A Crash Course On Volk Racing
Learning From Racing

Setting a trend or making a mark on fashion isn’t an easy thing.

Creating something so iconic that it becomes a de facto style in itself is elevating things to the highest level. You can confidently say that this is where RAYS’ Volk Racing line up sits; an ever expanding collection of wheels that are synonymous with the highest echelons of JDM performance tuning and racing.

But where did it all begin? How did it all evolve? And how are RAYS building on this dominance? These are some of the questions I’ll be answering in a series of posts from my recent visit to their headquarters in Osaka. Think of it as a way to get to know these well known wheels a little better. We’ll be talking about materials, production methods, stiffness and rigidity, and design itself.


To kick things off there was only one wheel we could really pick, the Touring Evolution 37 – or TE37.

The lightweight, single-piece, forged six-spoke design was introduced in 1996 as a performance-oriented offering for the domestic market, coming directly from the world of motorsport. The idea was to create a wheel that was as rigid as possible, yet extremely lightweight. That’s where the ’37’ comes from. A mere 3.7kg (8.15lb) was the weight of the entry-level 15×6-inch wheel.

With feedback from the racing world, the wheel was also designed and constructed with a large inner rim diameter in order to accommodate large brake setups. It was, for all intents and purposes, the ultimate performance wheel.

Twenty-two years on, the TE37 is still king.

RAYS’ iconic wheel really found its stride in the late 1990s and early 2000s thanks to its widespread use in JGTC. This 12-inch wide magnesium, single-lug version was used on the NSX with teams including Autobacs-Arta and Raybrig, and on the Supra with Denso.

From this, a special lighter ‘Forged Mag’ version of the TE37 was made for street use; it cost 60% more than the normal aluminium alloy version and was only offered in the blue colour you see above.


This is what the TE37 looks like today in its ‘normal’ form.


While the recognizable six-spoke design is still very much there, there have been countless small refinements made over the years, from the rim design to the barrel shape and where the spokes meet the outer portion of the wheel.

On top of that, to make it harder for the wheels to be counterfeited, logos are now machined both on one of the spokes as well as the rim itself, then sealed to protect against corrosion.


Putting the latest version beside an original white TE37, the difference is obvious.

The barrel and outer rim section are designed in a more angular way now, and it all come from two decades worth of data and testing, fine tuning the weak spots, and adding rigidity where it’s needed the most.


One standout detail of the newer wheel is the knurling along the surface where the tire bead sits, something that was initially only used on race versions of the TE37. This adds another important aspect to the wheel, especially now that street cars are getting so fast and can generate such high levels of mechanical traction and lateral grip.


As you can see, there is no such thing on the first generation of the TE37. But get this, Wakana-san of RAYS told me that this no-frills, first-generation edition of the wheel is still being produced to this day.


One of the main difference between the 1996 version of the TE37 and the 2018 one is the fact that forging techniques used at RAYS have evolved greatly. This means the back of the six spokes can be carved out to save even more weight without taking a toll on the overall toughness and structure of the wheel.


The guys at RAYS prepared some cross-sections for me to get a better understanding of how the aluminium alloy is distributed around the mold when the wheels are forged.

The thicker the metal, the more load is applied on that part of the rim, and thus more strength is directed there.


Here you get a good idea about the spoke and hub thickness.

Pushing Evolution

As you can see, the 2018 version of the TE37 has the knurling too; it’s not as pronounced as on the race wheel, but still offers the same benefit.


One other thing RAYS has decided to overhaul is the way it offers different colours. Back in the day, you could order your Volk Racing wheels in custom colours for a fixed fee. This wasn’t really a service a lot of customers opted for, which meant RAYS was stuck with countless colour supplies that were hardly getting used.

To make the whole thing more efficient, they’ve come up with a selection of 21 colours that represent the most popular ones people went for, and now offer these at an extra fee depending on which colour is selected. New colours are added from time to time, but the images above should give you a rough idea of what’s available right now.


While TE37s are produced in a variety of sizes, offsets and PCDs that take in everything you’ve seen here all the way to kei car and off-road applications, RAYS have evolved the whole concept creating the TE037.

Forged in A7075 duralumin alloy, and first shown in 2017 in only 20-inch sizes, the TE037 was created specifically to bring the lightness and rigidity TE37s are known for to the modern day crop of (heavier) high performance cars. The TE037 6061 followed this year, offered in a 19-inch diameter with six width variations and at half the price of the DURA version, which currently sits as the top of the line wheel in the Volk Racing forged wheel line up.


