Bridgestone is reviving its Super R.A.P. wheel, once famous for being incredibly light weight. A mainstay of the Showa Era, it was originally released in 1987. Though it looks like a simple steelie coated in white, the Super R.A.P. was actually made of aluminum alloy, just designed to look like a steel wheel.
The original Super R.A.P. was developed for rallying, hence its lack of spokes. Having too much empty space in the design would have clotted the brakes with dirt and mud, so Bridgestone employed a mostly solid face with holes for heat dissipation. It came in FR, FF, and kei car sizes, while the writing declared that it was “Created to Balance Maximum Strength and Minimum Weight for Racing”.
Turns out, that claim was true. A 13×5.5J Super R.A.P. weighed only 3.5kg (7.7 pounds), though 14- and 15-inch sizes were also available. Their lightness gained them widespread popularity at rallying and gymkhana events, and they quickly became a regular presence at dirt racetracks and in the All-Japan Gymkhana Series.
The Super R.A.P. became a sought-after choice for performance cars that excelled at rallying and gymkhana, such as the AE86 and NA Miata. Their lightness and minimalist style also made them a go-to for fashionable cars like the Nissan Pao and kei cars like the Honda Beat. Tommykaira even used them as the stock wheel on the M13 Stage I, based on the K11 Nissan March.
Bridgestone quietly announced the return of the Super R.A.P. at the Tokyo Auto Salon, displaying a prototype in a corner of their massive booth. The wheel on display was a 15×6.0J, the largest and widest size planned. A custom set of 15×8.5J prototypes were displayed at Toyota’s Gazoo Racing booth on Masahiro Sasaki’s Sprinter Trueno. Sasaki is a factory race and test driver and for Toyota and probably had some pull to get himself a personalized deep-lip set.
Sizes can go as small as 12×4.5J, and Bridgestone has been holding an online survey for size requests. A spokesperson at the Auto Salon said most popular choice has been 14-inch. However, Rev9 Autosport is reporting that the first sizes will be available in 15×7.0J +20 and 15×7.5 with unknown offset, both with a 4×100 lug pattern.
Back in the day the Super R.A.P. was most commonly found in white, and that’s what the remake will be. A far less common option would have been red, and those are essentially unobtainium today.