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Hottest Ford Mustang wears Aussie wheels

Carbon Down Under: Geelong-based manufacturer Carbon Revolution is the only company in the world mass-producing carbon-fibre wheels, and is providing the wheels for Ford’s fastest Mustang to date.

Australian firm Carbon Revolution supplies wheels for Ford Mustang GT350R


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14 Jul 2015

ONE of America’s most iconic and celebrated cars will roll on Australian-made state-of-the-art carbon-fibre wheels, with Ford Motor Company confirming last week that Victorian-based Carbon Revolution would be the wheel supplier for its manic Shelby Mustang GT350R.

The announcement confirms previous reports by GoAuto that the local manufacturer was working with Ford after the track-focused Mustang was revealed at the Detroit motor show in January this year, wearing wheels similar to other CR models.

The Geelong-based company has been offering aftermarket ultra-light wheels since it scaled up production with a new factory last year, but the Ford contract is the first of its kind to supply a mass-produced carbon-fibre wheel.

Carbon Revolution worked closely with the United States car giant to develop a wheel that would deliver the performance required to match the most potent Mustang to date, with each rim weighing half as much as a metal equivalent.

With wheels that weigh just 8kg each, overall braking, acceleration and handling characteristics are improved thanks to a reduction in gross vehicle and unsprung weight.

The team of Ford Performance engineers found such a significant reduction in inertial forces and rotating mass that extensive suspension retuning was required for the GT350R, compared with the closely related GT350 which has alloy wheels.

To meet Ford’s strict quality standards, the wheels were subjected to gruelling tests such as extreme heat, ultraviolet light and chemical exposure, as well as a punishing kerb impact test.

With very low wheel inertia and Ford’s fast-responding Magneride suspension, the set-up passed with flying colours, so much so that the Ford engineer insisted on repeating the test to make sure it had been correctly executed.

Carbon Revolution also applied some aerospace technology and the same heat-resistant coating applied to jet engine turbine blades is also used with the Mustang’s wheels to protect the structural material from intense brake temperatures of more than 900 degrees.

The coating is applied with a plasma-arc gun, which liquefies several ceramic materials and sprays them on to critical areas of the wheel, before solidifying into a “diamond hard” layer.

Before fitting to the raw circuit-focused Mustang, each wheel is carefully examined with 61 individual checks and 16,000 X-ray images, and each wheel is logged using an RFID chip embedded in its structure.

Rather than leave the fibre weave structure visible, Ford decided to hide the construction under a second gloss-black coating, which adds another barrier against environmental degradation and a “flawless” finish.

The CR and Ford collaboration news comes as fellow carbon-fibre specialist Quickstep, which is based in the same precinct as Carbon Revolution, announced it had won its first major contract to supply special engine-bay parts for an unnamed new vehicle.

Quickstep could not confirm the brand or model involved, but GoAuto understands the car is likely to be a low-volume special edition of the Holden Commodore.

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