The 6061 brings the same carved-out spoke design, which eliminates as much excess material from the wheel as possible, with the A6061 aluminium allowing for high levels of rigidity. Again, you can see the machining done to each wheel.

Weighing in at 8.15kg (18.7lb), this is one of the lightest 19-inch aluminium alloy wheels out there.


Check out how much material is removed from the spokes, let alone the lateral holes.


The knurling we saw earlier is of course part of the 6061 and DURA version construction.

The Ultimate Wheel

The A6061 alloy allows the thickness of the rim to be slightly thinner, again adding to the TE037’s impressive lightness.


The TE37 line up that was set out for us to see was topped off by the most evolved version of the six-spoke design yet; the black wheel right at the end.


This is currently being used in the GT500 class of Super GT, and while still maintaining the recognizable design, features a few interesting solutions.


From the finned lip which helps add extra structure and even impacts aerodynamics positively, there are six rather large and visible areas where material has been removed, right where each spoke meets the eternal portion of the wheel.

On top of that, the spokes have been ‘pinched’ in the middle (for lack of a better term), again helping shave away material, but at the same time forged to create a stiffer structure, sort of like an I-beam. Due to the fact that magnesium burns quite easily, the material has been banned in use for wheels in Super GT, so these are all aluminium.


And what is RAYS latest and most advanced concept? The lightest and strongest wheel that they can create with today’s technology? The WEC Forged Magnesium race wheel, which Wakana-san and RAYS’ brand manager KJ-san are proudly holding up here.


This was built for the Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 hybrid race car that won Le Mans this year, and they even had a paper model of the car to show me.


This is a magnesium-alloy forging which has an evident rib strengthening the outside portion of the spokes, sort of webbing them out as they meet the extremities of the rim. Each wheel is then placed on a five-axis CNC machine where the lateral portions of each spoke are milled out.


A special tool had to be made up in order to get the drill bits to reach such tight and awkwardly positioned areas. The result is an 18×13-inch wheel that weighs in at 6.5kg (14.3lb) and manages to decrease drag, increase brake cooling and has a positive aerodynamic impact.


Shaving a few grams off a wheel used in endurance racing can equate to milliseconds saved over the course of a lap; multiply that over 24 hours of racing and you have the advantage you need to better your results. The ultimate test of wining Le Mans meant the wheels were used at speeds over 200mph, covering almost 3,300 miles over 388 laps.

I hope you enjoyed nerding out on some forged wheel technology; next up we’ll take a closer look at another RAYS favorite; the Volk Racing CE28N.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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I am pretty sure the TE's are on everyone's top 5 wheels list! Unless of course unless you're a 2/3 piece nut then go away lol


It's not on my Top5, and I'm not a 2/3 piece nut lol.
I like them, a lot, but I can easily think of 5 other wheels that I like better, like Advan RGIIs, Volk ZE40s, Enkei RPF1s, OZ Rally, WedsSport TC-05, etc.



Who said multi-piece wheel? Banish this man from the castle walls!

Dino Dalle Carbonare



Yes, love this article. I remember messing around on Autodesk Inventor trying to make wheels. shit was so fun.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Oh, good stuff! Looking forward to the rest of this series' articles Dino.


Awesome article Dino looking forward to the next one got to love a bit a wheel porn. I am a proud TE37 owner in OG white, they would be at the top of my wheel list closely followed by CE28's.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

The OG choice indeed!


Easily one of my favourite wheels out there.


I love the TE37s so much, but a UCF20 LS400 can't exactly pull those off :c I wanna know more about the Gram Lights series tbh.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

You are in luck my friend, I've got a post on Gram Lights in the works :)


Hi Dino, looks like I´m late to the party, anyway, great article. I love garage/ factory stories like these and I´m looking forward for more in the future. Did Wakana-san or KJ-san said anything about releasing a street friendly version of the WEC wheel ? I think it looks super cool and I would love to own a set.

kind regards

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks for the feedback. No they didn't mention, not sure if they'd be able to justify the cost of making something like that for production though. Most tours, got it!

Benjamin Scott Cook

Yes....yes more of this please!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

More coming!


TE37 on er’thang!


Volk is one of the dinosaurs of the tuning world. They've definitely been around forever with their stuff looking right on almost every car known to exist.

They are getting some pretty stiff competition especially in the 15" range now. Other than looks I would say there is zero reason to buy a TE37 in the 15's range if you are after weight AND affordability. If the later isn't a concern, well, they are one of the best wheels out there.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Sounds to me like you are comparing forged wheels with cast stuff?


