Project VA WRX: Enhancing Grip with ARK Design R5 Wheels and Nitto NT05 Tires

Project VA WRX: Enhancing Grip with ARK Design R5 Wheels and Nitto NT05 Tires

by Mike Kojima

Our VA WRX is becoming quite impressive thanks to the gains we have made in its performance.  We are beginning to think that it will soon be knocking at and even exceeding the performance envelope of the much more expensive STI.

Since we have been working on the brakes and suspension of our STI killer VA WRX, it was time to take advantage of those parts with some bigger, grippier tires and wheels to accommodate them. We got the right hardware for the job with some wider wheels from ARK Design and bigger tires from Nitto Tire.

Read more about Project VA WRX here!

The wheel we choose for the job is the ARK Design R5.  Our R5 came nicely packaged with a cloth wheel face protector and thick plastic rim protectors that prevented damage to the wheels finish during transport.
The ARK Design R5 wheels is a high pressure die cast wheel.  High pressure die casting produces a stronger wheel than low cost gravity casting that is common in low price wheels. The R5 design has been pared down using FEA computer aided stress analysis.  The wheel has minimalist spokes that are plenty strong but still very light.  To match our car's sliver paint we chose a semi gloss black finish. The color stays clean looking for a long time and has enough gloss in it to be easy to clean unlike the matte black finish wheels that are currently en vogue. 
The R5 has a cored out hub section to minimize weight.  Our wheels measure a wide 18×9.5″ with a 38mm offset and a 5×114.3 bolt circle.
For tires we chose the Nitto NT05.  The NT05 is the end product of several years of intensive R&D testing, burning rubber at several proving grounds and three different racetracks including the famed Nurburgring.  Nitto’s testing focused on balancing the ultimate in dry handling performance although our testing has shown that the NT05 is not bad in the wet either.

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