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17" vs 18", spacer vs none and DOT Race tire opinions?

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Old 06-18-2017, 04:45 PM   #1
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17" vs 18", spacer vs none and DOT Race tire opinions?

Time has come for some new tires and I need to decide if I am going to keep the rims I'm using or get something different.

What I'm using now is four 18 x 9.5 'Vette wheels with 2" hub centric spacers.

The rims I'm considering are the CTW 17x9.5.

The car is heavily modified, set up for turning corners (not straight line) and not a daily driver. Most use will be Sunday afternoon drives (not little old lady like at all) with the occasional (monthly) trip to a track and back for a track day. Maybe the occasional club meeting or cruise-in.

I will run DOT race tires exclusively.

Now, on to the three areas of opinion I'm interested in.

17" vs 18"

I have the 18s.
18's will have more tire options now and especially in the future.

The 17" CTW's look better.

spacers vs no spacers

No spacers is obviously better, especially on a car that will be run hard on the track with DOT race tires.
But...
I could keep the 18's (which require spacers) and cross my fingers that nothing bad will happen. I'm not really that worried about breaking them. After 35 years of abusing this car I've come to the understanding (long ago) that everything will break eventually.

Finally tires:

Here is a list of what is available right now from tire Rack:
275-40-17
G-FORCE R1 S $312
VENTUS Z214 $223
Hoosier A7 $332
Hoosier R7 $332
PROXES R888 $195.34
PROXES RA1 $253.45
PROXES RR $258.38

Anyone with first hand experience with more than one of these?
Of the DOT tires I've run before (R1's and VictoRacer's) I liked my old R1's the most.
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:02 AM   #2
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Re: 17" vs 18", spacer vs none and DOT Race tire opinions?

The track will always find the new 'weak link' in your car.

I am looking at Nitto NT05's for my 'bird as the tires I have now are done.

http://www.onlinetires.com/index.php

I hope Paul or Dean will chime in on the 17" vs 18" pros/cons list.
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:44 AM   #3
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Re: 17" vs 18", spacer vs none and DOT Race tire opinions?

If you go down to a 17 the inside of the wheel rim will come achingly close to the outer tie rod end and the strut body's lip. Sometime in the future when I find the right set of used 'Vette wheels I'll move up to 19s from my current 17s. 17's have less rotating mass but like you said, tire options will dwindle just like 16's did. If the wheels you have are not actual GM wheels I would get rid of them-- There are stories (internet stories so who knows if they are true) about guys running the Corvette knockoffs and breaking spokes or separating the rim while driving on the track.
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:05 AM   #4
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Re: 17" vs 18", spacer vs none and DOT Race tire opinions?

They look to be genuine 'Vette wheels. They have all the right casting marks.

I like the 5 spoke design, but the P.O. spray painted them black and didn't do a very good job of it. Also, one rim is from a different year 'Vette (Y2K vs Speedline). It has the same dimensions and offset, but if you look from closer that 10 feet, you can tell it is a little different.

Until last year I was running Cragar soft 8's in 17x9. Yes they are heavy, but after breaking several sets of aftermarket aluminum rims in one racing season, I decided that the durability was worth the weight penalty. But those won't fit over my front brakes anymore, so they are on Craigslist right now.

I keep going back and forth about getting the CTW's. Right now I'm leaning toward just getting new tires for the 18's I have and seeing what happens. If they last through one set of race tires, I'll call it a success.
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:03 PM   #5
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Re: 17" vs 18", spacer vs none and DOT Race tire opinions?

I am the owner of CTW Motorsports and can give you some honest advice.

You are correct in the fact there are more 17" tires than 18" - in the 275 section width. But many are restricted by sanctioning rules to run 17" (CMC is an example).

There are other tires in 275-40-17 to consider - discount tire direct carries brands that TR does not. You can also add a few that only race shops carry.

Not all wheels are created equal in terms of handling race abuse, CTW wheels are on dozens of CMC, AI, and autocross cars and no wheel has failed that wasn't in a major accident. Then again, most CMC cars ran 16" OEM crosslace wheels and their failure rate was extremely low also. There is a tradeoff to be made in terms of weight, strength, brake clearance, and price.

What wheels did you run that broke racing?

There is also a tradeoff in terms of 17" vs 18" wheels - all else being equal: sidewall height, wheel and tire weight, brake clearance, tire selection, and price. Even though we are not selling 18" wheels (yet), both the 17" and 18" diameters are in the "optimal window" and will work great for you. 19" becomes heavier and the sidewall too short to be as effective as an 18" version.
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:25 PM   #6
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Re: 17" vs 18", spacer vs none and DOT Race tire opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by paul_huryk View Post
Not all wheels are created equal in terms of handling race abuse, CTW wheels are on dozens of CMC, AI, and autocross cars and no wheel has failed that wasn't in a major accident. Then again, most CMC cars ran 16" OEM crosslace wheels and their failure rate was extremely low also. There is a tradeoff to be made in terms of weight, strength, brake clearance, and price.

What wheels did you run that broke racing?

There is also a tradeoff in terms of 17" vs 18" wheels - all else being equal: sidewall height, wheel and tire weight, brake clearance, tire selection, and price. Even though we are not selling 18" wheels (yet), both the 17" and 18" diameters are in the "optimal window" and will work great for you. 19" becomes heavier and the sidewall too short to be as effective as an 18" version.
No 18's yet?
Does that mean that some may be on the way? Any ETA? If there is a possibility that you might offer your wheels in an 18, I may just make due with what I have for now.

