Carbon fiber technology has come a long, long way since first utilized in the automotive and racing worlds. Once intended for creating lighter weight bodies and body panels and for shaping the high-tech aerodynamic elements of race cars, it was rare to find it used in true load-bearing situations. But that’s all changed these days, and not only is carbon fiber durable enough for the job at hand, but it’s also been brought to a price point that the consumer can afford.
Forgeline Motorsports has made quite a splash this week at SEMA with the launch of its new Carbon + Forged wheel line, a two-piece carbon fiber and forged aluminum center wheel that’s just as lightweight as you’d expect it to be. As Forgeline’s David Schardt tells us, the company teamed up with Emergent Carbon Wheels to produce the exciting new lineup. The super-lightweight carbon barrels feature a high-density carbon fiber bundle, a high-clarity resin, and a very large weave pattern that’s durable, lightweight, and (of course) has world-class looks.
The result of Forgeline and Emergent’s partnership is a rim shell that’s 42 percent lighter (or six pounds, according to Schardt) than an aluminum equivalent, and that weight savings comes in the perimeter of the wheel where it’s most needed to reduce rotating inertia. This leads to improvements in acceleration, braking, cornering traction, ride quality, fuel economy, comfort, and NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness).
Forgeline exceeded all SAE and TUV testing for fatigue strength, impact/damage resistance, deflection, and stiffness, and Schardt shares that the team took a prototype set to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and “beat the heck out of them,” passing with flying colors when all was said and done.
The first wheel in the Carbon + Forged line will be a racing-inspired CF201 with a five-spoke design and I-beam machining detail. These will come in 20 or 21-inch diameters and 9, 10, 11, and 12-inch widths for modern sports and luxury vehicles. Forgeline will be adding 18 and 19-inch versions in the near future, along with a host of new wheel center designs and color schemes.