A closer look at McLaren's new wheel rims

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McLaren's long term wheel supplier, Enkei, has provided the team with new rims for the 2015 season, or at least the start of it. Finished in matte black, the wheels were on display at Jerez today, showing very different front and rear wheel designs. The reasons for this are obvious, with first of all wider tyres at the rear, but more importantly for their design, much less heat coming from the rear brakes. Due to weight transfer under braking, and the energy recovery system that kicks in on the rear axle, the front brakes work much much harder than the rears.

Dissipating the heat from the brakes efficiently is the main design influence for today's F1 rims, and those of Enkei are a brilliant example. As can be seen, the rims have just 5 thick spokes in the central part while numerous smaller channels are designed on the outside. Note that the tyre nozzle is neatly integrated into the rim in an attempt to provide less hindrance to air passing through the rim.

The rear rims (inset) are of a more conventional design with a 90° nozzle for convenience and a tyre pressure monitor (absent on the front rims).

Finally, the rims also continue to feature coated dimples on the inside (as visible on the front rim photo) to enable the rim to take up heat quicker, and thereby help the tyres to stay at their optimal working temperature.


By manchild on 03-02-2015 at 07:07

Those 5 thick spokes are hollow, and used to channel hot air in the narrow space between the genuine rim and the additional rim/ring separated by tiny spokes. Threfore, 5 thick spokes don't even reach the outer rim but only the inner one. I can't tell for sure, but if they were smart enough, they‘d allow hot air to exit on both sides of the wheel, in order to keep both inner and outer tyre wall as well as whole tyre more equaly heated. Cool air intake could be done easily by being stretched a bit forward, or simply protected from picking up hot air with a simple shield plate.

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