Project S2000 Part One, Wheels and Tires


Rays quality

Connecting the tires to the chassis are the wheels of course.  Wheels are the next critical component in building a great performance car.  They have to be extremely stiff to provide maximum control, yet they need to be as light as possible as they are unsprung and rotating weight.  By reducing the weight of the wheel, it allows for quicker acceleration, reduced braking force, reduced steering force, and better suspension performance. With increased diameter of the wheel, weight reduction is even more critical to reducing the rotational moment of inertia; basically, the resistance to accelerating.

For Project S2000, we chose Volk RE30s (17”x9”, +63 offset) by RAYS.  As they say, racing improves the breed, and RAYS makes the wheels for the Williams Formula 1 Team.  The demands of F1 are extreme; the wheels are subjected to thousands of pounds of downforce, over 4 lateral G’s of force in the corners, over 5 G’s during braking, and speeds over 200mph.  Additionally, F1 drivers aren’t exactly known as being gentle drivers as evidenced by them attacking the curbing.

volk RE30 FEA output
When looking at FEA output such as this one for the RE30, changes in stress concentration are shown on a color scale going from blue to red with red being high.  In a FEA analysis, you do not want to see very sudden changes in color from blue/green to orange/red which would indicate an area of stress concentration.  Note the RE30 wheel shows gradual changes with no sudden spikes to orange or red.  This is a well designed wheel.

So how do you create a super light and super strong wheel?  It begins with the design process.  RAYS uses extensive FEA analysis to optimize their designs.  Those familiar with analysis know the analysis is only as good as the inputs.  This is where RAYS’s participation in F1, WTCC, Super GT, and American Le Mans is critical.  RAYS has a database full of test data that has allowed them to accurately provide the inputs into their analysis for wheel design.  The result?  The analysis closely matches the results of actual product testing.  The accuracy of RAYS’s analysis package allows them to rapidly develop new wheels as they are able to go through many design iterations quickly.

To be the best, you have to go beyond the standard, so RAYS developed their own strength and durability standard, JWL+R, based on Japan’s JWL Intensity standard for aluminum wheels. JWL+R parameters for endurance and weariness trials are twice as severe as the JWL standard.  Additionally, JWL+R perform a shock trial with heavier weights.  Even though RAYS wheels are very light, you know they are super strong!

Volk RE30 Bridgestone RE11 S2000
The Volk RE30 has plenty of room for our planned brake upgrades later.  We are going to use a 4-piston caliper with a thinner than typical profile.


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