As you might have noticed in my Buttonwillow Track Day recap, I picked up some new wheels for the track. They are 18×9 ET45 Enkei PF01 wheels that I bought from a good friend for an incredible deal, and I am super excited for them. They were custom redrilled by the previous owner from 5×114.3 to 5×112 to work perfect on the Audi platform, and originally ran on an Audi TTRS in the Pirelli World Challenge so they’ve got some cool history to boot.
The PF01s are a super lightweight wheel, weighing less than 20 lbs for an 18×9 wheel and constructed using a flow form technology that Enkei calls Most Advanced Technology (M.A.T). They’re relatively affordable at about $300 per wheel and best of all, the spoke pattern has tons of room for a Big Brake Kit (BBK). Enkei builds these wheels to Spec-E protocol which is stricter than JWL standards, so they should also be tougher and less likely to bend or crack even under racing conditions, making it a great wheel for the track or a performance-oriented street setup.
If you wanted to run a similar setup the redrill process is very safe since the bolt patterns are so close – they essentially just widen the holes some, then add steel sleeves for reinforcement. Alternatively you could either use wobble bolts or do a stud conversion kit to run 5×114.3 wheels on a 5×112 Audi hub which is also safe and fairly easy to do. Personally I like the redrill process the best, although a stud conversion has been tempting and would surely make switching wheels as often as I do a lot easier…regardless, running 5×114.3 wheels is not only feasible, but pretty easy – and it opens up a lot more options. If you don’t want to deal with that, the Enkei RPF comes in 18×9 and a 5×112 bolt pattern naturally, but the offset is ET35 so you need to run a skinnier tire than 255 otherwise there would be a lot of rubbing on both the front and rear fender.
Fitting 18×9 wheels on a B6/B7 is fairly easy to do, generally an offset of around ET40 will be your best bet. It is a little trickier if you want to run a 255 width R compound tire like the Toyo R888, especially when you’re as low as I am (about 24.5″ fender to ground). To fit these massive tires with very flat sidewalls I had to get the offset *just* right, and after a lot of guess and check my final offset was ET42 in the rear (3mm spacers) and ET37 front (8mm spacers). You could get away with smaller spacers upfront (5-6mm would probably be easier) if you had tires that weren’t as wide, but the wider tires rub on the inside against the upper control arms which is why I went with 8mm spacers. The front does rub a little bit now on the outside (against the fender), but very, very minimally – even after two straight track days I didn’t have any noticeable damage to the tire or fender, so it’s safe. I could only tell there was rubbing because I tested using white shoe polish on the tire and some did come off on the fender. I could raise the front 1/4 of an inch and the minimal rubbing would go away, and I still might do that.
The lug bolts are a cone seat (60 degrees), so I picked up some extended length 35mm conical lug bolts to finish the package and voila – I was ready to race. On the track they performed just how you would imagined – they look good, they were light, they didn’t bend, and they kept the tires on the ground…pretty much everything you could ask from a wheel.