It’s been two weeks since my last update. A lot of planning has taken place, but not a lot of activity on the car. I refuse to change anything until we’ve had it on track to understand how it works stock. The end of the month is the first track day I can find at Buttonwillow running clockwise configuration 13. In this entry I’ll highlight the way I made my wheel choice for the car. Admittedly not a lot of analytical information this time, but progress is progress, right?
From my previous entries, it should be relatively self-evident that my requirements for a wheel for the FR-S are:
- 17×9 – wide as we can get without risking the wheels ordered not fitting
- Light weight – call this under 19 lbs for the size – unsprung weight is the enemy
- Good fitment – hellafunction, not hellaflush
- Good price – No wheels that cost 18% of the value of the car
What is the age old adage for race car fabrication? “Fast, Cheap, reliable – choose two” I think the same applies to wheel options for the FR-S. combine the 5×100 bolt pattern and my list of requirements made for few choices. And apparently to make things worse, in Japan, all the track oriented consumers are looking for 18’s, so the the supply of 9” wide 17’s isn’t likely to change. The only options I could find without going with a custom made wheel were:
- Rotas –There are a couple styles that are the right size, but luckily, as they don’t fit criteria #2, I don’t have to face the “rota debate”.
- Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2 – they come in 40mm and 45mm offsets, but are also about 20 lbs/ corner. Not to mention they are not available in country right now so they are special order from Europe. A rock solid wheel, but heavier than I want, even though the price is fair.
- Mach V Motorsports “Awesome” wheel. – 17×9, 17.8lbs, 42mm offset, $250/corner. They come with a center cap, but no valve stems. Bingo.
The Mach V Motorsports wheel is specifically made for Subarus. Its hubcentric for the FT86 chassis, and comes drilled for both 5×100 and 5×114.3 bolt patterns. So if we ever do end up doing a hub conversion on this car, we can continue to use the wheels. The Mach V wheel is a form flow cast 5 spoke design wheel. While forged wheels are generally deemed to be lighter and more rigid, they also are way more expensive. Dan at Mach V talked me through their design process as I am concerned about damaging wheels on track. I wasn’t as concerned about “if” they would fail, as all wheels will with the proper FUBAR’d corner entry, but I was concerned “how” they would fail. Cast wheels have a reputation for cracking, not bending like forged ones do. Dan assured me that during their design process, they actually added material to the spokes to increase the sheer strength and ensure safety when in use, and the form flow casting process is more reliable than the simpler casting ones used in the past. I just wanted to make sure that when damage occurs, that the barrel doesn’t leave the hub leaving me to 3 wheel the car to a stop. These wheels fit the bill for that. All of this, and at a price of $249 a corner, I don’t really see anything else remotely close to the performance per dollar ratio on the market.
I ordered them in flat black, but they come in a couple other finishes you can see here:
I don’t do much for aesthetics for my cars, but I am considering having these wheels powder coated. I am pretty dead set on some shade of blue. Somewhere between Volk’s “Magnesium Blue” and “Hyper Blue”.
Here are a couple sample colors I picked up locally. Not sure any of these are right. I also considered a bright color, like Porsche’s Mexico Blue, but not sure. Vote on the poll, or leave a comment.
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