Carbon fiber wheels give Ford GT better ride, handling and refinement
The new GT is shaping up as one of the most exciting supercars of the modern era, so it's no surprise Ford has gone all out to make sure every little piece of the puzzle is up to scratch. Having debuted the technology on the Shelby GT350R Mustang, the engineers behind the GT have chased lower unsprung weight with carbon fiber wheels from Carbon Revolution.
Ford will sell you a GT with aluminum wheels as standard, but owners determined to fit out their supercar in the lightest possible specification will tick the box for carbon fiber wheels. Measuring 8.5 x 20 in at the front and 11.5 x 20 in at the rear, the carbon wheels save 2 lbs (0.9 kg) of unsprung weight at each corner.
By cutting down on unsprung weight, carbon fiber wheels allow the suspension to respond to road imperfections more quickly, as well as reducing rotational inertia. On the GT350R that reduction comes to more than 40 percent, while on the GT it's 25 percent.
Very few supercar owners are likely to worry about overall fuel economy figures, but Ford even claims the lighter wheels improve your fuel efficiency by reducing the amount of energy needed to turn them. Because it's dense and inert, carbon fiber can also help stop unwanted noise and vibrations reaching the driver, making for a smoother and quieter ride.
Just as alloy wheels are stiffer than steelies, carbon wheels are up to 13 times stronger than their aluminum counterparts. Even so, Carbon Revolution goes to great lengths to make sure its wheels are able to handle poorly surfaced roads or clumsy drivers who can't stay away from curbs.
Having proven the 20-inch wheels' strength on a bi-axial testing rig, the Australian company hands them over to Ford's testing team, which puts them through a rigorous durability test involving enough hot laps to match a "customer-correlated life of track days."
Each finished wheel must pass 181 quality checks, which are measured across 2,000 data points. All the information gathered is then stored on an RFID chip designed to log how the wheel has been maintained over the course of its development and, eventually, life as a customer car.
Will owners ever notice the difference? We hope that all 450 GTs are driven often enough for buyers to enjoy the benefits, but these limited-run supercars often find themselves buried in a car-collector's shed.
If that's the case, the lucky collector will still be able to enjoy the exposed weave of the carbon fiber as the wheels sit stationary, but they'll be missing out on something much bigger.