84 DECEMBER 2019 scca.com
With all of the work involved in prepping even the most basic of
RallyCross cars, it’s easy to overlook a few
important details, and a key piece in that
puzzle is wheels. Selecting the correct
set of wheels for your RallyCross vehicle
could easily be the difference between
landing on the podium or ending up with
a max time because your car became a
lawn dart thanks to an untimely failure.
There are a few basic items to consider
when it comes to wheel selection for
RallyCross. One of the universal “don’ts”
involves steel wheels. While steelies may
be fine for a novice on a tight budget,
especially one wheeling a light vehicle,
they aren’t recommended. The strength
of a steel wheel cannot match that of a
well-constructed aluminum one. While
steel wheels are easier to straighten in a
pinch (assuming you have a big enough
hammer), they are also easier to damage.
The loads that your wheels will experience
at a typical RallyCross from bumps and
ruts are just too much for them to take.
Failures can range from simple bends
and dents to catastrophic failures. One
example of this occurred earlier this year
at the DirtFish Great Lakes RallyCross
Challenge, where a competitor driving an
Impreza loaded his car on the trailer only
to discover the center section of one of his
steel wheels had become convex instead of
concave, presumably the result of a now-
misshapen wheel. We’ve also seen cases
where the lugholes can rip on steel wheels.
To this end, using a cheap aftermarket
aluminum wheel in place of an OEM or
properly constructed aftermarket unit is
also a poor decision. The prices of some
gravity cast wheels may look attractive,
but this is not a part you should skimp on.
Something that is a definite “do”
concerning RallyCross wheels is cleaning
and inspecting. While most RallyCross cars
probably aren’t attending car shows on off
weekends, you should be checking wheels
for damage and fatigue. Replacing a worn
wheel before it breaks is much cheaper than
what could happen if it breaks on course.
As for which wheels are a good pick for
ROUND AND ROUND
RallyCross, often OEM aluminum wheels
with the right offset and width will do the job
just fine. Most OEM wheels are inexpensive
to acquire, strong enough to handle
significant abuse, and while they may not
be the lightest option, weight is not quite as
important a consideration for competition
on dirt as it is on pavement. While not
necessary, a dedicated rally-specific wheel
is never a bad pick. Plenty of middle-of-the-
road options exist as well, just pay careful
attention to the wheel’s construction.
Something else to consider in wheel
selection is the pattern of the spokes.
Unlike in road racing or autocross where
the design of the wheel often prioritizes
getting heat out, a good RallyCross wheel
should keep debris from getting in. This is
especially true if you compete in a snowy,
icy, or muddy climate, where all three can
cling to the inner barrel of the wheel.
Selecting the proper wheel for your
RallyCross car shouldn’t be difficult. A
properly constructed, designed, and
inspected wheel will give you peace
of mind and allow you to focus on
driving and having #funwithcars.
Believe it or not, wheel selection is key to building even the most
stock of RallyCross cars | WORDS Matt Wolfe | IMAGE Rupert Berrington
Durable wheels are
a must-have item