Race Star Industries brought a whole wall — literally — of new wheels to this year’s PRI Show…some fresh new additions to the lineup and others new sizes and backspacing to existing products. And the brand targeted both ends of the spectrum and all points in between, joining new markets with wheels for Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars all the way down to front-wheel drive imports.
At the top level, Race Star this year put its engineering and manufacturing to the ultimate test by developing a drive wheel capable of withstanding the 11,000 horsepower abuse doled out by NHRA nitro cars. It worked closely with Funny Car racer Cruz Pedregon in this process. The new 15.4 SFI-rated, 16×16 one-piece forged nitro and Top Alcohol wheel specifically addresses areas that Pedregon had encountered issues in other drive wheels, specifically elongation of the stud holes over time from the sheer force of the power at launch. Race Star addressed this by putting steel inserts into the lug holes to improve the life of the wheel.
“In these cars, safety is the number one protocol. When you get in one of these cars, you want to know this wheel is safe,” Race Star owner L.B. Davis says. “We’ve added ARP 3/8-inch steel bolts to the beadlock ring, and incorporated more weight in areas where we thought there was more deflection in the wheel than we wanted to see. We think this is a tremendous flagship product for our brand, at the pinnacle of the sport.”
Race Star also reimagined its Pro Stock front wheel for the nitro and alcohol cars to complement the rear, adding about 2-pounds of extra mass to beef it up to sustain the forces of 330 mph cars.
The largest of its new wheels, however, is not its nitro wheel, but a massive new addition to the Pro Forged lineup in 16×19 and 16×20 widths. These are targeted at street and no-prep cars who really want to stretch the tread of the tire out for maximum contact patch. These will come in multiple backspacings for various applications when available in spring of ’22.
Davis, after a visit this summer to the import-haven of Puerto Rico to visit some distributors, was inspired by the vehicles he saw to enter the import market — something he had long considered. To meet the needs of the cars putting upwards of 1,000 horsepower to the front wheels, he and his team developed new 13×10- and 13×11-inch single-piece forged double-beadlock (and non-beadlock) drive wheels. A matching 15×3.5-inch frontrunner-style rear wheel will compliment the fronts for FWD imports.
And lastly, what Davis believes is the future of the brand rests in what he calls a “hybrid cast/forged wheel” — this wheel on display is 18×5-inches and has a 6061 cast face mated to a 6061 forged barrel. This, Davis says, allows Race Star to reduce millwork and machine time out of the manufacturing process, thus being more cost effective. It’s also lighter in weight. Race Star will launch this initially as a direct bolt-on for the C8 Corvette, with other late-model performance vehicles (Mustang, Charger, Challenger, and Camaro) to follow. These will be available in 18×5, 18×8.5, and 18×11 (15-inch wheels are also planned), in black finish to start and other finishes to come, all at a price-point Davis says everyone will love.
“We don’t sit down at Race Star when we go to work. Our designers work every single day on designs, and we keep their computers going constantly in CAD,” Davis says of the rapid development of new products.