- The 2023 GR Corolla is Toyota’s latest performance hatchback that comes equipped with a 300hp, 273 lb-ft turbocharged three-cylinder engine, all-wheel-drive, and six-speed manual transmission.
- With the GR Corolla being a new platform in the U.S. market, aftermarket companies are slowly rolling out parts into the market; however, wheel options are available thanks to a favorable bolt pattern and fitment shared with other popular makes and models.
- Announced by Mackin Industries in April 2023, we received the first set of Volk Racing TE37SAGA S-plus Time Attack Edition wheels in Dash White measuring 18×9.5”.
- The one-piece forged TE37 wheels will be the first of many upgrades on our GR Corolla project car, which will make its official debut at the 2023 SEMA Show.
WHEELS MAKE THE CAR
I was fortunate to learn a very important lesson in high school… “Wheels make the car.” It’s arguably the most important decision you’ll face when modifying a project car, and it boils down to the following three reasons:
REASON #1: SAFETY FIRST
First and foremost, it’s a matter of safety. We’ve all heard tales of cheap or knockoff wheels bending in potholes or cracking at the track. Unlike aero mods or other basic bolt-ons, wheels are a critical component of why your car is moving in the first place, and you don’t want crap quality wheels to be the reason why you got a flat tire or how you ended up in a ditch.
REASON #2: PERFORMANCE IMPLICATIONS
Wheels affect your vehicle’s overall performance. The heavier the wheel, the more energy you’ll need to move them, the slower your acceleration. This is why engineers from reputable manufacturers spend years developing secret formulas to produce the strongest wheels possible while keeping unsprung weight down to a minimum.
REASON #3: FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Last but not least, the final reason you should care about wheels is what your eyes tell you – looks. Wheels are the first thing people notice and the one modification that can ultimately make or break the execution of any build. You can drive the baddest 1,000hp Toyota Supra, but if you’re rolling on a set of budget knockoffs from Bob’s Wheel & Tire, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. A quality-constructed wheel from a respectable brand doesn’t just offer safety assurances and performance benefits, but its finish and detail will also look the part as well.
If you get these three factors, then you’ll understand why enthusiasts who’ve been in the game only trust certain r motorsport-proven brands on their beloved project cars. Hence, when it came time to pick new wheels for my 2023 Toyota GR Corolla project car, I placed my trust in the tried-and-true Volk Racing TE37.
IN RAYS WE TRUST
Most people know that Volk Racing is the flagship sub-brand under RAYS Engineering. What most people don’t know is RAYS’ incredible history in motorsports. First off, they’re an old company. Based in Osaka, Japan, the manufacturer was born in 1973 (Happy 50th birthday, RAYS!). The company takes pride in doing every single step of the development, design, and manufacturing process which also includes testing at the highest levels of motorsports, having supported race cars in Formula 1, GT1 World Championship, several touring car series, and of course Super GT. When it comes to JDM wheels, no one has gone to as extreme lengths or has a better resume, which is why I don’t want you to get it twisted that I’m just following the crowd when it came to selecting the TE37, but I can honestly appreciate the rich history in which it came from.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TE37
The TE37’s history, strength, and simplicity are what make it timeless. I like to compare it to the Air Jordan of JDM wheels. Launched in 1996, the wheel was marketed to cater to both motorsports and street performance. Early uses saw the TE37 in Super Taikyu racing and ‘90s and ‘00s time attack. They have also been used in GT500 JGTC in the form of a center-lock magnesium version, but as far as the versions you’ll see on the street today, it’s very common to see them still being used in professional time attack competitions around the world.
Made in Japan from 6061 T6 aluminum, there’s nothing cheap that goes into the wheel’s ingredients from the materials, forging machinery used to build them, and the efficient design that distributes stress on the wheel efficiently so there’s no waste or added weight.
After RAYS came up with the perfect recipe for the perfect six-spoke, the rest was history. The number of sizes, variants, bolt patterns, colors, and limited edition models has been infinite over the last 26 years. I’ve seen TE37s on virtually everything from trucks and SUVs to kei cars and minivans. There are no boundaries to the TE37 anymore, but you can rest assured the same technology and care that goes into the wheel setting lap records at Tsukuba Circuit is the same wheel you saw at Cars+Coffee last weekend.
Fun Fact: TE stands for “Touring Evolution”, and 37 comes from 3.7kg, the weight of the lightest and smallest TE37 at the time of launch in 1996.
TE37SAGA S-PLUS TIME ATTACK EDITION
I mentioned there have been a million variants of the TE37, and I might not be too far off! For the GR Corolla, I’ll be running a set of the brand-spanking new TE37SAGA S-plus Time Attack Edition wheels in Dash White measuring 18×9.5” (released in April via Mackin Industries). Yes, these are a spin-off, of another spin-off, of another spin-off; however, the underlying foundation and design are still the same. I’m very grateful because I had a similar version of the TE37SAGAs on my previous Corolla Hatchback project car which I built as a collaboration with Toyota for the SEMA Show. Five years later, I’m back with the evolution of the original Corolla hatch with another evolution of the TE37SAGA. I couldn’t be more stoked!
And if you think for one minute these clean white wheels will be just for show then think again. In the following update, I’ll be mounting a set of Yokohama ADVAN A052 tires on, then don’t be surprised if you see me at the next Starting Grid or SoCal Drivers Club event!
Special thank you to Wakana Kosumi of RAYS and Steve Lim of Mackin Industries