Racing rims are an automotive product that attract a great deal of attention both in and out of actual racing circles. With the massive amount of car enthusiasts valuing racing rims more for their aesthetic capabilities than their performance factor, a new market has been born, made up of rims that are focused more on aesthetics than actual performance. However, there is still a massive market for performance enhancing racing rims, which attracts masses of motorsport and performance car enthusiasts every year. From casual hobbyists to professional racers, the value of a high quality set of racing rims is well documented, and their massive benefits put them in the essential category for any serious car enthusiast.
With such a wide variety of rims available, it can be difficult to know what type are the ideal fit and profile for your specific vehicle. While it's possible to customize your car with rims and new wheel arches, the ideal fit for optimum performance is almost always dictated by your cars structure and performance abilities. There's nothing worse for performance and handling than ill-fitted rims on the wrong type of car, so picking the right size and design should be the first priority for any car enthusiast.
While many show cars go for the biggest set of racing rims possible, this isn't always ideal for performance and in-car comfort. If you're a motor racer, or someone looking to extract the ultimate in performance from your vehicle, you're much better off going with a set of racing rims that balance aesthetics with performance. This can be achieved by choosing the right size of rims for your car. Be sure to pick something that fits relatively comfortably into the wheel arches of your car, and doesn't require any excess bodywork changes or large shifts in the suspension pressure. Generally speaking, a set of 17 inch wheels will fit on a moderate car, with rims of 18 inches and over being ideal for large cars or cars that have relatively low ground clearance.
Another factor to consider is the style and performance factors of your cars suspension set up. If you're still running the factory suspension, you might find that racing rims with low profile tires cause your car to perform poorly, react slowly to steering commands, and just generally be uncomfortable to ride in. This isn't so much a result of wheel choice as much as it is the effects of ill-fitted suspension and rims working together. In order to get the most from your racing rims, both in terms of performance and comfort, you need to pair them with an adequate suspension set up. Very often, the factory suspension set up can't accommodate new rims without some major alterations.
Thirdly, another important factor to consider is the width and build quality of the tires that you'll be running on your new rims. Racing rims tend to lead to the use of two different types of tires; low profile street tires, and racing slicks. The two tire types are completely different, and are designed for vastly different purposes. Lets explain the basic differences between the two:
Low profile street tires are designed to allow the optimum combination of grip and performance on paved and concreted roads. They generally have relatively little tread, but still enough to provide high levels of grip on wet or poorly paved roads, and certainly enough to provide high levels of grip on high quality, well paved roads. For inner city and highway driving, these tires are ideal. Many racing rims come with these tires as a recommended fitting, as the rims are quite often used for street use only. If your car spends most of it's life on the road, get these tires.
Racing slicks can come in a variety of tire profiles and construction types, however they're all grouped together because of one common factor: their slick grip type and minimal tread amount. Racing slicks are almost perfectly flat, and are free of any of the extra tread that is required for road use. These types of tires provide the ideal amount of grip for use on a warm, dry racing track, and are practically useless for any other application. Due to their lack of grip in wet or icy conditions, they're often illegal for on-road use, and are practically unusable for around town driving. If your car spends all of it's life on the race track, then these tires are ideal for you.
There's a final issue when it comes to racing rims, and that's the rim design itself. Generally this decision is affected more by the particular aesthetic qualities of your car, rather than any performance oriented factors. It really all comes down to personal preference, with different types of rims typically offering small performance changes and differences. This one is left up to you, for it's impossible to give good advice and direction on something as personal as racing rim aesthetics. In general, the size and tire type will effect your car's performance much more so than the design of the rims will.
So, as you now know, there are three major factors that come into play when you're deciding on a set of racing rims. Firstly, you need to pick a set that will fit on your car without adversely affecting the performance. This means picking something that's the right size and shape for your car. Secondly, you need to survey your needs in a tire, and pick something that is ideal for your type of driving. And finally, you need to pick a set of racing rims that compliment the design of your car. All of these factors add up to the perfect set of racing rims for you and your vehicle.