Automotive

Carbon fiber wheels give Ford GT better ride, handling and refinement

Carbon fiber wheels give Ford ...
Ford has turned to carbon fiber for improved performance in terms of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH)
Ford has turned to carbon fiber for improved performance in terms of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH)
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Ford has turned to carbon fiber to cut down on unsprung weight
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Ford has turned to carbon fiber to cut down on unsprung weight
The wheels come from Carbon Revolution in Australia
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The wheels come from Carbon Revolution in Australia
Ford will let you have wheels finished in a gloss or matte coating
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Ford will let you have wheels finished in a gloss or matte coating
The gloss coating on the wheels looks fantastic, but there's something subtle and cool about a matte finish
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The gloss coating on the wheels looks fantastic, but there's something subtle and cool about a matte finish
The wheels are rigorously tested before being fitted to a car
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The wheels are rigorously tested before being fitted to a car
Carbon wheels save 2 lb at each corner compared to the aluminum wheels on offer
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Carbon wheels save 2 lb at each corner compared to the aluminum wheels on offer
Wheels are tracked from the moment they're made, and all the data is downloaded the RFID chip
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Wheels are tracked from the moment they're made, and all the data is downloaded the RFID chip
Each wheel has its own RFID tracker embedded
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Each wheel has its own RFID tracker embedded
Ford debuted the carbon wheels on the Shelby GT350R
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Ford debuted the carbon wheels on the Shelby GT350R
The wheels are tested on a rig, the road and track
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The wheels are tested on a rig, the road and track
Ford has turned to carbon fiber for improved performance in terms of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH)
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Ford has turned to carbon fiber for improved performance in terms of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH)

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.

Ford will let you have wheels finished in a gloss or matte coating
Ford will let you have wheels finished in a gloss or matte coating

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.

Source: Ford

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