Wheel Guide for the JDM Track Inspired Look
Japanese cars are part of the fabric that makes up our automotive culture. We love them on the street and track. In this article, we guide you in choosing the best wheels for a JDM track-inspired look.
Japanese manufacturers are the reason behind some of the coolest stuff in the car scene today, just like the small high-revving engines and the sportiest designs ever.
Topnotch engineering found its way into the likes of the Lancer and Impreza, making them fiercely competitive in motorsports in the early '90s. Mad machines rose like the Calsonic Nissan R32 track car which started the Godzilla legend.
Aside from grid racing, drifting also caught up with Americans. Fans loved how drivers like Keiichi Tsuchiya effortlessly made their cars go sideways. Their cars danced as they lose and regain traction on the tarmac.
Building Your Track-Inspired Car
Who wouldn't want to be like their motorsport icons? With enough grit and persistence, you might just find the right project car to start with and follow your motorsport icon's footsteps.
It won't also take long before you put track-inspired parts to look the part. One of the first ones usually on the list are the wheels.
Why Change Your Wheels?
A new set of wheels can alter the way your car look and handles. While they are not essentially for track use, you are giving your car a whole new character. Here are some reasons to get you excited:
Optimized Engine Power
Aftermarket wheels are built using lighter materials. Less weight means the engine can optimize its power. You can enjoy better fuel economy but it also allows you to accelerate quicker if the situation calls for it.
Stability and Handling
If set up right, your new wheels can help stabilize your car. The wider stance can provide more traction while the reduced weight makes it easier for you to steer.
Its construction should also be rigid enough to maintain grip on turns. It makes your feel more confident on the road.
Mounting track-inspired wheels can leave you wanting to drive your car everyday. Its sporty vibe makes your car look more competitive even on the street.
Ofcourse, you don't want to be doing pull offs too often unless you want the 5-0 on your tail.
Even if you're not driving your car on the track, it wouldn't hurt to know how aftermarket wheels are made.
The common manufacturing methods are: cast, flow formed, or forged. Knowing their differences can help set your budget and expectations.
Casting aluminum wheels is the most conventional way to manufacture wheels today. The process is easy and fairly inexpensive, making it accessible to a wide market.
The wheel starts as molten aluminum poured into a cast to form the desired wheel shape. After cooling down, it is machined, drilled, and trimmed into the final design.
While casting is straightforward, the wheel can have inconsistencies in its structural integrity. This can leave the wheel prone to cracking.
The only way to strengthen cast wheels further is to add more material to it at the expense of extra weight.
Flow formed wheels (sometimes referred to as flow forged or forged hybrid) is an improvement from the cast wheels. Additional steps reinforce the wheel and make it lighter.
The process begins by casting the barrel of the wheel in a smaller mold. Heat and pressure are then applied using another machine until it stretches to its final form. Lastly, the casted center piece is installed to complete the wheel.
This kind of wheel offers strength and less weight. It can be used for occasional racing and track days with your buddies.
However, the casted center piece is still prone to crack under extreme abuse.
Forged wheels are the most suited for track purposes. It uses high-grade aluminum monoblock pieces for superior quality.
The wheel starts out with an aluminum block forged to achieve a grain flow. It then undergoes a series of steps to remove excess material and trim it down to its final form with precision.
The result of these steps is a lightweight wheel with high load rating. Forged wheels can be pretty expensive and might not be available in smaller wheel diameters.
Having said that, you might be better off with cast or flow formed wheels if you're just after the looks.
Nailing that JDM Track Inspired Look
There's a lot of aftermarket wheels that can help you nail the JDM track inspired look you've wanted.
To fast track your selection, we compiled a list of wheels that might appeal to you best:
Vordoven Wheels got into manufacturing attractive aftermarket wheels in 2014. The owners were car enthusiasts themselves. Their wheel roster is inspired by both classic and modern designs.
The brand’s wheels are affordable as well as durable. These are manufactured using precision equipment and undergo strict quality assurance. Its production follows the Japan Light Alloy Wheel Standard to ensure each product’s integrity.
Starts at $167
The Vordoven Forme 9 might just be the brand’s most popular design by far. You can easily recognize this wheel with its five split spokes and concavity.
With its spokes evenly spaced, you can have a good view of the brake kit installed behind the wheel. The design works well with JDM cars because it gives off a sporty lightweight appearance and performance.
It's available in 18 and 19 inches, and comes with five-lug bolt patterns. You can have it in machine matte black, matte battleship gray, machine matte gunmetal, and full machine silver.
Starts at $167
The Vordoven Forme 10 is a very clean wheel design inspired heavily by JDM track wheels from the ‘90s. Its design bears six smooth and fairly flat spokes. These are evenly spaced apart from each other forming soft triangles in between each.
It has a slight concavity the pushes the hub a little to the inside. The lip further adds more emphasis and character. Put together, these details will give off a very sporty appearance to your car.
This wheel model comes in 18- and 19-inch sizes for most five-lug bolt patterns. It should fit most modern JDM track car builds.
Vordoven offers this wheel in the following colors: textured matte bronze, candy blue, gloss white, full machine silver, gloss black, and hyper black.
