In drag racing, the smallest of details can be what separates you from picking up a win or going home early, so putting thought into every part of your racecar is important. The performance-based mindset finds ways to pick up an advantage even when it comes to the most basic of things, like wheels. WELD Racing has been an innovator in the drag racing wheel market for longer than we can remember, so when it came time to get new shoes for Dragzine’s new BlownZ06 project car, we opted for their Full Throttle and V-Series wheels to give our radial tire C7 Corvette great looks and the performance to match.
BlownZ06 is going to be packing a ton of horsepower, and it will need it to compete in the brutally competitive world of head-up radial racing, so we need to maximize every advantage possible, including in the wheel department. Using lightweight wheels like the Full Throttle and V-Series from WELD will allow us to swing weight to more crucial areas of the chassis.
Going Full Throttle On BlownZ06
We focus on the best strength-to-weight ratio when designing the wheels. – Keith Kern, WELD Racing
“We developed the Full Throttle wheel because the racing market needed a new style wheel with improved performance and weight reduction. The Full Throttle is the lightest frontrunner wheel in the WELD collection.”
With the Full Throttle wheel, WELD wanted to create something that would work for a larger percentage of their customers. To help accomplish this, the wheel is offered in 15×3.5 spindle and lug mount styles, along with 17×3.5 and 17×4.5 for late model cars with bigger front brakes. These choices go beyond the size for WELD, as they take other important factors into consideration, as well.
“We focus on the best strength-to-weight ratio when designing the wheels. Lightweight is only as good as it is safe for the racer,” Kern says.
Creating a wheel that is both light and strong requires a high-quality material as its base, so WELD opted to use 6061-T6 forged aluminum for the Full Throttle wheel. This type of aluminum has a very high tensile strength in the 290 MPa range, so it’s very strong and isn’t very heavy, which is a great combination for a drag racing wheel. “This material’s strength-to-weight properties make it the best choice for our wheels. With such high tensile strength, it makes it very durable in impact situations,” Kern explains.
SFI Saftey In Wheels
The SFI Foundation Inc. is charged with making sure high-performance and racing equipment are as safe as possible. They test parts and safety gear to make sure it meets their standards of safety for all kinds of racing. For items like the Full Throttle and V-series wheels to get their SFI ratings, they must pass tests that look at Dynamic Cornering Fatigue, Dynamic Radial Fatigue, and Deflection of the wheel. All of these tests ensure the wheels are safe for use in drag racing, and that’s important to WELD. “We feel that SFI Certification is extremely important to keep racing products quality as a number one priority. Racers should always buy SFI certified wheels, period,” Kern says.
All of this attention to detail in the design, material selection, and manufacturing process leads to a wheel that carries a 15.2 SFI rating. Obtaining this rating is something that WELD strives for in a wheel that is for race-only applications and will see some extreme use. “The SFI rating on the Full Throttle wheel is extremely important. As a matter of fact, we feel SFI Certification is mandatory and so should all racers. The SFI Foundation establishes the safety standard that is crucial for racers’ safety. While we have our own in-house testing facility to work with through product development, we test to all SFI standards with an approved independent test lab to meet requirements and tag each wheel with that certification,” Kern explains.
V-Series Rear Wheels For BlownZ06
WELD has always been about performance with wheels like the Magnum 2 and AlumaStar 2.0 blazing a path for the race-bred V-series wheel. The V-Series wheels are constructed to be lighter and durable for track use with a variety of finishes available. Because the V-series is almost a perfect match to the Full Throttle wheel in appearance, WELD decided not to make a Full Throttle to fit rear fitments. For that reason, we opted to use the V-series beadlock wheel to match our Full Throttle fronts on BlownZ06.
To capture the widest range of racers, WELD produces the V-series wheel in a large selection of sizes, from 15×8 all the way through 16×16. These sizes were picked for another reason, according to Kern, as they coincide with many of the drag racing tires on the market.
“The V-series wheels are designed for maximum performance drag tires from the top tire brands. WELD Racing beadlock wheels are specifically designed for each brand’s individual thickness and density.”
For the V-series wheel, WELD used a two-piece design to make the wheel function at the highest levels possible. The rim sections and centers used in the V-series have a minimal rotational mass on the outside radius of the wheel. This lower rotational mass allows the wheel to have a faster acceleration rate on the track. The two-piece design is also cost effective versus the monoblock wheels like the Delta-1 used in Pro Stock.
The V-series wheels are designed for maximum performance drag tires from the top drag tire brands. -Keith Kern
The V-series wheel used on BlownZ06 is one that uses a beadlock system to clamp the tire to the wheel. This type of system is needed for such high-torque applications to eliminate the possibility of the wheel spinning on the rim. The machined beadlock is made from the same 6061 T-6 forged aluminum as the rest of the wheel and attached with grade eight hardware via a bolt and captive nut. This system allows the V-series wheel to handle torque and horsepower ranges that cover SFI 15.1 and SFI 15.3 ratings.
Because the V-series wheel is so versatile in its design and construction, you will see it on a variety of racecars at tracks across the globe. The wheel carries a SFI 15.1 rating so it can be used on most cars without any issues as long as it fits correctly. “Most racecars are built to use WELD Racing wheels or at least our fitments. As these are race-only wheels, they do not carry the conventional DOT load rating,” Kern says.
Wheels in drag racing must be able to function just as good as they look, or they aren’t doing their job. The Full Throttle and V-series wheels from WELD pass the function and form criteria tests with flying colors and provide racers with a great way to look good while going fast. Make sure you follow our entire BlownZ06 build series to see these wheels in action on the track and see just how well they work.