Wheels and Tires

No specific tire brand is recommended because this year’s best may be next year’s old news. Many tires will fit Midlana but it depends what the car will be used for.

Cruising

If the car is for slow scenic drives, builders will find themselves in the happy situation where nearly any tire will do and they can consider the this issue closed. That said, be aware that because Midlana is so light, handling and braking may be less than expected if typical hard-compound all-season tires are used.

For Twisty Roads or Track

For best performance, Midlana needs sticky tires, both for adhesion and because sticky tires come up to temperature faster, a challenge for light cars, and herein lies the challenge. Many argue that small light cars need small light wheels and tires, and they’re right. Small (12”-15”) tires and wheels result in lower unsprung and overall vehicle weight, have a lower rotational moment of inertia, and cost less. Unfortunately, market forces are pushing sizes larger and larger, leaving the smaller sizes and compounds to slowly die off. Yes, there are a few smaller tires that can work, but they’re on the endangered list and likely to be gone by the time the builder completes the car. The solution is to look at it the other way around: check what’s available, pick a size and move on, which probably means going to 17” because that’s where there’s a decent choice of sticky, wide, low-profile performance tires start (in addition to 18-20”, but thankfully we aren’t forced to go there – yet). This is why Midlana specifies tire diameter only, not width, compound, or aspect ratio. This allows many different tires types and sizes to work instead of forcing builders to work from a limited – and increasingly short – list.

Track tires

For the track, virtually all the above negative issues vanish because race slicks are available in just about any size. Other than the expense of a separate set of wheels and tires (and the accelerated wear) it’s nearly the perfect solution, but is more expensive.

Wheels

Street wheels are typically steel or aluminum and while they weigh more, they’re also far stronger and more tolerant of pot holes and curbs, and most of the time much cheaper to boot.

Race wheels are typically aluminum and manufactured as thin as possible for maximum weight savings. As a result, they’re delicate and don’t cope well with pot holes, curbs, and heavy-handed tire changers. They also work-harden – becoming more and more brittle the longer they’re used. As a result, aluminum race wheels should be considered a consumable, that after X events should be considered “used up.” (Of course, no one does that, and instead they get passed around from one car to another, with no idea of what their remaining life is.)