Saturday, June 11, 2016

Ford's Carbon Fiber Wheels Offer Better Handling, Better NVH

Carbon fiber, the exotic (bordering on mythical) material used on high-performance sports cars and racing cars has finally made it to the realm of wheels. That’s right—your next set of spiffy alloy wheels may not be made of aluminum or magnesium, but of carbon fiber. And leading the way is Ford.

Making its debut in the hardcore Shelby GT350R Mustang (where it’s standard equipment), carbon fiber wheels is an available option on the all-new Ford GT as well. Unlike its application in the Shelby GT350R though, the GT is available in matte and glossy clear coated.

Ford supplier Carbon Revolution is responsible for the new wheels and advancements in fiber and resin technology means greater design flexibility including more intricate spokes. In the Ford GT, opting for the carbon fiber wheels save more than two pounds (around 4 kilograms) per corner reducing the inertia by some 25 percent compared to the standard forged aluminum wheels.

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. Each spinning wheel also acts like a gyroscope, so a lighter wheel can improve steering feel and dynamics as it requires less energy to accelerate or turn the wheels, improving vehicle response. Vehicle efficiency is improved as less energy is required to get the wheel spinning.

The dense carbon fiber weave also improves NVH for better refinement and comfort.

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