Ford decided to share more info on the much anticipated Shelby Mustang GT350R, which apparently is the world’s first mass-produced model with carbon fiber wheels.
The new GT350R has a lot going for it as Ford called it the most track-capable Mustang ever, raising expectations in extremely high levels. The attention to detail in order to deliver the promised results should be extreme, starting with the wheels fitted to the GT350R which are made from the same, light stuff supercars are built upon.
We have already seen carbon-fiber wheels from Koenigsegg and aftermarket companies but this is the first time this exotic accessory reaches mass-production. Thanks to Ford and its Australian supplier Carbon Revolution, the new Shelby Mustang GT350R will be offered with carbon-fiber wheels as standard, reducing dramatically the unsprung weight and the rotational inertia of the wheel itself, further improving the response time to driver’s inputs and having a general positive impact on handling and performance.
The weight of each wheel is effectively cut in half when compared to a traditional aluminum one, as it tips the scales at 18 pounds only (about 8.1kg) against 33 pounds (15kg) for a ‘normal’ wheel.
But this is not where Ford stopped with these wheels. According to the company, the heat generated (more than 900 degrees Celsius) by the powerful brakes of the Mustang GT350R demanded a special ceramic coating, reserved up until now for the aerospace industry and open-wheel racing championships. The ‘ceramic plasma arc spray’ coating is applied around the inner wheel barrel and on the back of the spokes, working as a thermal barrier, allowing continuous track-use. Ford has also applied a special coating to protect the wheel’s resins from UV degradation and road salt.
“The GT350R wheels and tires were developed to be the most track-capable parts we’ve ever produced,” said Adam Wirth, chassis supervisor, Ford Performance. “The carbon fiber wheels reduce vehicle weight by 60 pounds compared to aluminum, yet are stiffer for better steering response. We believe this is a game changer for the industry, a great example of improved performance through innovation.”
Each wheel has its own RFID chip with a unique tracking number embedded to its structure. In order to ensure the best possible quality of the final product, Carbon Revolution performs 61 individual checks and logs more than 246,000 data points before the wheel is released from the machine.
We simply can’t wait for this one!