A Complete Guide To Sizing Your Racing Vehicle For New Racing Wheels

Shahzad Masood

Racing Wheels

In the world of racing, every fraction of a second counts. Your racing wheels play a significant role in your vehicle’s acceleration and timing. While wheels have some aesthetic benefits, the advantages are practical in racing. The right wheel size makes all the difference between costly mistakes on the track and a competitive edge. Learn how to size your vehicle for its next set of racing wheels.

Key Measurements

You should never just buy a new set of tires for your vehicle. To replace tires, you need to know a few pivotal measurements.


Every seasoned racer knows that tire diameter matters in racing. Larger-diameter tires generally favor top-end speed, while smaller-diameter options offer quicker acceleration. Your vehicle’s wheel diameter will often necessitate overall tire diameter and profile. For example, a larger wheel usually requires a lower-profile tire.

The type of racing you do may also dictate the maximum diameter and sizing of your tire. Before buying tires, consult the rules and regulations for your specific race.


Wider drag radials usually require wider wheels, which are beneficial in racing. By increasing the contact patch, a racer can improve their vehicle’s grip at the start. That said, excessive width is problematic because it can lead to rubbing and add unnecessary resistance, slowing the car down.


Offset refers to the distance between the wheel’s hub mounting surface and its true centerline. A vehicle can have a positive, negative, or zero offset. A positive offset occurs when the mounting surface is closer to the wheel’s front. A negative offset occurs when the mounting surface is closer to the wheel’s backside, and a zero offset is when the mounting surface aligns with the wheel’s centerline. Each type of offset can affect how the tire sits on the vehicle.

Racing Discipline Considerations

Before you get out your automotive shop tools to install a new set of tires, consider your racing discipline. The type of racing you do can influence the type of tires you purchase.

Drag Racing

Drag racing focuses on large-diameter rear wheels for acceleration potential and smaller front wheels. The width of drag tires is also wider to maximize contact and traction on the track. 

Circuit or Road Racing

Circuit and road racing emphasizes a balance between diameter and width to blend the benefits of acceleration, cornering grip, and top speed. The diameter of the wheels also corresponds with brake caliper clearance.


Drifting is an exciting type of racing and depends on extreme angles, which means careful offset selection is necessary to avoid tire-to-suspension interference. Wheel diameter plays a role in controlling slide initiation and speed.

While deep-dish wheels are popular for their visual flair, they create a significant negative offset, which might be too much for your vehicle. Always consult your vehicle’s specifications before buying tires.

Sizing racing tires is challenging, especially if you don’t have experience. To find the best tires for your vehicle, consult a tire professional or talk with an experienced racer in your racing field.

Leave a Comment