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If you’ve kept up-to-date with our 2011 Mustang GT project car dubbed Project Grabbr, then you’ll know back in October of 2015 as part of our Project Car Updates, we have plans to install a ProCharger P-1SC-1 supercharger kit and make some respectable horsepower gains.

As of now, we currently have a modest list of bolt-ons installed which have in the past hauled Project Grabbr to an impressive 11.9-second quarter-mile pass as our best e.t. We learned then that even with our bolt-on affairs a proper wheel and tire setup for the strip was in the cards for our 2011 Mustang GT.

In order to put Project Grabbr’s future power to the pavement appropriately, we hit up JMS Automotive Products and Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels for a bonafide drag strip wheel and tire combination. Installation took place at Midnight Auto in Feasterville, Pennsylvania, and was performed by Jason Reiss and Brandon Abbott.

Project Grabbr's daily driver wheel and tire setup consisted of 20x8.5-inch front and 20x10-inch rear Niche Apex wheels, wrapped in 255/35R20 front and 275/35R20 Nitto NT555 tires.

Project Grabbr’s daily driver wheel and tire setup consisted of 20×8.5-inch front and 20×10-inch rear Niche Apex wheels, wrapped in 255/35R20 front and 275/35R20 rear Nitto NT555 tires.

Engineering A Dual-Purpose Wheel

Designing a lightweight drag-racing application wheel can be a tough job. Since many enthusiasts drive their vehicles to the track, and even daily drive them, enthusiasts require a wheel solution which can be driven on the street to, from, and at the track.

This desired wheel option creates the necessity for a dual-purpose solution. This is where JMS comes into the picture. Brad Grissom of JMS gives us an inside look at how the company manufactures its wheels, and the type of regulations the company must meet in order to successfully deliver a capable wheel solution that enthusiasts can trust.

JMS wheels are designed based on the general architecture of the common OEM wheels used on most Mustangs. – Brad Grissom, JMS Automotive Products

Grissom says, “JMS uses a high-pressure casting process using our own proprietary molds. Low and high-pressure casting are the most common processes used when manufacturing an OEM wheel that must meet D.O.T. or TUV specifications for use on public roads. The primary advantage to our high-pressure casting method is strength versus weight, allowing us to produce a wheel that meets the OEM criteria, while also reducing weight. The end result is a light-weight, dual-purpose street-and-strip wheel at an affordable price. Although pressure casting is considered to be a more expensive process when compared to gravity casting, it produces a very high-quality product with no compromises.

Other types of forged single-piece, two-piece, or three-piece wheels tend to be very expensive; and in some cases, they can require a significant waiting period to build for the customer. JMS wheels have very low tolerances, so the wheel and tire balance out as well, or sometimes, even better than most OEM wheels; even when equipped with a street-and-strip specific tire.”

JMS includes new lug nuts with our Avenger series wheels.

JMS includes new lug nuts with our Avenger series wheels.

Wheel Options For All Applications

We’ve discussed in the past that many newer vehicles leave straight from the factory with large disc brakes, which can oftentimes pose problems for enthusiasts who want to run a smaller wheel/larger tire combination at the strip.

Consider for a moment the last few generations of the Mustang for example. The ’11-’14 Mustang GT, when equipped with a performance package, came from the factory with 14-inch front rotors. While the ’13-’14 Shelby GT500, when equipped with a performance package, came with even larger 15-inch front rotors. The current sixth-generation Mustang GT now comes standard with 14-inch front brake rotors, while performance package (on the GT models) comes equipped with 15-inch front rotors. When you consider that the once ‘top of the line’ Mustang almost a decade ago (the ’03-’04 SVT Cobra) came with 13-inch front rotors standard, it goes to show that even the base models of today have come a long way.

Our new JMS Avenger wheels are 15x10-inch on the rear and 17x4.5-inch on the front. Because of the size difference, we needed to swap most of our brake components in order to fit the new smaller wheels. Far left: our recently installed 14-inch Baer Eradispeed setup weighs in at 27.2-pounds, while the rear setup weighs in at 15.6-pounds. Center right: we opted to replace those components for now with an inexpensive aftermarket eBay set-up. The new rear setup weighs in at 27 pounds even, while the front setup weighs 14.4 pounds. This translates to a total weight savings of 1.4 pounds.

Grissom explains that enthusiasts have several options when considering a new wheel setup for their application. “JMS wheels are designed based on the general architecture of the common OEM wheels used on most Mustangs, he says. “That allows us to accommodate factory 14-inch brake systems with our 17×10-inch and 17×4.5-inch wheel packages. We plan to provide enthusiasts with an 18×5-inch front wheel setup for the ’13-’14 Shelby GT500, and the ’15-’16 Performance Pack equipped cars which utilize 15-inch front rotors.”

According to Grissom, each wheel that JMS offers is custom tailored for fitment to a specific vehicle application. The wheels are specifically engineered to withstand the abuse of avid racing, with sizes ranging from 15 to 18 inches depending on the application. The company also offers its wheels in an array of finish options, including Black Chrome, Black Clearcoat Diamond Cut, Polished, and Silver Clearcoat Diamond Cut. Grissom further adds that the company also includes color-match lug nuts and center caps with its wheel options.

