The Ford GT supercar, which Ford says will be available by late 2016, will be the second vehicle by the automaker to incorporate carbon fiber wheels. Last summer, Ford teamed up with Australian supplier Carbon Revolution to mass produce carbon fiber wheels for the Shelby GT350R Mustang – the first time that had ever been done by a major OEM.
Ford went back to Carbon Revolution for the carbon fiber wheels for the Ford GT. The wheels are what Ford Performance global director Dave Pericak calls “the next generation in carbon fiber wheels, with an advanced resin and fiber technology that gives [Ford] designers more freedom, while also showcasing the structure of the material’s weave.”
Carbon Revolution uses a “proprietary dry fiber manufacturing process that allows full control of fiber placement and material properties. It is also using next-generation carbon fiber materials to continue advancing its leading single-piece carbon fiber wheel technology.” To ensure the quality of each wheel, Carbon Revolution runs computer models that can simulate wheel durability and stiffness.
Ford says the all-new Ford GT supercar will offer the most advanced carbon fiber wheels to date, with improved style and functionality over current lightweight wheels in the industry. In addition to aesthetics, Ford says that the carbon fiber wheels offer a two big advantages over traditional aluminum wheels.
First, the carbon fiber wheels on the Ford GT are the same size as regular supercar wheels, but are structurally stiffer, and save more than two pounds of unsprung weight per wheel. Compared to the already featherweight standard wheels, the weight savings reduces inertia by a notable 25 percent. Secondly, a lighter wheel requires the suspension to do less work to control the hardware attached to it, and improves consistent contact with the road surface, improving traction and driver control. Lighter wheels can improve steering feel and dynamics as it requires less energy to accelerate or turn the wheels.
According to Autoblog, GM may not be far behind, as it is Cadillac’s V-Series models could also be candidates for carbon fiber wheels. Like Ford, GM would also gain carbon fiber support from Carbon Revolution.