Automotive influencer Emelia Hartford, a former world record holder behind the wheel of a C8 Corvette, returned to the dragstrip earlier this year with another of her highly modified vehicles, a 2017 Ford Mustang, intent on setting new personal bests in the wild-looking supercharged, big-block Ford-powered machine.
One of the most noticeable attributes of Hartford’s S550 Mustang is certainly the 598 cubic-inch big-block, with its 14-71 supercharger protruding from the hood. But one of the standout new additions to the car — which are certainly unmistakable and impossible to miss — in its return to the track has been a brand new set of Forgeline’s CF1R wheels, custom finished in white with a blue beadlock ring to match Hartford’s white-on-blue paint scheme.
The matching CF1R wheels, 15×10 beadlock rears paired with CF1R Skinny fronts, are part of Forgeline’s still relatively new Drag Racing Series forged wheel line, designed specifically for the purpose of straight-line acceleration contests.
Forgeline has long been revered for its technologically advanced wheels for professional road racing applications, and the company decided to take that expertise and eye-catching approach to styling and develop an all-forged series of wheels for the drag racing industry.
Forgeline’s forged monoblock single-beadlock rear and skinny front wheels are carved entirely in one piece from a single forging of 6061-T6 aluminum using an advanced precision machining process. This forged monoblock technology has proven successful, for many years, at the highest levels of road racing, and that success has been translated over to drag racing.
The CF1R Beadlock wheel is very similar to Forgeline’s CF1 Open Lug road racing wheel, with one key exception: it has been re-engineered to include the special bolt-on outboard beadlock ring that, like the wheel itself, is also precision-machined from forged 6061-T6 aluminum. The forged aluminum beadlock ring holds the tire securely in place, to limit unwanted tire-slip and to keep the tire from unseating at high speed or under acceleration. The forged beadlock ring is secured to the wheel with a series of 21 lightweight titanium bolts.
The “skinny” fronts are likewise a one-piece forged monoblock, engineered to be optimized for drag racing applications. This includes not only the narrower width (which necessitates a unique narrow forging), but a full set of revised performance metrics to make them as lightweight as possible. The front wheels also have large brake clearance, so that enthusiasts can retain their big front brake kits.
Hartford, one of the automotive industry’s top social media and YouTube stars, has showcased a number of personal vehicles on her channel in recent years, many of them with a common theme: Forgeline wheels.
“I originally met the Forgeline family in Germany at the Nurburgring with the Glickenhaus race team. I saw first-hand how good their wheels were when one of the drivers lost most of a tire (if you’ve not been to the 24 hours of Nurburgring, this race is absolutely brutal and a true test for all manufacturers). The driver had to drive almost an entire lap on bare wheel and made it back just fine with wheel still intact. I thought, ‘these guys know how to make a real race wheel.’ We stayed in touch and a few years later I reached out to partner on the C8 Corvette when it was coming out and told them about my goals to drag race the car and break some world records. They were just starting to roll out their drag series beadlock and skinny wheels. We put them on the car and proceeded to do exactly what we said we wanted to do and set the world’s quickest times in a 1/4-mile with a C8. And the rest is history.”
“When I think of Forgeline, I think of top-tier quality,” Hartford says. “They have a strong foundation in racing, which carries over heavily into their products. Every time we talk, we talk about performance, design and capability. They’ve got looks — I think they make some of the best-looking wheels money can buy. But they’re also a tried-and-true race wheel that can take anything you want to throw at them. I have first-hand witnessed their wheel put to the ultimate test and pass with flying colors, and I too have abused the hell out of my wheels on multiple cars in multiple types of racing with not even an ounce of concern that they could handle it.”
Hartford’s Mustang features dual Holley 4500 EFI throttle bodies atop the supercharger, running on a Dominator EFI system. Hartford and company mated the engine to a Tick Performance Ultimate Drag T56 H-pattern transmission, and utilized Driveshaft Shop axles. There’s also Deatschwerks triple 400 fuel system running on methanol, and a Fathouse Fab 8.50-cert cage was also installed for safety. “She’s a monster,” Hartford proclaims. “We built her for stick shift drag racing, and we’re still dialing everything in.”
“The biggest challenge with this car has been the slipper clutch; with such an instant-torque, high-horsepower engine (we saw 1,000 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm on the dyno), we overpowered our last two clutch designs that we thought could hold it. We now think we have it sorted out, but it’s an ongoing dance adjusting clutches with traction and power on a stick shift car. Our goal is to run 8’s right now. We may go faster when all is said and done, but the car has full interior, so anything faster we would need to probably go with a full tube front and rear and completely gut the car.
Forgeline’s one-piece (meaning no welding or assembly bolts are present) forged monoblock beadlock wheel is available in 15-, 17-, 18-, and 19-inch diameters in a range of widths and custom offsets and fitments, and can be engineered to work with shank-style lug nuts. Like all Forgeline wheels, the Drag Racing Series lineup can also be optioned with fully customizable finishes, including mixing and matching of the wheel and beadlock ring colors.
Made entirely in the USA, Forgeline’s monoblock wheels are a machined to close tolerances to be smooth and vibration-free, are custom made-to-order for each individual customer and vehicle application sport, are designed with deflection and structural stiffness in mind, and afford generous brake clearance.