Project VA WRX: Enhancing Grip with ARK Design R5 Wheels and Nitto NT05 Tires

by Mike Kojima

Our VA WRX is becoming quite impressive thanks to the gains we have made in its performance.  We are beginning to think that it will soon be knocking at and even exceeding the performance envelope of the much more expensive STI.

Since we have been working on the brakes and suspension of our STI killer VA WRX, it was time to take advantage of those parts with some bigger, grippier tires and wheels to accommodate them. We got the right hardware for the job with some wider wheels from ARK Design and bigger tires from Nitto Tire.

Read more about Project VA WRX here!

The wheel we choose for the job is the ARK Design R5.  Our R5 came nicely packaged with a cloth wheel face protector and thick plastic rim protectors that prevented damage to the wheels finish during transport.
The ARK Design R5 wheels is a high pressure die cast wheel.  High pressure die casting produces a stronger wheel than low cost gravity casting that is common in low price wheels. The R5 design has been pared down using FEA computer aided stress analysis.  The wheel has minimalist spokes that are plenty strong but still very light.  To match our car's sliver paint we chose a semi gloss black finish. The color stays clean looking for a long time and has enough gloss in it to be easy to clean unlike the matte black finish wheels that are currently en vogue. 
The R5 has a cored out hub section to minimize weight.  Our wheels measure a wide 18x9.5" with a 38mm offset and a 5x114.3 bolt circle.
For tires we chose the Nitto NT05.  The NT05 is the end product of several years of intensive R&D testing, burning rubber at several proving grounds and three different racetracks including the famed Nurburgring.  Nitto’s testing focused on balancing the ultimate in dry handling performance although our testing has shown that the NT05 is not bad in the wet either.
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Wednesday, January 06, 2016 9:53 AM
That's some tight fitment right there. I'd like to see how much clearance you have when the suspension is at full compression. I figure if it doesn't rub, then there's enough camber gain to just barely tuck in.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, January 06, 2016 12:03 PM
It rubbed slightly in the rear until we aligned it.
Wednesday, January 06, 2016 12:13 PM
I believe it. Very aggressive fitment.
Name User
Name Userlink
Wednesday, January 06, 2016 12:22 PM
How much do the wheels weigh? The specs are identical to my RPF1s, although I run 265/35R18 in an Evo.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, January 06, 2016 12:43 PM
The 8.5" wheel is 23 lbs so these should be around 24-25 lbs.
Name User
Name Userlink
Wednesday, January 06, 2016 1:21 PM
Well, at least they look great unlike the unfortunate ARK R8s.
Thursday, January 07, 2016 5:48 PM
Speak for yourself. I'd have the ARK R8s on my WRX right now if they made them in 5x100...
Saturday, January 09, 2016 12:15 PM
Little off topic but I was curious what oil you guys prefer in the FA20? My friend with a BRZ is a little worried about the long term effects of using 0w-20 on track.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016 5:31 PM
My current NT05 are from 2013. I never was impressed with them. You're saying they have a newer compound now?
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