Yeah, sounds like RPF1 vs TE37.


Please bring back more of Dino's features and less of the Paddy / millennial bullshit about loving everyone's build and singing camp fire songs as we are all forced into thoughtless mashing of the like buttons.


well said

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Maybe you don't have to "like" all builds, but they are what makes car culture... well, car culture.


Sorry for forcing you to read all this content we supply for free. Must be terrible.


Right, because its free everyone should just be quiet. Absurd Paddy.

Site was different for the last 10 years I've been reading. As a fan of the site I am free to voice my opinion.

Deal with it Paddy. Less crying.


I just find it odd that you found something you enjoyed, but couldn't bring yourself to enjoy it without taking a dig at me? If you don't like what I write, that's fair enough, but I don't see the point in dragging everything else down because of it.

If you have a problem with what I write or the site itself, you'll have a lot more success at raising your issues if you e-mail me directly, rather than just taking a pop in the comments. My mail is paddy@speedhunters.com FWIW.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Did you guys talk?


Paddy would be less annoying if he stopped getting into awkwardly personal arguments with some of the readers.


I tend to not allow BS from anonymous users to go unchallenged as I don't want the comments section to devolve into a complete shit show.

By all means, have an opinion but be prepared to back it up in a mature manner. Healthy debate and discussion is a huge cornerstone of Speedhunters.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

hear ye, hear ye!


This ^


you would be truly amazed at the amount of engineering that goes into making wheels. I was privy to some early F1 testing photos way back in 2007 and noticed that the spokes on the OZ wheels were quite thick. I did some research and found out about 'hollow spokes'. Indeed, Porsche had hollow spokes on the 959. The increased air volume actually helps improve the ride quality of the tire, and they even make hollow spoked wheels for low-profile applications.

I posted a comment about the Sauber having hollow-spoked F1 wheels (the only team in the paddock) and nobody believed me for a long time. A year or so later, an OZ racing engineer actually contacted me personally, and sent me pictures of the rim blank, and sure enough you could see the blind holes in the rim that formed the inner spoke cavity. Interestingly, later that year, a tire came off the Sauber, and Craig Scarborough could finally confirm my observations in public, and he personally sent me a picture of the OZ hollow-spoked racing wheel....Sauber's secret was finally out!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Not sure who uses hollow spoke design these days, seems the thing to do is carving the hell out of the spokes all together


Any chance we could get a history of the company? I just bought a set of 3-piece CV Pros and pair of Super Fine Mesh. Would love to hear about the older stuff!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

There will be some history explored in one of the post that's coming up so you are in luck! :)


its crazy to see how the wheel the technology and the manufacturing has come on , i have a set of centre lock bbs mags from the late 90s off a supertourer in 9.5x19" and they are the same weight as the 19s alloys that these guys now make as road wheel

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I know exactly what you mean, I have a BBS mag from the R390 GT1 which I picked up at Nismo Festival ages ago and while being light, it's heavier than some modern street wheels. Mind you it is also like 14 inches wide lol


timeless classics that cost an arm and a leg

Dino Dalle Carbonare

You think? I think all in all they are still decently priced. Have a look at what some wheel manufacturers charge for wheels these days...


Is there a better wheel than TE37?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

The thing about this wheel is that it can be made to look good on pretty much any car...or truck


VOLK Wheels are among those I wish were less nearly-impossible to get road legal in Germany :-/

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Why is that??


To be road-legal in Germany, the wheel-manufacturer would have to have a lot of paperwork and certification created, how much depends on how easy he wants it to be for the customers to use the wheel legally on the road.
Since the German market is quite small, most foreign companies can't be bothered.
Until a few years ago a certificate saying that a certain grade material was used and how much weight the wheel could carry was enough to get them "registered" for your car, but that's no longer the case.
Now you would have to buy the wheels, install them, trailer the car to the TÜV (not allowed to drive on unregistered wheels), pay something near 150 Euros for an "evaluation" and hope your TÜV-engineer (the guy doing the evaluation) is in a good and helpful mood.
The system was put in place partly because the TÜV is for-profit and partly to keep crap off German roads, but it's a little excessive since it makes it really hard (if not impossible) to use imported tuning parts, especially ones you import yourself.
For example, having certification for a set of LED tail lights created (for one single set "bound" to your car) is about 12.000€, and it gives you a 50/50 chance.
Because every approval is partly subjective (paperwork being there or not) by the engineers choice.
If he doesn't "feel like" that part should be on the car, it's not getting approval.

