Carbon Fiber Wheels Will Make the Shelby GT350R Mustang Light on Its Hooves
An aluminum body is a great way to cut vehicle weight, but it’s not the only way. Wheels carry quite a few pounds in them. That’s why Ford went with carbon fiber for the standard one-piece wheels on its upcoming Shelby GT350R Mustang.
The first mass-produced race-ready carbon fiber wheels the Blue Oval developed with supplier Carbon Revolution will weigh 18 pounds each; an equivalent aluminum wheel would tip the scales at 33 pounds. Those savings in unsprung (unsupported by the suspension) weight will convert into faster responses to a driver’s throttle, brake, and steering inputs. The suspension will also have less of a load to handle when battling rough pavement to keep the tires in contact with the road.
At the track, the GT350R’s brakes will have to survive a great amount of heat – over 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Ford’s testing. So will its wheels, which are covered with what Ford calls a “robust, high-gloss black finish.” Carbon Revolution came up with a ceramic coating for the inside of the car’s carbon fiber rollers that will shield the resin over the weave from extreme temperatures. The wheels are also treated to resist UV rays, salts, and road chemicals.
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