Project E36 323is Part 8 – Proper Wheels, Studs, and Tires
Project E36 323is is continuing its transformation from the mildest of BMW's inline 6 cylinder options into a well-prepped street car that isn’t afraid of some track time.
We last changed wheels and tires from the knock-off AC Schnitzers to a nice, albeit heavy, set of BBS RX wheels, and it helped changed the looks and performance of our mild mannered street car. Now with the help of D-Force, we were able to put our wheels on a diet and shed 8.6 pounds of rotational mass per corner and installed proper wheel studs. We called on Achilles Radial again to provide their championship-winning 123s tires to ensure that grip is something we won’t have to worry about.
D-Force wheels have been around for quite some time, and their LTW5 model is very popular with the BMW crowd. You can also find their wheels on cars such as the Pirelli World Challenge Roush Mustang.
We chose to go with a set of 17″ x 8.5″ with a +40 offset in Anthracite. With these wheels weighing in at 15.5lbs we save 8.6 pounds per corner!
This beneficial weight-savings is achieved through a unique manufacturing process: The center area of the wheel is first cast in a low pressure mold, then the wheel is placed on a CNC machine where it is pressed, heated, and spun simultaneously. This forces the aluminum in the barrel area of the wheel to be thinner than a cast wheel yet molecularly more dense, resulting in a semi-forged finish that provides more strength with less mass. The outcome is a wheel with the reduced weight and similar load-bearing strength of a forged wheel, but at a much lower cost.
Our tire of choice is the Achilles Radial 123s in a 235/45/17 size.
Achilles Radial came out swinging in 2012—their first year in Formula Drift US—with two wins and four podiums, eventually winning the 2012 Championship with driver Daigo Saito. While our E36 isn’t a drift car, the 123s also performs well on road courses as demonstrated by JC Meynet during Super Lap Battle.