction, excellent resistance to wear, adequate heat dissipation, structural integrity, low cost and, if possible, light weight. No single material can meet all of these often conflicting performance criteria, and as a consequence, multiphase composites have been developed, consisting typically of a dozen or more different materials. The choice of materials is crucial in determining the performance attained, yet to date, braking material compositions have been developed largely on the basis of empirical observations. This paper describes the application of an Intelligent Selection of Materials (ISM) approach to brake lining material development, in which composite micromechanics modeling is used to relate over-all performance to the choice of constituent materials and their properties. When coupled with suitable optimization algorithms, the ISM approach enables accelerated materials development and tailoring of product performance to specific applications.