FORD RELEASES DETAILS ON WORLD'S FIRST MASS-PRODUCED CARBON FIBER WHEELS FOR SHELBY GT350R MUSTANG
by Staff Report
With a little help from Space Shuttle technology, Ford helped reinvent the wheel. Ford Shelby® GT350R is the most track-capable Mustang ever and the first vehicle from a major automaker to offer carbon fiber wheels as standard equipment.
For the all-new Shelby®GT350R, the most track-ready road-going production Mustang ever, Ford dreamed of using the ultimate high-performance material for its unique wheels – carbon fiber.
But while the automotive aftermarket and a low-volume supercar manufacturer have offered carbon fiber wheels, Ford and Australian supplier Carbon Revolution took on the challenge of crafting the first mass-produced, track-capable carbon fiber wheels as standard equipment for Shelby GT350R.
Designed, developed and tested with the highest of quality standards in mind, these first-of-a-kind wheels deliver unprecedented chassis performance, massive weight savings and improved driving dynamics.
In early testing with benchmark vehicles, prototype wheels showed significant potential – improving suspension response times, chassis dynamics, steering feel and ride quality. When the decision was made to pursue this technology for use in a production vehicle, the engineering team was challenged to develop a wheel that met Ford’s strict standards for durability, quality, craftsmanship and premium finish.
Why carbon fiber? Among sports car enthusiasts, carbon fiber wheels are on the short list of dream components for high-performance vehicles. In the rarefied world of supercars only Koenigsegg has offered optional carbon fiber wheels.
Lowering overall curb weight in general is beneficial to a car’s dynamics, but a reduction in unsprung weight (those components not supported by the suspension) can have a significant impact on handling and performance. Less unsprung weight helps vehicles start, stop and turn faster by reducing wheel rotational inertia, dramatically improving response time to driver input. Lower unsprung weight also translates to suspension components not having to work so hard to keep the tires in contact with the road over undulating or broken surfaces.