Ford’s Shelby Mustang GT350R will feature home-grown technology, and a new export for a Geelong-based company, in its new lightweight wheels, along with technology borrowed from the Space Shuttle program.
Geelong-based Carbon Revolution has been entrusted with the job of providing the wheels for the new Shelby street machine, through what Ford says is a world-first, mass-produced carbon-fibre wheel program.
The wheels will be made in Australia before being shipped to the US for fitment to the GT350R, and will add to the Shelby’s list of performance credentials in no small way.
Ford says the wheels weigh roughly half that of an alloy wheel; dramatically reducing unsprung weight and improving steering response.
The carbon-fibre wheels also reduce rolling resistance through inertia to ensure optimum braking and acceleration times.
So where does the Space Shuttle come in?
Carbon Revolution uses the same ‘ceramic plasma arc spray’ coating as the Space Shuttle to ensure the wheels can withstand the rigours of holding up, moving and stopping the big Shelby, with brake temperatures hitting around 900 degrees Celsius under extreme driving conditions.
Meanwhile, the wheels wear a protective coating on the front to maintain their look and resist degradation from road debris and UV rays.
“The GT350R wheels and tyres were developed to be the most track-capable parts we’ve ever produced,” Ford Performance’s Adam Wirth said.
“The carbon-fibre wheels reduce vehicle weight compared to aluminium, 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.”
As for the rest of the Shelby Mustang GT350R, Ford declares it to be “the most track-ready road-going Mustang ever”.
Australia is unlikely to see the GT350R in local showrooms, but local buyers can instead sign up for the ‘regular’ Mustang ahead of its arrival later this year.
In fact, Ford says around 2000 eager customers in Australia have already placed their orders.
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