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Ford Falcon Sprint gets local carbon bits

Sharp intake of air: The locally made carbon-fibre cold air duct fitted to Ford's Falcon XR6 Turbo Sprint is not just for show, and “increases performance feel,” according to the company (XR8 Sprint pictured below).

Australian carbon-fibre specialist Quickstep supplies Ford Falcon XR6 Sprint intake


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16 Feb 2016

FORD'S exclusive Falcon XR6 Turbo Sprint has benefited from cutting-edge Australian manufacturing, with a unique carbon-fibre cold air intake produced by Victorian composite material specialist Quickstep Automotive.

The component was designed by Ford's Australian engineering team in partnership with close affiliate and vehicle developer Premcar and is the result of some of the company's significant $2 billion research and development investment over the past six years.

It is the first time a carbon-fibre induction kit has been factory-fitted to any Ford and the company says the upgrade boosts “performance feel” by increasing throttle response, as well as having greater strength and durability than the plastic version it replaces.

The use of the material has allowed internal cross-sectional area and airflow to be maximised, and its 235g weight saves 203g (46 per cent) over the standard version.

Under-bonnet appearance is also enhanced along with the turbo-branded hosing, matte black airbox and rocker cover, which wears the individually numbered Sprint build plaque.

It is not the first time Ford products have benefited from the expertise of home-grown carbon-fibre know-how, with Geelong-based manufacturer Carbon Revolution supplying the ultralight wheels for the Shelby Mustang GT350R.

That model is not offered for sale in Australia, but the precision and quality of the rims is such that the local outfit beat all other global candidates to the contract.

Ford highlighted the engagement of local specialist parts suppliers as a barometer of Australia's bright automotive industry post-2016 when the car-maker becomes a full-line importer.

“Ford’s engineers, Carbon Revolution and Quickstep Automotive demonstrate there’s a bright future for the auto industry (in) Australia because of our commitment, breadth (of) talent and world-class education system,” said Ford Asia Pacific Product Development Centre director of vehicle programs Dave French.

The sentiments were echoed by Ford Australia CEO Graeme Whickman.

“The Falcon’s legacy will live on well beyond this year through our designers and engineers that will continue to innovate to make Australian’s lives better,” he said.

“The Falcon XR6 Sprint’s new innovative carbon-fibre engine air intake is the latest example of how our local engineers and suppliers will reshape the auto industry well into the future.”

Sourcing the carbon-fibre is the only manufacturing stage that requires any involvement outside Australia, with the pre-impregnated (pre-preg) fabric sheets imported from the United Kingdom.

Four layers of the high-tech material are hand-laid into Quickstep's moulds before vacuum bagging and forming into the Sprint induction tract. The resulting product is not coated or painted, but left in its natural, raw finish.

In July last year, GoAuto reported that the Australian carbon-fibre specialist had signed a contract with a mainstream car-manufacturer to supply an under-bonnet component, which at the time was believed to be Holden.

Ford is Quickstep Automotive's first original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customer, but also supplies high-tech parts to the Australian Defence Forces, including components for the joint strike fighter project.

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