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Discussion Starter #1
I am turning the clock back 40 years and looking at buying the new 2012 Focus with a 5-spd. I want to do an occasional TSD rally and autocross.
I will order the SE Sport package for the 4 wheel disc brakes.
Will I get better handling out of the 16" or 17" wheels?
What I can find on tires are:
215-55R16 and 215-50R17.
No more width/footprint on the 17" over the 16".
Will the lower aspect ratio of the 17" give me better cornering performance?
 

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Short answer: Yes, the 17''s will improve the handling over the 16''s.
Here is a small list of the performance benefits.

Mostly you are increasing lateral stability by using a larger wheel and shorter sidewall which is a great improvement for auto x-ing.

(PS. [burnout] Congrats on the 2012 purchase!)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. Been a motorhead since the 60s so my intuition said the 17s would be better. Now that the kids are grown and gone and I need a car with better gas mileage because I am starting a longer commute.
Tough to find a 5-spd 2012 Focus on the lot here in Northern VA, so I will have to order it. I am going to go back playing like I did with my 1970 Triumph TR6 and 1975 Fiat 124 Spyder.
 

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Really??? The OEM rims would handle going from a 215 to a 255 tire??? Or were talking about going with new rims and tires??
Hmmm, not sure what the OEM size is, 17x7? You probably don't want to venture past 225 on the stock wheel with street tires. The 255 would have to be on some aftermarket (wider) wheels. I am curious though, of how much tire you can fit under the 2012, given the 18" wheels in the Ti package.
 

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You can safely venture into the 245's but might need to roll the fender lip for anything wider.
 

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For autocross you may want to consider what class you want to compete in. Stock class pretty much limits you to stock wheel sizes and offsets. You can use aftermarket wheels but they must comply with the rules for the class. I suggest going to a local autocross and seeing what fellow competitors with similar cars (especially in the same class) are using. I think you'll be surprised at what you find.

Tire and wheel selection also depends a lot on how serious you are or want to be and whether you prefer using the great selection of super high performance street tires or outright competition rubber that's available.

For TSD rallies I'd recommend a good performance all season tire because rallies can be run in all sorts of weather and road conditions and rarely (if ever) is high speed a factor that needs to be accommodated for.
 

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slow
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For autocross you may want to consider what class you want to compete in. Stock class pretty much limits you to stock wheel sizes and offsets. You can use aftermarket wheels but they must comply with the rules for the class.
The 2012 focus will likely be buried in H Stock, its.... uh, husky, underpowered and tall. If you want to spend big dollars on tires, a titanium edition might be ok locally with the 18" wheels. But crappy camber will eat through a lot of sticky tires.

But its autox, its all about the driver, so don't let this stop you. Just sabatoge those mini's :D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The 2012 focus will likely be buried in H Stock, its.... uh, husky, underpowered and tall. If you want to spend big dollars on tires, a titanium edition might be ok locally with the 18" wheels. But crappy camber will eat through a lot of sticky tires.

But its autox, its all about the driver, so don't let this stop you. Just sabatoge those mini's :D
From what I see when I build a Focus on line, the Titanium does not come with a 5-spd options. Can't imagine trying autocross with the manual shift automatic?? Trying to find the up and down shift buttons would suck.
 

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Yeah, that could be tricky.
 
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