May 24, 2023
In its 50 years, RAYS has designed and produced some of the world’s most recognizable aftermarket wheels. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that legendary models like the Volk Racing TE37 and CE28
In its 50 years, RAYS has designed and produced some of the world’s most recognizable aftermarket wheels.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that legendary models like the Volk Racing TE37 and CE28 represent far more than just original wheel designs; they are visual representations of the JDM tuning and racing scenes.
Because nothing screams ‘Japan’ more than a car running a set of forged Volk Racing wheels.
The CE28N was introduced in 1999, and since then has maintained its status as the lightest wheel in the Volk Racing range. I took a closer look at this iconic wheel back in 2018, but to summarize the naming, the ‘CE’ part stands for ‘Competition Expert’ and the ’28’ represents the 2.8kg weight of the entry-level wheel (14×5-inch).
Fast forward 24 years, and RAYS have decided to revitalize this much-loved model.
RAYS have been working on the CE28 renewal project for some time, but took a big step forward earlier in the year with a prototype wheel, which you can see here finished in matte bronze.
The idea was to incorporate elements of previous update versions, like the CE28SL (Super Lap), where the hub portion was cleaned up, eliminating the additional drilled holes around the lugs.
If you forgot what those looked like, here is a first-generation CE28N.
The main drive behind modernizing the model was to take into account the substantial boost in performance that cars have gone through in the last 20 years or so.
More engine power, more tire grip, more weight and stronger braking – all traits of modern performance cars that result in higher forces for wheels to sustain. This has called for a refined design that takes into account the far superior alloys and production capabilities available today.
As Shigeru Mine, the president of RAYS, touched on, there is always a need for the company to evolve their wheels, especially when it comes to the Volk Racing line up, which represents their top-tier products.
Hiroshi Tamura of Nissan was also invited along to talk about the long partnership that RAYS has enjoyed with the OEM, supplying forged wheels for the GT-R and Z for decades now – not to mention all the Nismo variants. The now retired Mr. GT-R emphasized how important it was to have RAYS support his vision for each iteration of the R35 that he oversaw while at Nissan.
And this is the final production product – the Volk Racing CE28N-Plus.
You will noticed that there are profiled sections on the rim portion between each spoke. The area where the spokes connect to the rim have also been widened, increasing rigidity, but it still maintains a thin profile. Material has been carved out in between the thicker section of the spokes around the hub area, and the dimples on the inner section – which have always been a CE28 trademark – have been made more evident. In their ongoing battle against knock-off wheels, RAYS now machines all marking on the rims, including the model denomination.
For the remainder of 2023, only 18-inch fitments of the CE28N-Plus will be available for purchase. Next year, 17-inch sizes will join the line up, with 19-inch CE28N-Plus wheels coming in 2025. The wheels will be available in a new glossy bronze or dark metallic silver finish as standard options; the iconic matte bronze finish will not be offered.
RAYS held the CE28N-Plus launch event at Fuji Speedway – and for good reason. After the morning’s formalities, everyone headed over to the Short Course, where some cars were waiting.
Yamano-san, a veteran ex-JGTC driver, brought out the Exedy Alpine A110 he competes in the All Japan Gymkhana Championship with, Trust attended in their GR86 demo car and RAYS had its own RZ34 on site.
The idea was to have two pro drivers – Yamano-san being one of them – take each car out for a few hot laps, and then come back into the pits where a set of CE28N-Plus wheels would be fitted. They’d then head back out on track to see how the far more rigid construction of the new wheel felt.
So, there was a lot of wheel swapping happening.
It was then over to the pros to tell us what they thought.
Yamano-san speaks great English, so I had a little chat with him while we took the new Z for three hard laps. He said the increased rigidity of the wheel does come across in the steering and how the car moves around, allowing the tires to really do the best job they can.
Given the way Yamano-san drives, I bet it’s noticeable. I was amazed by just how hard he threw the automatic Z around Fuji Short; we were literally bouncing from rumble strip to rumble strip, and everything just took the abuse.
Varis had their GR Yaris on display, and I loved the dark green TE37s it was sitting on. The Prova Impreza S was also wearing a Varis kit. YR-Advance brought out their Impreza too.
I never got to go out in the J’s Racing FL5 Honda Civic Type R, but boy did this thing sound good. And here’s why – a twin-exit titanium exhaust.
As soon as the GReddy GR86 was fitted with the new wheels, it looked so much better.
The RZ34 is a car that will definitely benefit from the 19-inch version of these new CEs, but I have to say I quite liked the chunky sidewall on the Michelin Pilot Sport 5s. I had 10 minutes with this car, and was impressed by how progressive the breakaway point was. The sidewalls felt more forgiving, which is a nice change from low-profile tires that we get on new cars these days that make everything so fidgety and overly sharp.
I love the look of the new Volk Racing CE28N-Plus. RAYS have done an awesome job cleaning up the design, making it simpler, upping the performance and even dropping the weight. This is how you revitalize a legendary wheel.
Dino Dalle CarbonareInstagram: [email protected]
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Always wanted a set of 19x10.5 for my 34. So hard to find though. Keen
Why were the additional drilled holes removed?
As Dino wrote, to "clean up" the area..it looks way better now.
Yeah, and a lot of people aren't fans of additional holes that they don't use. Lol!
This is why i'm heading back again and again to the pages of Speedhuners.com - i don't even have a car but i want those wheels!Great article and photos Dino, as usual
As a fan of white cars, Trust/GReddy's livery is starting to become my favourite!
Does Rays make magnesium wheels? Or graphite? Or just forged aluminum?I didn't see anything on their website.-TIA
They used to offer Mag version of TE37, but it has since been out of production some time ago.
TEs are always the best however the CEs shouldn't be overlooked eitherCEs is a great look and it works on almost every car just like the TEs
Plus sizing wheels need correct tire pressure.The APP can calculate it.
An all time favorite wheel.....but to not have Matte Bronze and Silver???
Mannn I wish they would bring back OG bronze. What is the reasoning for not offering it? Leaves me no choice but to go with MF10’s or used CE28N’s at whatever people want to charge.Dino Dalle CarbonareRAYS related stories on Speedhunters