AodHan Wheels entered the aftermarket scene in a ripe time for JDM enthusiasts. In the late 2000s, the brand began producing wheels for performance, luxury, and stance. Despite design variations, its wheels come available at affordable price points.
Its facility uses low-pressure casting and flow-forged process for its monoblock wheels. This helps the wheels become durable throughout their service life.
Starts at $187
The AodHan AH08 is clean and simple, the kind favored by no-frills car guys wanting that JDM look. It has six spokes with a slight concavity and deep lip that further adds some character to the wheel.
The wheel only comes in 18 inches and will fit most five-lug bolt patterns. You can choose from the following finishes: bronze, black, white, and hyper black.
Starts at $187
The AodHan DS06 is a wheel that reminds you of the thrill and excitement from motorsports. Its multi-spoke design is attractive, coming with a slight concavity and deep-dish lip that pushes the wheel face inside.
It is available in 18 and 19 inches, perfect for fitting in those big brake kits on a five-lug car. You can also work with varying offsets and lip sizes to suit your style.
You can have this wheel in bronze with machined lip, hyper black, silver with machined lip, gold, and chrome.
ESR Wheels is known for having a huge assortment of attractive wheels for street applications. The brand is favored by enthusiasts that love making a flashy statement with their cars.
The brand is dedicated to producing affordable aftermarket wheels that can be relied on. It has also invested in manufacturing innovations to further enhance its forging process.
Starts at $184
The ESR SR06 works pretty well for import and European cars. It can make your car look like it came out of the pits with its five clean stubby spokes, soft corner lines, and a deep dish.
The wheel comes relatively affordable. This can help you set aside a budget for other performance parts like brakes, suspension, and powertrain upgrades.
It is available from 17 to 19 inches and will fit most five-lug bolt patterns. You can have it in hyper silver, gloss black, white, and matte bronze.
Starts at $184
The ESR SR07 bares the classic six-spoke design popular in the import tuner scene. The wheel’s simple and clean appearance is perfect for a no-frills JDM track-inspired car.
The spokes form a wide V with soft corners. It also has a slight concavity and stepped lip that adds depth to the wheel.
The SR07’s size ranges from 17 to 19 inches. You can choose from black, machined silver, white, black chrome, and gold chrome.
Kansei Wheels prefers to make a name by putting its designs to actual use on the streets and race track. The brand takes a lot of inspiration from the rich history and culture of Japanese motorsports.
It also works with racing enthusiasts for custom designs matched to specific track applications.
Starts at $227
The Kansei KNP is the brand’s flagship wheel model. Its design can be associated with the classic JDM track wheels. The wheel looks clean and sharp with its five spokes merging the hub to its deep step lip.
It is used by import tuners, whether on the street or track. Its lightweight construction makes it a suitable wheel for track duties.
The wheel comes in 17 and 18 inches and will fit most five-lug bolt patterns. It is available in three finishes: textured bronze, gloss gunmetal, and hyper silver.
Starts at $227
The Kansei Corsa must have been inspired by the GT cars that run neck-breaking speeds.
Its 14 spokes are evenly spaced from each other and look symmetric to each other. While the design is modest, there's no denying that it's geared for performance.
This wheel is available in 18 inches and will fit most five-lug bolt patterns. Choose from its three finishes of hyper silver, gloss gunmetal, and textured bronze.
The Importance of Proper Tuning in Road Safety
A car enthusiast can usually enjoy the car in two ways.
On the track, you get to push your car's limits in a controlled environment. You have every opportunity to clock in your best lap time, flat out on long stretches, and attack turns the quickest.
On the street and highway, you get to drive in style from point A to point B and back. On other days, you cruise to parking lots and come meet other enthusiasts.
Whether your car is built to run on the track or look like one, it is essential to tune it properly and use the right parts for your applications. Doing so ensures reliable performance and your safety whenever you drive it.
Roadworthiness involves a lot things. But since this article is about wheels, here are some of the important things you should always check and tune when you get a new set:
Wheel alignment pertains to the angular orientation of the wheels relative to each other and the vehicle. Tuning the camber and toe to optimum track specifications can be significant in keeping your car stable and maneuverable.
A slightly negative camber makes the lower portion of the wheel stick out more than the upper portion. It can help counter the centrifugal force that throws your car off when you turn.
On the other hand, toe-out adjustments on the front tires can put them in an optimal angle for turning.
Too much or too little these adjustments can result in an undesirable handling.
Having enough clearances ensures that certain parts do not come in contact with each other when you're driving. Always consider your car's factory wheel specifications. When choosing a wheel, you can usually go up a size or two depending on its fenders, suspension, and brakes.
When mounting the wheel, you have to torque the lugs to the correct specification so that they hold the wheel firmly in place. Any vibration, big or small, can take a toll on your wheels and eventually compromise its integrity.
Choosing What's Best for Your JDM Track-Inspired Car
Even if you have no plans of running your car on the track, it's best that you think like your favorite motorsports icons.
Function should come before form when choosing wheels for your JDM track-inspired car. Pick the most reliable design your budget can afford.
And once you've finished setting it up, head out and drive to your heart's desire!