The 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R wheels, made of super light carbon fiber wheels, were recognized by Popular Science as one of the greatest innovations in the automotive industry this year.
The Shelby’s wheels weigh 19 lb, 15 lb lighter than regular aluminum wheels, which greatly improves the car’s acceleration, along with better rigidity than aluminum for better handling. They’re also insulated with a ceramic coating similar to what’s used in space shuttles, according to Ford, which helps maintain the integrity of the wheels in high heat.
The reduced weight of the wheels makes for a “60-pound total reduction in unsprung weight, and a 40% drop in rotational inertia,” according to Car and Driver. The wheels are 19 by 11 inches and come standard with Micheline Pilot Spot Cup 2 tires that are made with unique threading.
The Popular Science Best of What’s New Awards review thousands of new technologies from across ten industries and chooses the top ten in each. Kevin Gray, executive editor of Popular Science, said the awards “honor innovations that shape the future.”
In the automotive category, the Shelby’s carbon fiber wheels were joined by innovations from luxury car brands such as Tesla’s autopilot and Audi’s new turbo engine.