Forgeline Wheels: Stronger, Lighter, Faster On The Track Or Street

There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to wheels. The important question you have to ask yourself when you are deciding on the right set of wheels is what do you want from them? Do you want them to look nice? Do you want them to be light? Do you want them to last? Do you want to win races? These are the questions that the engineers at Forgeline Motorsports put into every wheel they manufacture.

This Z06 Corvette is sporting Forgeline’s GTD1 5-lug wheel which hits the wheel design trifecta: sharp looking, strong and lightweight.

Forgeline knows its wheels are strong because they are used in one of the most abusive environments imaginable: the Pirelli World Challenge Series, where full-size productions cars race hard, go wheel to wheel, and touch berms at 150 miles per hour. If its wheels can withstand that sort of abuse they can certainly handle an autocross course. Forgeline builds wheels for both arenas, professional road racing and the custom car market. Regardless of where one of its wheels ends up, it was built with strength in mind from the forging process.

When you are racing for a championship, one race can make or break a season. Our wheels are strong and they win races because they don’t break. — Steve Schardt, Forgeline Motorsports

Panoz tested some Forgeline wheel designs and found its car handled better, had faster lap times, and had 100-degree brake temperature reduction, just from slapping on Forgeline wheels.

Steve Schardt, sales manager for Forgeline Motorsports, explained how its manufacturing process makes its wheels stronger. “First, we start with superior material. APP has developed a proprietary alloy that can be up to 35% stronger than normal 6061-T6.

“We take a 100-pound piece of aluminum and forge it into the shape of a wheel. The grain flow of the aluminum goes with the shape of the forging making it much stronger — even stronger than billet. Then we put the forging into the lathe and turn it down to about 40 pounds. Then the wheel goes into the mill and gets down to about 19 pounds for an 18 x 11-inch wheel. These are the wheels that are on the factory-engineered Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R driven by Lawson Aschenbach of Black Dog Speed Shop.”

Black Dog Speed Shop runs Forgeline wheels exclusively in the Pirelli World Challenge series.

The importance of strong wheels that have been forged in the manufacturing process versus an aluminum cast wheel became very apparent in the Pirelli World Challenge series this season. An Audi team broke two cast aluminum wheels at St. Petersburg while striking the wall this year. The second wheel failure was while the driver was in Third place. Murrilo Motorsports damaged a Forgeline wheel last season at Road Atlanta and raced on it for 20 minutes until the end keeping them Second in the championship.

Audi was very appreciative that this Forgeline wheel held together to the end of the race at Road Atlanta, keeping them in the points chase.

According to Schardt, those failures could have been avoidable, “When you are racing for a championship, one race can make or break a season. Our wheels are strong and they win races because they don’t break. A simple sand-cast aluminum wheel has porous granular aluminum in it that can crack and fail, especially when there is wheel-to-wheel racing or clipping a wall. Casting equals porosity which has no flow to the aluminum, making them susceptible to cracking and breaking. You can’t win races when you have wheel failures.”

You can’t win races without wheels! Chances are this was a cast wheel which isn’t as strong as forged.

Teams in the Pirelli World Challenge have taken notice, with over a quarter of the racing teams now running Forgeline Motorsports GS1R wheels, which meets the mandated weight and size set by the sanctioning body. Teams like PF Racing (Mustang), Kohr Motorsports (Mustang), MBRP (Mustang), Rebel Rock Racing (Camaro), Panoz (Panoz), and Black Dog Speed Shop (Camaro). Panoz Racing won a doubleheader while rolling on Forgeline wheels at Road America this season.

Forgeline is at the track with the teams to ensure they get what they need and to use race data to improve on its own designs. This photo shows that road racing cars do like to touch one another during a race. You want a strong wheel when these sorts of shenanigans occur.

But these wheels aren’t just popular in the professional road racing scene, Forgeline wheels can be found on a lot of Optima Search for the Ultimate Street Car builds as well. The Pro Touring market has really exploded in recent years and car owners have specific needs for their extreme builds. Forgeline custom designs wheels for almost any application.

Big horsepower and big cars need big strong wheels to put all that power to the ground. Forgeline makes custom wheels to order for their customers.

Schardt loves working with the Pro Touring market, “These are very real, very honest people, who don’t want bull. We have an American-made product and these customers like that component. These are loyal customers who are building their dream cars. They want what they want, and most of the time they want the best for their cars. Their cars are really cool, but the people are even better.”

Get out your ruler. You will need to take a lot of measurements to ensure your custom Forgeline wheels fit your ride just perfect.

Forgeline is at the track with the pros supporting their effort and they also sponsor autocross and other events. “These events are fun,” Steve Schardt says. “We still compete in them, like Goodguys and Optima, and we enjoy the people.”

Steve says he likes working with racers who are moving up because they are future customers. “When a NASA racer moves up to a GT3, then we want to be the one who provides him or her with some really light and strong wheels for that Porsche.”

This Porsche GT3 runs Forgeline VX1R Competition Series wheels with a single center hub lug.

Forgeline formed in 1994 with the express purpose of building custom, lightweight forged wheels for road racing applications. It has applied its racing experience and passion for motorsport toward designing and building wheels that can withstand the extreme demands of sports car racing. With an unwavering commitment to strength, safety, and performance, it has earned its place on some of the world’s fastest race cars, including the million-dollar Glickenhaus SCG003 and the factory-engineered Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R and Ford Mustang GT4. So, if you are looking for some wheels that will get you to the checkered flag or some one-off custom wheels for your dream build, check out what Forgeline can get you rolling on.

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About the author

Rob Krider

Rob Krider’s mantra is “Race Anything, Win Everything” and is a multi-champion driver who currently competes in the NASA Honda Challenge series.
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