In the case of the TE37 there are some companies that say they have a "good chance" of getting them registered on certain cars if you do it through them (and buy the wheel through them), but no guarantee.
On the good side, actually bad wheels stay off German roads.
On the bad side, it limits car-modification (and makes it expensive), and you see a lot of people running some legal wheel for the TÜV and then swapping them out afterwards (until they run into a police checkpoint).

That's the (really short) summary, explaining the TÜV would require it's own article or two.
Just...next time you look at tuning parts, see if they mention "ABE".
That means Germans can just stick them on their cars.
Anything else and they need approval (between 80-250€, plus paperwork if needed) or are illegal.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

That sounds like a pretty silly system. So the extra test is just down to the mood of some inspector? What's he going to do, hit the wheels with a hammer and see if they crack?


ANY approval, no matter which paperwork is there or not is down to the mood/decision of the engineer doing the inspection.
Wheels usually get examined (visually), and then, for wheels, there's paperwork demanded (measurements (that get checked), approval for the car, how much weight they can carry (a test he can demand you have a specialized company do if there's no such paperwork).
Road-noise-tests or GPS-based tests on whether or not the speedometer is still accurate can also be demanded, both of which can cost hundreds of Euros.
The engineer has to sign off on the approval, if he does it "anyway" or only after seeing certain certificates is down to him.
But recently it's become VERY unlikely to get through an approval with no paperwork (if the wheel does crack and you crash, the engineer has to explain his motivation for approving a faulty wheel).
And yes, with some bad luck the weight-bearing test is a destructive one (just like they used to cut open custom exhausts to look inside the cat-converters and mufflers).
It's why you don't see any Konig-Wheels on German roads, because they don't come with paperwork, and getting it is so expensive that no-one does it.
Recently a select few Vossen-wheels became road-legal, after "JP Performance"'s (famous German Tuner and YouTuber) boss invested private funds to get the certification done.
Oh, and those certificates are car-specific in EVERY case, and tied to certain tires, brakes or suspensions in some cases.
So, you might get to install, say, OZ-wheels, but only a specific size with a specific tire-size and specific suspension.
It's...kinda stupid.
A "simple" modification-package (wheels, suspension, exhaust, seats) quickly leads to your glovebox being filled with a sizable folder full of paperwork, because the police recently "toughened up" and LOVES towing modified cars to the nearest TÜV-"station" (at the owner's expense, of course) to have everything checked (car and paperwork).

And even if you manage to get your car completely approved, after a police-checkpoint or after two years (TÜV is mandatory every two years) ANY approved modification can be re-evaluated (and denied re-approval), forcing you to return it all to stock, or a different modification.

All together, I assume it's easy to see why quite some people plan on moving abroad just for the car-related freedom :-/


I'm German too... Who was it to put a hand made wooden wheel from the other side of the globe to his Supercar to go on the Autobahn and drive the hell out of it (legal and insured)?
Don't forget we are the only country you can do. Once we have the EV vehicles, self driving on fully limited 100km/h roads, maybe we can add everything without mercy of TÜV.
And by the way, the decision of an engineer who plays with his Job and pension, is in most cases not based on mood. Sorry to say, but many people do not know enough about engineering and what they are doing. Also, it is a big mistake to build your car, trailer it to the TÜV station and saying "hey fool, here I 'am, give me the stamp on my licence plate". Of course they will cry when they got blamed. Clever people go first to talk to the engineer and make a concept with him, checking what is possible to be road legal.
And yes there are rules in Europe, We have ECE Regulations like ECE124 (wheels) since 1958 or ETRTO for tires (ie. what tire size to use securely on what rim size). And yes, if you like to sell wheels, you must proof that your company is able to mass production on continuous high level. To become the owner of an ABE (only valid in Germany) you even need to be ISO certified regularly. If you, you will be able to provide technical documentation on every relevant test for an approval. It's not a war against the aftermarket, it's against cheep Chinese copies. And it's also about product liability (I think Americans know, "do not put your cat into the microwave oven!"). For sure, you will not win a stance contest, nor register a classic 34' hot rod without fenders, nor get away in a kaido racer or on a bosozoku bike ...
All my cars were not that extreme, but all the added parts came with some technical data sheets. Most of the wheels were up to the technical limits and not designed for the vehicle they were used. I even swaped Engine and brakes - road legal, of course...


