Wheels – for the wealthier among our readership

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If you’re currently not driving around in something very expensive from an Italian car company, you’re probably not going to be too interested in this post (although they do OEM style wheels for a bunch of manufacturers).

American bespoke carbon fiber atelier Vitesse AuDessus launches a line of one-piece, full carbon fiber wheels. Hollow and perfectly balanced, each handcrafted wheel tips the scales at just over 13lbs (6kg) on average.

“In certain cases, our wheels reduce unsprung weight by more than 50%,“ says CEO Stefany Sanchez. “This dramatic reduction translates into increased acceleration, reduced stopping distance, improved steering and handling, improved grip, reduced road noise and vibrations and improved fuel economy.”

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Fabrication

Vitesse AuDessus’s new line of one-piece, full carbon fiber wheels uses prepreg carbon fiber fabric that is hand-laid and autoclave-cured in CNC-milled aluminum moulds, a process shared by Formula 1 race teams and respected Sweden-based supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg.

Vitesse AuDessus employs this same process for the brand’s full range of bespoke carbon fiber exteriors, interiors, components and monocoques which they produce for the world’s most exciting and exclusive automotive machines.

Production Range

Aside from Vitesse AuDessus’s bespoke offering, the company also produces a wide range of OEM-spec, one-piece full carbon fiber wheels for all current Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren, Bugatti, Bentley, Aston Martin, Porsche, Mercedes Benz and BMW models.

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Pricing, warranty and lead time

Retail pricing for OEM wheels starts at $8,875/wheel while bespoke pricing begins at $10,125/wheel. Price factors include design, dimensions and performance requirements. All Vitesse AuDessus’s products come with a 5-year warranty against defect or failure and a replacement guarantee. Typical lead time for the company’s one-piece, full carbon fiber wheels is 3-4 weeks.

Technical Notes

The improvements in performance and handling dynamics netted by reduced unsprung weight is a function of lowered translational and rotational inertia; this translates into less energy required for acceleration/deceleration and keeping the tires in contact with the road.

Vitesse AuDessus’s proprietary fabrication techniques take maximum advantage of carbon fiber’s strength-to-weight and directional properties. Stiffness and tensile strength can be greatly increased in a pinpointed fashion with only minor weight penalties, a feat that is all-together impossible for isotropic materials such as aluminum or steel.

In closing, Sanchez remarks, “Think of your exotic or supercar as a Tom Ford suit or, in my case, a Carolina Herrera Dress. You wouldn’t pair either with a generic, mass-produced shoe or heel made with inferior materials, would you? I think not. And our clients would agree.”

Ducati Diavel Titanium

Sometimes I like bikes too, especially when they’re as pretty as this (and I have yet to see or hear a Ducati that I didn’t like to be honest).

DUCATI DIAVEL Titanium

For 2015 Ducati wanted to take the bold and unique Diavel to a whole new level of prestige and desirability. In addition to inheriting the undisputed dynamic capabilities shared with all the other models in the Diavel family – and, of course, that unmistakeable design – the Diavel Titanium features elements made from the motorcycle industry’s highest-quality materials. The defining feature on this Diavel is titanium, chosen on account of its extraordinary strength and lightness. The broad tank covers (central and side) and headlamp cover are made of titanium, which, in this instance, has been banded and chemically satin-etched to provide unique nuances of colour. On the passenger seat cover, redesigned and widened for this special version, titanium has been combined with carbon fibre.

DUCATI DIAVEL Titanium 2

Carbon fibre has been used to make the redesigned air intakes, now wider and more powerful-looking. The radiator covers, micro windscreen, front and rear mudguards, front sprocket cover and filler cap surround are also made of carbon fibre. The Diavel Titanium’s exhaust pipes stand out on account of their high-grade Zircotech black ceramic coating. The silencers – made of brushed stainless steel – stylishly complete the colour contrast on the exhaust while the rear view mirrors are black and machined from solid aluminium. Exclusivity is enhanced even further by the hand-stitched seat made of Alcantara® embellished with leather inserts, a dedicated plaque, and dark chrome finish on the frame. Completing the version are the extraordinary dedicated machine-finished forged wheels.

DUCATI DIAVEL Titanium 3

Elegant, sophisticated, and always drawing a crowd, the Diavel Titanium is limited to just 500 bikes, with each one given a unique identification number which is inscribed on a special plaque fixed to its tank.

Ford Shelby GT350 R

Shelby GT350R

Ford are definitely showing their sporting intentions for the future this week in Detroit. Not only have they announced the GT Supercar we showed yesterday, but they also announced that there’s a very track focused version of the new Mustang coming out later this year.

