Project Nissan 350Z: The Birth of our Motegi TrakLite Wheels with Nitto NT01 Tires
By Mike Kojima
Our Project Nissan 350Z needs some new shoes. The stock Nissan alloy wheels had developed a crack rendering them unsafe and the worn generic tires that the car came with were on their last legs. It was time for an upgrade. Since we wanted a specific offset and width for this medium powered car we called upon Motegi Racing to provide us with a set of their TrakLite wheels.
|What do Tanner Foust's and Brian Deegan's rallycross cars have in common with Sera's Z? Motegi Wheels.
Since Motegi’s production plant is fairly close to MotoIQ headquarters, Motegi invited us to witness the production of our wheels and we gladly obliged. Not too many people are aware that the Motegi TrakLite wheels can be made to order with custom offsets and widths. This is a really cool feature when trying to stuff the largest possible tires in your wheelwells.
|This flying saucer looking disc shaped object is the forged blank that the center section of the wheel is CNC machined from.
We asked Motegi to build us a set of 18×9 and 18×10 wheels with an offset of 30mm so we could fit a 245 front and 275 rear tire. Although we could fit as wide as a 275 front and 305 rear tire in the Z’s stock wheel wells with the right offset, we took into consideration that our power goals for this car are moderate and we did not want to overtire the chassis, especially since Sera the stunt woman occasionally goes drifting in it. This offset provides a scrub radius that is complementary with the car's scrub radius.
|The wheel centers are machined at this CNC machining center.
The Motegi TrakLite is a lightweight two piece forged wheel. A circular forged blank is CNC machined to make the center section. The machining is done in house to your specified offset. The forging is circular and close to net so the grain orientation is radial and reasonably close to optimal, not like a blank sawn from a round bar which will have grain flow in a circle around the periphery like some other wheels that claim to have forged centers.
|The CNC machine cranks out our wheel centers!
|Completed machined wheel centers await assembly.