Jay Leno's Garage usually focuses on looking at cars new and old, speaking to their owners and then Jay taking a drive to see what he thinks. However, Leno throws his usual shtick to the curb this week to do a full product test of the carbon fiber wheels from a company called Carbon Revolution. If you're not interested in hearing about wheels for 18 minutes, don't worry. They get mounted on a Porsche back-to-back with the standard units, and Leno proves that he doesn't visit the racetrack that often with a spin.
While carbon-fiber wheels aren't exactly a new idea, Carbon Revolution's goal is to create a lightweight, one-piece product that can be mass produced. The company even claims that it already has a deal with an OEM automaker to offer them on a vehicle in a few years. The key to the technology is that it doesn't need an expensive autoclave to be made.

In the meantime, the company's carbon fiber wheels are available as an aftermarket option for about $15,000 a set, according to the video. Although, they weigh in at about 15.5 pounds each and offer OEM-levels of stiffness, so they could cut some unsprung mass off of a performance car. Watch here as Jay and his mechanic Bernard lap Willow Springs and give their feedback about what they think of this cutting-edge technology.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      Avinash Machado
      • 3 Months Ago

      This guy leads a dream life.

      Christopher Chen
      • 3 Months Ago

      15.5 pounds is light but not mind-boggling light.  and for track only wheels, wouldn't magnesium wheels do the trick

        Stuka87
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Christopher Chen

        Magnesium wheels are illegal for most forms of racing.

          athought
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Stuka87

          @Stuka87

          Magnesium being dangerously flammable is a half truth. To burn, it needs very large surface to volume ratio (i.e powder or thin sheets) to burn - something we do in high school chemistry class, but anything solid like wheels will be much, much harder to ignite. That said, the wheels will not be pure magnesium. Rather, it would be Mg alloys that are engineered to lower flammability, increase strength, etc. In fact, there's quite a lot of this material used in street cars to this date. 

          Having said that F1 fire is interesting, since the car had 58 laps worth of fuel left (in a 60 lap race). The fuel tank probably ruptured and caught fire, and the sustained heat from this fire probably ignited the magnesium skin (thin sheets of Mg), resulting in the "worst case scenario". Either way, I suspect the fire from the fuel ignition alone would have done the driver of that car - Mg was the unfortunate collateral damage in the incident. 

          thequebecerinfrance
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Stuka87

          Why, too expensive or not tough enough?

          Stuka87
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Stuka87

          @thequebecerinfrance

          They have a propensity to burn and be very hard to put out. Magnesium was used heavily in the 60's. But after several fatal F1 crashes that resulted in fires that firefighters could not put out, its use was cut way back. F1 wheels can be made from magnesium, but it has to be one of two alloys that they allow.

          Magnesium use over all is pretty strict. It always has to be a specific alloy, and can only be used in certain places.

      PDKid
      • 3 Months Ago

      Can you create reliable center-locking CF wheels that aren't cost-prohibitive? Does anyone know what a set of Agera wheels would cost, standalone?

      Brex
      • 3 Months Ago

      For Jay to comment that he could feel the OEM wheels flexing is simply ludicrous. It appears that he was trying to promote these wheels regardless of whether or not he was able to detect any discernible differences.

        imag
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Brex

        Absolutely.  That was ridiculous.  He has no idea what he is doing driving a car at speed.  Shuffle steering, terrible lines, cluelessness about the wheels... it was a mess.  I know Jay doesn't bill himself as a driver, but that was embarrassing.

        bgruia
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Brex

        It seemed to me that he was struggling to find something by which they could be deemed better than the standard rims. Their explanation that the normal wheels shudder on long skids, whereas the carbon ones stay planted is interesting, but it could simply be the result of grippy clean tires vs dirty ones.

      Muttons
      • 3 Months Ago

      Anyone getting any ASMR from that guy's voice?

      Charles
      • 3 Months Ago

      What kind of durability do they have? How many times can you torque the lug nuts before you have to replace them? How much thicker do they have to be? Will you have to get longer lugs?

      Cubanaso
      • 3 Months Ago

      All that money for 15.5 pounds!?!?! Wow, talk about the absolutely dumbest mod of all time. 


      I put 20 pound 18x8 rims on my '15 WRX for $150 each, Konig. Yeah...no thank you on the CF rims. 

        AP1_S2K
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Cubanaso

        "dumbest", haha. You definitely are not part of the demographic because you'd have to be smart enough to know people would be willing to pay this much.

        Rob Gomes
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Cubanaso

        The rear wheels on a 911 GT3 RS are 19x12 inch -- one and a half times as wide (and a larger diameter) than those 18x8s.  15.5lbs is pretty good when most of your options are in the 22 to 27 pound range.

      bgruia
      • 3 Months Ago

      The biggest news is that you can now fashion carbon structures cheaply. Also, since they mention the lack of an autoclave, the production rate must be a lot higher. This means that we no longer rely on increasingly rare Aluminum, as these tires are basically made out of plastic.

        HollywoodF1
        • 3 Months Ago
        @bgruia

        Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the Earth's crust, comprising about 8% of the crust by weight.  Currently, the most commercially viable form of aluminum ore is bauxite; of which we have discovered many centuries of reserves, even in anticipation of continued increasing demand.  

        Refining aluminum from a natural state is energy-intensive due to its powerful affinity for oxygen.  When recycled aluminum is used, a lot of the work of removing the oxygen has already been done.  This is recycling's prime role in the industrial aluminum cycle-- energy (cost) savings, not the reuse of a depleted resource.

        "Increasingly rare" is not a concern with aluminum.  Indeed, if you're concerned about resource availability when selecting a wheel, we have less carbon on Earth than aluminum.    

      f575gtc
      • 3 Months Ago

      What size wheels are these? I would figure a full C/F wheel could be brought down to 8-12lbs a wheel, There are some non c/f wheels in the 19 inch range that are 14lbs.

        Rob Nance
        • 3 Months Ago
        @f575gtc

        I'm just guessing, but my theory is they want them to pass all the standards, so they are probably designed to be extremely tough, more so than they'd need to be for a race car/track car.

        And is Jay Leno hurting for money?  This feels like a product advertisement all the way.  Watching him and his "pro" mechanic Bernard drive, they are terrible on the track.  Jay keeps saying he felt the wheels flexing, that's nonsense.  I have no doubt that these offer a noticeable improvement and you can feel it, but saying you can feel wheels flexing when you are using tires that inherently flex, is absurd.

        Rob Gomes
        • 3 Months Ago
        @f575gtc

        The rear wheels on a 911 GT3 RS are 19x12 inch.  15.5lbs is pretty good when most of your options are in the 22 to 27 pound range.

        Stuka87
        • 3 Months Ago
        @f575gtc

        The article states that they meet OEM Stiffness requirements. No doubt they could be lighter, but they would then not meet those requirements.

        Nugget
        • 3 Months Ago
        @f575gtc

        OEM sizing for a 997.1 RS is 19x8.5 up front, 19x12 in the rear.

    • Load More Comments