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Old 07-17-2002, 07:16 AM   #1
Bimmerman
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Livonia, MI
Vehicle:
2002 WRX Wagon
2000 BMW 323i

Question Need advice on 16" vs 17" wheels and tire width...

After taking the wagon to the track a couple weeks ago I realized that I need some new rubber. I plan to get Bridgestone S-03's, but I'm not sure if I should get 16" or 17" wheels. I always thought that 17s would provide better handling, but I have noticed that some people on the board have been buying 16s for racing and track days. Are 16s better for the track? Also, I've noticed that some people have had their 225 width tires rub when using wheels with a 48 offset on the wagons; if you have an offset of 50-53 could you use 225 tires without any danger of rubbing?

Thanks
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Old 07-17-2002, 10:50 AM   #2
boxerT
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The reasons why many people buy 16" wheels for auto-x or track days are many. They usually are:
1. Rims are cheaper and they are often the 2nd set of wheels/tires
2. 16" tires street or race are usually cheaper to replace.
3. There are more 16" race and street tires that would fit a WRX. Some examples are: 205/50/16, 215/45/16, 225/50/16, 245/45/16 (probably sedan only).

The problem: 16" wheel choices are much more limited than the 17" or 18". Hope this helps.
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Old 07-17-2002, 11:44 AM   #3
scott_gunn
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Another reason many are autocrossing with 16s is that 17 inch wheels would exclude people from racing in the stock class.
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Old 07-18-2002, 06:10 PM   #4
Bimmerman
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Thanks for the replies. So people are basically trading off a little grip at the track for cheaper tires and wheels - 16 inch wheels aren't necessarily better? 17 inch wheels will typically improve the handling of the car, right?
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Old 07-18-2002, 06:21 PM   #5
rkkwan
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I just picked up a set of '98 OEM 16" wheels, and am planning to put R-compounds on. Will take these to the track rather than my 18" S-03s.

Why 16"? To me - cost of tires, and weight of combo. Handling? Most R-compounds or race tires have very stiff sidewalls, even at 16". The improvement in handling and steering feel with 17" or 18" over 16" won't be as dramatic as with street tires.

-Ray
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Old 07-18-2002, 06:36 PM   #6
98kPa
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Just an fyi... I run 235/45 on 17x8 and it rubs a bit on hard rights, soemtimes.

jason
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Old 07-18-2002, 11:55 PM   #7
Miracle Worker
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lets not forget that the width isn't that much of a difference between them. maybe a fraction of a inch.
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Old 07-19-2002, 06:02 AM   #8
oldmansan
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Default Let's talk about weight.

A 16" wheel will be lighter. Typically, the tire will be too. So if you're interested in saving weight (especially rotational weight) go with the 16s. You can get 16 x 8/7.5/7 wheels that are real light (SSR Competitions come to my mind) and still give you a large contact patch. I will be the first to admit that 17, 18s or 19s LOOK better. But what are you after?

San
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Old 07-19-2002, 12:37 PM   #9
Chuck H
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bimmerman
Thanks for the replies. So people are basically trading off a little grip at the track for cheaper tires and wheels - 16 inch wheels aren't necessarily better? 17 inch wheels will typically improve the handling of the car, right?
Typically, the car will corner better with 17 inch wheels, but you'll give up a slight amount of straight line acceleration and add a slight amount of braking distance because of the increased rotational inertia of the bigger wheels. In most cases, the cornering improvement outweights the negative factors.

But the other consideration is that going to 17 inch wheels will move you from a stock class to street touring at the very least.
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