This paper demonstrates the potential of coupling simulation with the Taguchi method in the design process. A two- dimensional transient heat transfer model is used to simulate the axial and radial temperature field of a disk brake rotor. The simulation results are then used as input into the Taguchi method to identify the most dominant design parameters in order to optimize the design. The optimum design is compared with the existing design to determine the effectiveness of the recommended design changes. The results show the influence of such design parameters as rotor type (solid or vented) and rotor taper as well as material characteristics (particularly conductivity). A further step investigates the influence of rotor thickness and rotor/brake pad area ratio together with an approach that makes the design robust against different types of braking action. Without interfacing the thermal simulation model with the Taguchi method, it would be very difficult to determine the dominant parameters or parameter interaction in order to obtain an optimum disk brake rotor design.