"Mood" might have been a bad choice of words.
What I meant is that, regardless of paperwork, there's no guarantee that this or that is going to be approved.
It's a subjective decision by the engineer (as I have been told by a few employees of the TÜV), so sometimes you really can try to go to a bunch of different TÜV-stations and one guy might approve it.
Hell, a different employee at one station might approve something that was denied the day before.
And of course full projects should be planned ahead of time, the trailer-bit was about smaller modifications, not extensive project-cars.
Regarding the wheels, I've had contact with Konig WHeels, and they told me their workshop and machinery is TÜV-certified, but not their wheels since they don't plan on selling in Germany.
So basically it is guaranteed that their production is at a high quality, but the last "sheet of paperwork" is missing.
It's just a bit...upsetting to hear that you got no chance with certain modifications (like imported wheels for an imported car), and then you find TÜV-ed cars with that very modification which was possible because Company XY has their exclusive paperwork, which they only use if you let them "build" your car (for a ton of money).
I believe a lot could be solved if the TÜV would be state-run, rather than a for-profit company.

Also, I still don't get why valved exhausts are legal as OEM-parts but were recently made illegal as tuning-parts, or why new noise-regulation (only for cars, not for bikes) is tied to the power-output of the car.

Sure, the purpose of the TÜV is good, I just think they "overshot their goal" here and there, getting a little too strict on modifications, or needlessly expensive (12k Euros to (essentially) have a look at a set of new rear lights).

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Sounds like a war against the aftermarket industry. I'm sure there is some financial benefit in there for some domestic manufacturer/s or just plain protectionism. RAYS, like all legit JDM wheel manufacturers, are tested and certified to a number of stringent standards. If they're good to be used in pretty much every country in the world, I'm sure they are ok for Germany too. Or are your roads so bad that they are scared they will all bend? Very sad to hear all of this, didn't know Germany turned into Australia all of a sudden. We get the same retarded stuff happen in Italy where you have to homologate wheel and tire sizes to your car whenever you change/upgrade.


didn't know Germany turned into Australia all of a sudden

haha oh man the burn *gets defected for Nismo wheels on a GT-R* /s

Dino Dalle Carbonare

If it really came to that it would be beyond sad


An article showing the transformation of an aluminum block into a wheel (in case you didn't already start editing something like this).

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Sorry I don't get what you are getting at?


all the forging, CNC-ing,.... the full process and how the raw material is shaped/treated to make the final product.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Ah right, well most wheel manufacturers aren't too keen to give away their production methods unfortunately. That's where the few secrets in wheel manufacturing lie these days. Makes sense if you think about it from their side and the countless knockoffs that continue to challenge their business. I'd certainly wouldn't want to help those guys get an advantage


Even though i was left very unpleasant, i do understand what you're saying.
Waiting for the remaining articles...


Excellent Article.

The best bit was how genuinely stoaked KJ and Wakana san looked with the TS050 wheel!
good to see "real" people who are proud of what they do

Dino Dalle Carbonare

All super cool people at RAYS!


People say VOLK has the biggest forged stamp machine in the world.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I think it does, 8 tonnes if I'm not mistaken


Excited already for the CE28N

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Can't wait to re-fit mine...I kind of miss them


How do I buy rims on your site or find the rims tou have posted ?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

We do not sell rims, for that you'd have to find whoever sells Rays in your country and contact them :)


Strangely, Aussies keep whining but you can register a 1,200hp drag GTR there so cannot be all that hard. Impossible to do that anywhere in Western Europe (barring UK).
People have spoken about Germany and Italy. Try just registering a bone-stock Stagea as a 5-seater in France...

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yes Europe is too old school and conservative for its own good. Keep that kind of mentality and it will be a forgotten region in the very near future...


The more I read about the regimes on car modifications in other countries, the more I realise here in the UK we actually have a fairly liberal regime, much closer to the US than other European countries. Lowering, spacers, nearly any modification, as long as you declare to the insurers, and the car is road worthy (proven through the MOT) its all good.


Excellent article Dino!

Dino Dalle Carbonare



Awesome read! Love these techie articles, especially about wheels. Look forward to reading more.


That was most definitely worth the read - brilliant article & glad I run Rays wheels. I'd love to hear more about the CE28n & ZE40's.


be cool if you could get a factory tour of enkei as well


Looking at all these hard work gone into these wheels, at the same time think about other companies ripping off these TE37 with knock-offs. They really have no dignity at all...


didn't the TE37 start life as a 5 spoke wheel? i've seen some listed for sale way back in tha day
also insane how the 18x13 race wheel weighs less than most 15x7 sport wheels.


Definitely on my top 5 wheel choices. TE37's, CE28N's, RPF1's, Meister S1R's and Nismo LM GT4's. The dream..