Ford GT proves to be a car to beat, being the second Ford Performance vehicle to offer carbon fiber wheels—following the first mass-produced carbon fiber wheel application in the world that launched as standard equipment on the 2015 Shelby® GT350R Mustang.
According to Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director, Ford was the innovator as the first to make available a mass-produced carbon fiber wheel as a standard offering on Shelby GT350R Mustang. He said that now, Ford GT would offer the next generation in carbon fiber wheels, with a cutting-edge resin and fiber technology that provides their designers with more freedom, while also displaying the structure of the material’s weave.
Unlike the Shelby GT350R’s black-painted carbon fiber wheels, Ford GT wheels will be offered in two finishes—either a glossy or a matte clearcoat, enabling the stunning nature of the carbon fiber weave to show through. The finishes suitably match the two exposed carbon finishes available on the fascia, sills and extractor of the new supercar.
Working closely with Ford’s supplier partner Carbon Revolution, the new wheels are constructed with the newest generation of resin and fiber technology that enables greater design flexibility—leading to flowing and more complex spokes.
Compared to conventional aluminum wheels, carbon fiber ones have a number of advantages, including enhanced ride quality and vehicle dynamics as well as weight savings—making the cutting-edge material the right complement for the new Ford GT.
Apart from merely cutting overall vehicle weight for enhanced acceleration, dynamic and braking performance, carbon fiber’s extremely strong and light nature suggests a reduction in rotational inertia and unsprung weight, which benefits dynamic performance, ride quality and suspension action.
The Ford GT comes standard with light, supercar-spec, 10-spoke forged aluminum wheels, sized 8.5 x 20 in./front, and 11.5 x 20 in./rear. The car has optional carbon fiber wheels that are same in size, but are structurally stiffer and save over two pounds of unsprung weight per wheel. As compared to the already featherweight conventional wheels, this weight savings decreases inertia by 25 percent.
A lighter wheel needs the suspension to do less work to control the hardware attached to it, and enhances constant contact with the road surface, enhancing traction and driver control. Every spinning wheel also acts like a gyroscope, so a lighter wheel can enhance steering feel and dynamics as it needs less energy to speed up or turn the wheels, enhancing vehicle response. Hence, vehicle efficiency is enhanced as less energy is needed to get the wheel spinning.
While it is true that metal wheels can act like a bell, the dense, inactive nature of carbon fiber provides for overall enhanced performance when it comes to noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) and a quieter ride, resulting in refinement and greater comfort.
With optional carbon fiber wheels offering benefits in core areas—vehicle dynamics, weight savings, ride quality, and NVH—they are the perfect, advanced complement for the new Ford GT.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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