Ford Uses Space Tech To Build Mustang GT350R’s Carbon Wheels

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!


  • Poorly Maintained Roads

    As anyone with an expensive CF framed road bicycle can attest to, the material cracks. Good for weight saving considerations, not so much for durability over its lifespan. Perhaps the agenda here is continuous financial investment?

    • europeon

      Yup, Ford made a commitment to bring CF to the masses a few years ago. They already have a lab researching CF composites and CFRP for the mass produced cars.

    • Ken Lyns

      It’s OK, aluminum cracks too. It’ll be interesting to see how the carbon wheels survive the tire change mechanics at your average Ford dealer.

  • Ken Lyns

    Ford firsts: first carbon wheels on a mass-produced car, first paddle shifters on a pickup truck…

  • SteersUright

    The 3″ infotainment screen is an absolute joke on a $50k+ car that will spend 80% of its life on the street. The wheels may be light and techy, but they sure could be better looking. Aside from that, LOVE this car and can’t wait to read reviews.