How they’re made
WHAT A YARN
Porsche uses carbon-fibre braiding which involves fibres taken from multiple yarns on a radial wheel that are then intermingled in a prescribed pattern over a mandrel. For Porsche, this forms the wheel drum, which is mated to a wheel centre assembly made of pre-cut carbon-fibre fabric.
The preform wheel is then pumped with resin and baked at high temperature. Once cool, a lacquer is applied for finish and heat resistance. The end result are wheels 20 per cent lighter and stiffer. Don’t forget, these are 20-inch tall wheels, 11 inches wide. On-limit handling improves as stiffer wheels resist camber deflection under high loads.
NOT THE ONLY ONE
Braided wheels boast excellent rigidity and durability thanks to a more consistent production process. For comparison, Koenigsegg’s and Ford’s GT350R wheel are 40 per cent lighter, however, it’s unknown how much stiffer they are than a regular aluminium wheel. The Swedish hypercar maker uses a pre-preg method while Ford’s supplier remains tight-lipped about its patented process.
LESS IS MORE
Porsche might be telling porkies about its braider wheel being the largest in the world, however, such complex technology does ask for huge investment – the wheels are a circa-$20K option. The upside is braiders can adjust yarn numbers, angles, speed, tension, and fibre type to meet a wider range of requirements and purposes. It’s also a lot more efficient, needing only 18km of fibre compared to the 25,484km needed for Ford’s wheels (which are made in Geelong, Victoria, incidentally).