Why would anyone modify a $140,000 exotic when there are so many ways to screw it up? If parts are tossed in on a whim, not only is there the risk of wasting time and serious money, but performance can also suffer. Luckily, this hasn't been the case for Project 997 TT. With its full engine-back exhaust and GIAC software bumping up power (through stock turbos) to 522 wheel-hp (ec, May 2007), the operation went well. Aesthetically, the same applies. Curvaceous lines, new lights, functional vents and air scoops have most people agreeing that a stock 997 TT is pleasing to the eye. But those stock wheels have to go.
Many wheel companies make quality cast aluminum product and there are well-known makers of (lighter and stronger) forged aluminum racing wheels. But Project 997 TT had to go further, to get the best of the best. Being the only producer of carbon fiber wheels for road cars, Dymag was an easy choice.
Since the company's inception in the '70s, UK-based Dymag has quite a track record in wheel development. First by making cast magnesium wheels for Formula One, then progressing to wheels for most other forms of open-wheel racing, including Indy Car and F3000. It jumped onto the motorcycle scene with World Superbike and got dirty with the World Rally Championship as well.
Dymag's researched continued and, in 1994, after extensive testing with 12- and 24-hour endurance racing teams, it launched the world's first road-going carbon fiber wheel, manufactured under British ISO 9001 quality standards for carbon fiber, magnesium and aluminum. And even though they are original equipment on supercars such as the Koenigsegg CCX, Ascari, Mosler MT900S and Cobra Galmer Arbitrage GT, Dymag wheels can be custom-made for virtually any road-going vehicle.
An order went to Dymag's exclusive US distributor, Rennworx, stipulating the nine-spoke model, which features a silver forged magnesium center inside a carbon fiber barrel, both of which are attached with titanium hardware. Because of these expensive raw materials, they cost $2,150 for each 9x19 front and $2,300 for a 12x19 rear. Since the factory wheel bolts wouldn't work, $1,200 was also shelled out for its custom titanium Torx-type bolts. For tires, the Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Pole Position was chosen, as fitted to the Ferrari Enzo. In terms of handling, the tire is about as good as it gets without going to an R-compound. Reduced road noise and excellent tire wear make it an even more excellent choice.
The factory wheel-and-tire combo was light to begin with, but there's been an overall weight reduction (wheel and tire) of 4.5 pounds per corner in the front and two pounds for each rear. By themselves, the front Dymags weigh a feathery 17 pounds each, while the bigger rears are just 20 pounds apiece. Lightweight wheels mean faster turn-in response, better deceleration and (potentially) quicker acceleration.