STF Wheel Choices - 15/16/17/18? - Mazda3 Forums : The #1 Mazda 3 Forum
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-03-2013, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Question STF Wheel Choices - 15/16/17/18?

I took a short trip into Miata-land, but am back now to Mazda3-World. Missed you guys. I had great success before locally with a 2008 Hatch 2.3 in HS/Street Tire classing. but SCCA in all their infinite wisdom is eliminating HS. Go figure.

So, what do I do? I buy a 2006 "i" base model, with no options. None. In driving this car it seemed to me that it got from 4000rpm to 6500rpm a lot faster than my 2008 S model. We shall see.

So, the question. I'm considering using the 205/50/15 Rivals, or perhaps the 225/45/15 size, rather than going to the 16's or 17's. It would mean a two inch reduction in overall tire diameter (and one inch lower to the ground measurement). Should be a substantial help to acceleration. Would try to get the speedo reset somehow.

What say you guys here? Foolish thought, or worth a shot?

Please share all experiences, opinions, and perceptions.

Thx.......

Scott Meyers
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-03-2013, 08:17 PM
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15's WAY too small....probably wont clear the Caliper.

17's are a very good size....I have 17x7 wheels....Next set will be 17x8 wheel.


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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-03-2013, 09:19 PM
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15's WAY too small....probably wont clear the Caliper.

17's are a very good size....I have 17x7 wheels....Next set will be 17x8 wheel.
15s clear the 3i brakes.






FWIW I would run 16s or 17s... 15s you have way too big of a sidewall and/or way too short of a tire on way too heavy of a car with way too shitty a front suspension(compared to a Miata).

I will personally be going for 17x7.5 when I can afford a set of wheels/tires because 16s are going away... 17" wheels are the most popular overall and will get you more choices in tires in the future.

Frankly I feel the 3i brakes are marginal, and will upgrade to the 3s front rotors whenever I replace them again... requiring 16s+ of course. Once you start autocrossing your car you might find the front brakes not slowing you down quite fast enough if there is a lot of hard stops on the course.


Will be watching your progress(have a build thread? When will you start autocrossing your new 3?).



I'm guessing your 2.0l model feels considerably more nimble/light than your other 2.3l car? This is something I've noticed with my car compared to other 2.3l MZ3s I've driven at work.


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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-03-2013, 09:31 PM
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I was in a similar situation with my 08. I bought a set of 15x6" Mazda Millenia wheels, and was going to get some 205/50 tires, but decided that they would be too short. Now I have 16" wheels, so I have to run in STF, but there are more tire options and I only do local events for fun anyways.

Since I don't have any actual experience autoxing 15" wheels, I can't say for sure, but I kind of concluded that I had the wrong car to be competitive at high level events.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-03-2013, 11:27 PM
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Scott, read the STF car comparo article Andy Hollis did last year if you haven't already. He said the 1st gen Mazda3 is a good all around car and could be a contender for STF but the gearing is not ideal (as in the 2nd gear is too tall).

In order to mitigate that, I'd run the shortest (for gearing) and widest (for grip) tire you can get. 225 is the class limit on width, so I would run a 225/45/15 tire on a 15x7.5" or 15x7" rim. It's 23" tall compared to the 225/45/17 tires which are 25" tall. A 1st gen Mazda3 on a 23" tire will top out right around 60 mph in 2nd gear which will be just about right for most courses.

Additionally, a 225/45/15 BFG Rival for instance weighs 20 lbs. A 225/45/17 Rival weighs 23 lbs. On top of the 3 lbs per tire savings, a good 15" wheel will weigh around 3-5 lbs LESS than a good 17" wheel. So in the end you'll have better gearing and save yourself about 25-30 lbs in total rotating mass which is huge.

If I were in your shoes, 15's would be a no-brainer to me since you have a 2.0L and you have your choice of many 15" wheels. I hear some guys have even used 15"s that will fit over the front brakes of the 2.3L's so if I decide to prep for STF this Winter I'll be searching far and wide for 15" wheels that will fit and do some research into that. If I can't locate any I'll probably run 16" wheels with 225/45/16 tires.

Last edited by Adam3s; 09-04-2013 at 12:30 AM.
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-04-2013, 08:25 AM
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The Mazda3 is DEFINITELY an STF contender. At national events I've had my worst performances ever and I was still relatively close in the final standings. The past 2 Dixie NT events I've had faster raw times (by a whole second a couple times) than everyone else...cones, driver errors, spins, crappy setups, and mechanical issues keeping me from winning. I've felt like I've had the best car every time I've showed up. Heck, a 98% stock '08 Mazda3 hatch S won STF at Dixie out of 13 drivers!!!

The 3 is course dependent though as I've learned. It needs a straight start, pulling through 1st and into 2nd without having to lift. It also needs a momentum type course where speeds stay high and without too many "slow" features. Lastly, and most important, the course needs to be void of any >90 degree turns (not counting sweepers)...the 3 doesn't turn around itself very well with it's 104" wheelbase.

I don't know where the 2nd gear too tall thing comes from, I feel my power band is just fine and I run 18s on my 3. But on the other hand, I never hit the limiter so maybe there's some usable gear left!?!

I was corrected last year that in fact some 15" wheels do fit over "S" brakes-

I would agree with Adam that if you do go 15" get a 225 on a 7.5" wide wheel. Our fat cars need all the wheel and tire they can get. I say give it a shot!

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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-04-2013, 09:20 AM
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Some 15s should fit... but JUST. And I mean JUST.

Same as Speed3 brakes on 16s, some they will fit, but it will certainly knock a wheel weight off if it's in the way.

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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-04-2013, 10:25 AM
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Also a dynotronics tune can get you more power and a raised rev limiter(mine is 7400 rpm I think... though the tach says 8k?)


I guess I'll look harder at 15" wheel options maybe...


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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-04-2013, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clemsonmz3 View Post
I was corrected last year that in fact some 15" wheels do fit over "S" brakes-
Hey that's me!!

i do run 15" over the S calipers without any issue.
the wheels are Team Dynamics pro race 1.2 I think.

for the gearing, i do think the 2nd is too tall on stock sized tires but just fine on 15". since i run this setup i ran out of 2nd gear only at one event ,out of 7, and it is because the course was so fast!! take a look:
http://youtu.be/R10wxXMYxWo

Tony

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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 09-07-2013, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, thanks for all of the collective wisdom from the many sources. I noted that the winning STF car this year was a 2008 2.3 Hatch, appeared to be on 16's or 17's.

I am still conflicted about perhaps starting out as HS/GS for the first year or so, get to know this car, and then move towards STF. I'm guessing that going from my '08 Hatch 2.3 to this '06 2.0 Sedan will offer some different handling adjustments. That and it's around 240# lighter too. :-)

Even if I do the HS/GS thing, I can run either the 15's or the 16 diameters given the new Street Tire allowances, so either way these are good data points we are sharing.

At 75mph on the highway, the difference in RPM will be about 8.7%, or around 300rpm. Speedo will say 81 ;-) I really like the 15's one inch lower stance, as our cars sit so high anyway. Leaning towards the 15's at this time.

Appreciate all this info, guys. This will be fun.

Oops, one more question. If I get the 7 inch or 7.5 inch wheels, what offset should that be to clear the 225x45x15 tires? I think I recall that stock offset is 52.5mm..? Tire Rack sells a 15x7 with a 45mm offset. Would that clear internally with the 25/15 tires?

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Last edited by mazda3az; 09-07-2013 at 02:59 PM. Reason: Added a thought
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