The wheels I broke were (this was a long time ago) a couple of sets of aluminum Cragar's and another set that I don't know who made. They were all used and I don't know the models off hand. After that I switched to a set of '92 Z-28 16x8's. They didn't break, but i don't know if it was because they were stronger or if it was the smaller tire I had to run. After another year, I switched to the Soft 8's. Very heavy, but I never worried about breaking those.
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:42 PM   #7
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Re: 17" vs 18", spacer vs none and DOT Race tire opinions?

We were planning to make the 18" in the future - but that is on hold for at least the next year, if not longer. The foundry we contract to has been running 24/7 making wheels for the 6th gen camaros and c7 corvettes (we use GM's plant during its downtime). No ETA - we will just leave it as that.

Ok, Cragar was never know for their design or strength, but that is a bit surprising.

GM OEM wheels in most cases are less breakable than most of the aftermarket cast offerings ever produced in the same size.

Soft 8s in a 17" x 9" have to be somewhere in the 35 to 40lb range, just for the wheels! We recently lowered the price on our wheels and just the aspect of dropping 15 to 20lbs/corner vs. what you have now would be a step in the right directio for racing.


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No 18's yet?
Does that mean that some may be on the way? Any ETA? If there is a possibility that you might offer your wheels in an 18, I may just make due with what I have for now.

The wheels I broke were (this was a long time ago) a couple of sets of aluminum Cragar's and another set that I don't know who made. They were all used and I don't know the models off hand. After that I switched to a set of '92 Z-28 16x8's. They didn't break, but i don't know if it was because they were stronger or if it was the smaller tire I had to run. After another year, I switched to the Soft 8's. Very heavy, but I never worried about breaking those.
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Old 06-19-2017, 01:58 PM   #8
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Re: 17" vs 18", spacer vs none and DOT Race tire opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by paul_huryk View Post
We were planning to make the 18" in the future - but that is on hold for at least the next year, if not longer. The foundry we contract to has been running 24/7 making wheels for the 6th gen camaros and c7 corvettes (we use GM's plant during its downtime). No ETA - we will just leave it as that.

Ok, Cragar was never know for their design or strength, but that is a bit surprising.

GM OEM wheels in most cases are less breakable than most of the aftermarket cast offerings ever produced in the same size.

Soft 8s in a 17" x 9" have to be somewhere in the 35 to 40lb range, just for the wheels! We recently lowered the price on our wheels and just the aspect of dropping 15 to 20lbs/corner vs. what you have now would be a step in the right directio for racing.
Yes, the Soft 8's are about 40 lbs. But not I'm running those anymore, they will not clear the C7 Z51 Calipers and 13.6" rotors. Currently I have 18 x 9.5 'Vette wheels with 2" hub-centric spacers.

So the main drawback with the 'Vette wheels I'm running now are the spacers. But at least the spacers are hub-centric...I'm leaning slightly toward putting some good tires on the 'Vette wheels and hoping that nothing breaks before your 18's are out.
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Old 06-20-2017, 04:42 PM   #9
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Re: 17" vs 18", spacer vs none and DOT Race tire opinions?

At this point, it might be next year - or maybe even never if the factory is so busy that they will only be making GM OEM wheels and cannot spare the line.

I would never say spacers are going to make the car unsafe, but equal wheels (without spacers) are going to be the best bet in 99.9% of the cases.


Quote:
Originally Posted by esc View Post
Yes, the Soft 8's are about 40 lbs. But not I'm running those anymore, they will not clear the C7 Z51 Calipers and 13.6" rotors. Currently I have 18 x 9.5 'Vette wheels with 2" hub-centric spacers.

So the main drawback with the 'Vette wheels I'm running now are the spacers. But at least the spacers are hub-centric...I'm leaning slightly toward putting some good tires on the 'Vette wheels and hoping that nothing breaks before your 18's are out.
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Old 06-20-2017, 06:15 PM   #10
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Re: 17" vs 18", spacer vs none and DOT Race tire opinions?

I agree that w/out spacers is better.
But maybe what I have is good enough for now...

That WILL free up some money to get better tires.
Right now, I'm leaning toward a set of 275-35-18 G-force R1's (not S).
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Old 06-25-2017, 02:30 AM   #11
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Re: 17" vs 18", spacer vs none and DOT Race tire opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tibo View Post
If the wheels you have are not actual GM wheels I would get rid of them-- There are stories (internet stories so who knows if they are true) about guys running the Corvette knockoffs and breaking spokes or separating the rim while driving on the track.
I personally cracked a spoke on a replica C6 Zo6 wheel in an 18x 8.5 with a 255-50-18 tire on it -a very large sidewall tire compared to a typical vette tire which makes it more forgiving on pressure on the wheel. It was on the LF of Vetruck, but keep in mind this truck weighs 5000 lbs.
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Old 06-25-2017, 12:40 PM   #12
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Re: 17" vs 18", spacer vs none and DOT Race tire opinions?

Interesting.
Maybe the heavier vehicle and taller side wall would cancel each other out?
I am pretty sure, based on the casting marks, that my wheels are GM made.

Today I'm leaning toward the Nitto NT01 275-35-18. Realistically, I'm likely to put more miles on it driving to/from the track than at the track, and around here we do get the occasional thunderstorm popping up out of nowhere.
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