Shelby GT350R Rear 2015

The car features the first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft – the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ford has ever produced – plus a specially tuned suspension. It is fitted with revised spring rates and antiroll bars, lower ride height, unique track-tuned alignment settings, revised bushings and jounce bumpers, cross-axis ball joints in the front suspension, and revised calibration controlling the MagneRide dampers.

Shelby GT350R rear 3 4

In the name of weight saving and on-track performance, the Mustang has had the back seats removed (along with the air conditioning, the stereo system, trunk floorboard and carpet, backup camera and emergency tire sealer and inflator). Exhaust resonators also have been removed for weight savings with the benefit of creating a sharper exhaust tone.

Shelby GT350R interior no seats

And the most incredible news – it has carbon fiber wheels! Avoid potholes at all cost – this is pretty incredible given only Koenigsegg is the only other manufacturer that I know who does this (and their cars are a little closer to a million bucks than the Mustang). The 19×11-inch front and 19×11.5-inch rear wheels provide approximately 13 pounds of unsprung weight reduction per wheel and offer higher levels of stiffness than equivalent aluminum wheels. The lightweight wheels will be shod in Michelin’s top-shelf Pilot Sport Cup 2 high-performance tires with rubber compound and a construction unique to Shelby GT350R. This combination of incredibly stiff and light wheels with bespoke tires offers customers exceptional steering feel and levels of performance.

Shelby GT350R Interior

“The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a no-compromise car in the pursuit of maximum track capability,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “It is a thoroughbred street car making use of technology and ingenuity to deliver performance few enthusiasts have ever experienced.”

Ford GT Supercar – The Return

Ford GT Supercar

Given the last version of this iconic Ford performance car has been shooting way above it’s original selling price in second hand markets over the last year or two, this new revision on the classic should prove even more popular.

Ford GT Supercar Rear 2015

Beginning production late next year, the GT hits the road in select global markets to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford GT race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. The all-new GT supercar features rear-wheel drive, a mid-mounted engine, and a sleek, aerodynamic, two-door coupe body shell. It is propelled by the most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever – a next-generation twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 producing more than 600 horsepower.

Ford GT Supercar 3 4

The GT makes extensive use of lightweight materials, including carbon fiber and aluminum – enabling outstanding acceleration and handling with improved efficiency,along with one of the best power-to-weight ratios of any production car.

Ford GT Supercar Interior side

The state-of-the-art chassis is suspended by an active racing-style torsion bar and pushrod suspension, with adjustable ride height. The 20-inch wheels are shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires featuring a unique compound and structure designed specifically for the Ford GT. Multi-spoke wheels encircle carbon-ceramic brake discs at all four corners.

Ford GT Supercar Above blue

The narrow-profile canopy reduces frontal area and caps a purposeful interior that provides state-of-the-art technology to ensure control, comfort and safety. The two-seat cockpit is accessed by upward-swinging doors, and features driver and passenger seats integrated directly into the carbon fiber passenger cell. This configuration significantly reduces seating hardware and weight, and provides a consistent and direct sensory connection to the chassis. The fixed seating is combined with adjustable pedals and steering column to accommodate a very wide range of driver statures.

Ford GT Supercar Interior

An F1-style steering wheel integrates all necessary driver controls, creating a stalkless steering column that allows uncluttered access to the transmission paddle-shift controls. A fully digital and configurable instrument cluster provides a wealth of driver-focused data. The display is configurable for multiple driving environments and different driving modes.

“While we hope enthusiasts rejoice about this all-new GT, all Ford customers will benefit from the ultimate performance Ford and its new-generation innovations,” said Nair.

 

Audi R8 Competition Announced

Audi R8 Competition Audi this week announced plans to release the latest iteration of the R8, specifically focused at the driving enthusiast – the R8 Competition.

282897_34_Heck_IIThe high-performance R8 competition features a 570hp 5.2L V10 mated exclusively to a seven-speed S tronic and a sport exhaust system with black high-gloss tailpipes. This combination results in a 0-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 199 mph, making it the fastest R8 ever offered.

282920_interior“The limited-edition Audi R8 competition is the closest road car to our R8 LMS ultra race car that has won virtually every race around the world,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “It is designed for the driving enthusiast and we’re excited to bring 60 units as a limited-edition to the U.S.”

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Audi R8 Carbon Fibre

There is nothing I do not love about this car. Looks like the perfect Colorado car to me 😎 (via)

In other news, apologies for the lack of posts. The starting of a new company, combined with lots of work related travel have meant little spare time. Seeing a little light at the end of the tunnel, so if it isn’t a train coming towards me, I may be posting a little more frequently in the upcoming weeks.