Wheels for drifting
We get asked a lot about wheels and choosing a set of rims suitable for drifting so here is an all in one guide to the points you need to look out for when choosing a drift rim.
When starting out you will ruin scratch scrape and probably even crack the wheels. A set of cheap steelies will work well, they are cheap, fairly strong and not too heavy.
A key consideration when drifting is to keep the wheel weight as low as possible. This is an unsprung mass and will act like a flywheel with every direction change. When a wheel is light it allows fast andcontrolled changes of direction.
Brake cooling is also important. The more air you get to the brake disc the better the braking and cooling effect will be.
We recommend a fairly deep lip on the rim edge as the tyres are subject to very high horizontal sheer forces. The last thing you want is for the tyre bead to loose adhesion and pop off the rim or deflate.
Most drifting will carry a few sets of wheels and tyres as these are changed over during runs. Getting a wheel with a fast release mechanism will save time. Your not talking about pit stop fast changes here, it's just nice to get as much time on the track as possilbe and quickly swapping on a new set of rims with tyres whilst the old set have new tyres fitted will gain you some time.
In competitions where you perform a warm up, then a scored run you generally have plenty of preparation time between runs so having a quick swap option is not that important.
There is a tendency to fit wider rims on the cars for drifting as this fills the arches better and allows for higher speed drifts.
One thing to think about is the cost of tyres. There are plenty of anomolies where a slightly larger or smaller rim will dramatically alter the cost of the tyres. The forces of supply and demand kick in where tyres for popular rim sizes are often cheaper than rare unsual tyre sizes.
You'll notice that when you start drifting you'll get through slightly more tyres than usual (ok so perhaps a lot more). With many drifters getting second hand part worn tyres to practice on it helps to have access to a wide selection so choosing something rare will just make it harder to source cheap tyres.
Avoid heavy runflat tyres like the plague when drifting. If you are starting out in drifiting then a fairly narrow set of tyres will allow you to get a feel for catching a drift at slower speeds before you move on to high speed wider tyres.
Although it depends a lot on the car and the suspension setup we would recommend only running a maximum of 17's or 18's. Larger rims are heavier and more prone to tramlining.
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