Choosing Our Wheels

JMS 15x10-Inch Avenger Rear Wheels For '05-'14 Mustang

bolt in stems

  • Size: 15×10 inches
  • Backspacing: 7.21 inches
  • Application: 2005-2014 Ford Mustang
  • Offset: 44 mm
  • Wheel construction: Cast aluminum one-piece design
  • Finish: Black Chrome
  • Weight: 17 pounds
  • Lug nuts included
  • PN A-1510-721FX
In the case of Project Grabbr, we opted for a pair of 15×10-inch Avenger wheels finished in Black Chrome (PN A-1510-721FX) for the rear, and a pair of 17×4.5-inch Avenger wheels finished in a matching Black Chrome (PN A-1745-175FX) for the front. These wheels are part of the company’s ‘Direct-Fit 1-Piece Wheels’ line and are specific to our Mustang’s application.

Grissom explains how the company is able to achieve manufacturing a lightweight wheel option that retains the strength to handle the abuse of day-to-day driving and extended track time.

“All JMS wheels are load rated at a minimum of 1,521 pounds, with a range of between 11 and 20-pounds in maximum weight,” he says. “For instance, our 17×10-inch rear Mustang wheel weighs in at just 20 pounds, which is fairly light for that size and load rating. JMS wheels are also manufactured to the exact standards of the OEM wheel for center bore size and lug size. This means that the wheels are a direct-fit. Most importantly, our wheels allow you to use the factory or OEM replacement tire pressure sensors mandated for newer vehicles, which is of special concern in today’s wheel market with many wheels not supporting these sensors.”

It's important to note that the new lug nuts included require the use of a thin-wall socket to install them properly. We torqued our new wheels down to 100 ft-lb using a torque wrench.

Installing the new front wheel setup was a breeze.

Installing the new front wheel setup was a breeze.

Matching Lightweight Wheels With Sticky Tires

Since we know we’ll eventually be making big power thanks to our future supercharger upgrade, we decided to go with a pair of tried-and-true Mickey Thompson tires for the strip. We decided on the company’s ‘ET Street R’ tires in a 28×11.50-15LT size for the rear and a set of Sportsman S/R in a 28×6.00R17LT tires for the front. The Sportsman S/R tires are specifically designed to work in conjunction with our rear tires.

We’ve said before that the ET Street R is placed between the ET Street S/S and the original ET Street from M/T, as the R in ET Street R actually stands for ‘Race’ and not ‘Radial.’ This is because the ET Street R is a more race-oriented tire because of it’s bias-ply construction. The ET Street R uses an almost identical compound known as the ‘3191W Bubba’ tire, which is used by Pro Modified racers, with the difference being that the ET Street R is reconfigured to DOT standards.

Far left: Our street rear wheel setup weighed in at 65.6 pounds per side, with the front wheel setup (center left) weighing in at 58.8 pounds. Center right: Our new front wheel setup weighs in at 45 pounds even, while our new rear wheel setup (far right) comes in at 42.2 pounds.

Don Sneddon of M/T gives us an inside-look at the ET Street R, saying, “The ET Street R is one of our newer tires on the market. Although this tire resembles a drag slick more than a radial tire, it still remains DOT legal. It was designed to drive to the strip, kill it at the track, then drive home safely. It’s not an every day street tire, so we only recommend it for occasional use. The same technology used in the ET Street Radial Pro tire, which is equipped on Outlaw-Pro cars that run a 3-second 1/8th-mile, goes into the ET Street R.”

The final product is looking great if we do say so ourselves.

The final product is looking great if we do say so ourselves.

Conclusion

Our initial goal upon receiving the new wheel and tire combination was to ensure Project Grabbr would have adequate traction at the strip. However, along the way, we were able to shed an impressive amount of weight in the process, which will decrease the car’s moment of inertia and could help us get down the track a little faster.

In total we were able to shed approximately 77.2 pounds off of our ’11 Mustang GT project car for drag strip duty. While this doesn’t seem like much in the grand scheme of things, consider that this weight reduction came from simply changing our wheel and tire combination and our brake components, which is pretty impressive if you ask us.

all doneWe also mentioned earlier that Project Grabbr will be going under-the-knife for a ProCharger installation, during a later segment as part of our Project Car updates. Since we’re well aware that our future supercharged 5-liter will be making some notable horsepower, it’s safe to say that our new wheel and tire combination will solidify ample traction at the strip.

Grissom closes with some helpful installation and ordering advice. “From the beginning, JMS has worked to eliminate the potential for headaches, as the only real mistake enthusiasts can make is ordering the wrong wheel,” he says. “Educating the enthusiasts up front and providing all the hardware they need, including new lug nuts, provides a product that fits and installs hassle-free without any mistakes.”

Stay tuned, Project Grabbr is about to get a whole lot faster when we bolt-on some ProCharger power and tell you all about it in just a few weeks.