Wheel Size for Track Days? Mk1 1.8

Hi, I’ve used the search function honest!

 

What’s the consensus on wheel size for track days?! Any specific make/model of wheel that anyone could recommend?

I’m currently on 14 inch steel wheels, and I imagine the car will handle better (more responsive) on track with lighter wheels, correct?

 

What weight are your existing steel wheels and what weight are any alloys that you are interested in re 14" and 15" sizes.

Probably better off with a 15" wheel as the tyres are much more available

Stock 14" steel wheels are a meaty 18lbs each. The factory 14" wheels are 11-12lbs, with the style fitted to 1.8s being lighter.

Mk2 15" wheels are 13lbs and are a good choice. With the 14" wheel, the choice of tyres is a bit thin, but at 15", there is a good choice of decent tyres at around the £60 mark.

Most aftermarket 15" wheels are going to be 13-15lbs. Things go a bit south with 17", so stay away from those (plus too much tyre that never gets to temperature).

When selecting a wheel, pay attention to the offset, which you want to be 45-35mm for best handling. 45mm is factory for the Mk1, even for 15", but the Mk2 went to 40mm, but retained 45mm on the steels.

 

That’s great info there, thanks mate. From what you’ve said, I’m leaning towards the 14" alloy wheels from factory (11-12 lbs), and as a bonus it’s in keeping with the wheels from that car at the time!

And as an aside, it sounds like the mk1 didn’t come with 15" wheels from the factory, correct?

Do you have a pic or link to hand that you can show me an example of the mk1 14" standard wheels, so I know which ones you mean?

There is more give in the larger profile tyres on the 14s so I would definitely recommend the stiffer 15s with smaller tyre profile for the track.  

 

Yes, the Mk1 did come with various 15" wheels from the factory; 15" Panasport on some Limited Editions in Japan, 15" BBS fitted to RS-Limited, R-Limited and S-Spec 2, 15" Enkei fitted to VR-Limited and late model UK 1.8iS. In addition, Mazda UK fitted various 15" designs to limited editions.

 

All of the various Mk1 and Mk2 wheels are listed here:

https://www.miata.net/faq/wheel_weights.html

 

It depends what you want to do. To be fair, most wheels will do. 

The race wheels we supply are 15 X 7 with mainly a 30 offset but they are allowed to go to 25 and weigh between 10and 13lb. Again, to be fair, your are going to need to be some driver to notice the difference and unless, you have 30 identical cars around you vying for the same piece of tarmac you are not going to notice. You will find more difference in the tyre weight due to a couple of mm of tread wear. Your 15" tyres will be cheaper too. 

Another question is how much grip do you want?

The obvious answer is lots, and therefore a wide wheel is rather useful.  However, you my prefer to run with a thinner tyre, less grip, a little slower on lap times, but potentially more adjustable.  Clearly that’s a choice that you’ll need to consider.

For ref, last year I took my Enkei’s off my mk2 (now have winters on them) and put a set of 15" pepperpot wheels from a Mini.  Not only are they a good deal lighter than the Enkeis, but they’re also pretty cheap s/h and IMO look better on the car.  

The issues is that they’re not wide enough for tyres above 195 in width, and needed a spigot ring to ensure that they were centred.

 

Good question! I like the idea of a more playful set up, so perhaps 185 60 14 is the way…but then again…for outright lap time…!!

That actually is not the case, at standard powers, grippy tyres will actually slow the car down. An excess of grip will help the inexperienced driver as it will mask or save errors. Braking will be better and corner entry will be better or safer but the speed will not be carried through the corner and exit speed will be slower.

It is horses for courses, gripper tyres may well show more speed against normal road tyres on a road set up because they may mask a poorly balanced car, increasing speeds before understeer sets in or the back let’s go but with the right set up, which is not a simple thing, and with lowish powers you will not be hindered by not having ultimate grip.