Lamborghini is hard at work finding new ways to make its cars lighter as much if not more than any other automaker. Most of that research centers around carbon fiber. Thing is, the stuff is really expensive to make. But on the plus side, although motorsport was the driving force behind the material's development in the first place, the auto industry is far from the only one working with it these days.
While experimenting with the material at the University of Washington, Lamborghini met up with another interested party: Callaway Golf. Since their interests overlap but don't compete one with another, the two recently announced a strategic partnership to develop a more versatile, cost-effective form of carbon fiber.
The result is called Forged Composite. Whereas conventional carbon fiber is layered down in sheets and bonded together, Forged Composite comes mixed together in a paste of fibers and epoxy that can be squeezed into any shape desired. The application makes it far easier to form complex shapes, and since the fibers come out oriented randomly, the resulting form is apparently stronger in every which direction, instead of fixed ones like in conventional layered sheet carbon.
Lamborghini demonstrated what it has in mind for Forged Composite with the Sesto Elemento concept currently on display at the Paris Motor Show. The concept's monocoque and suspension arms are made from the stuff. For Callaway's part, they're planning on using Forged Composite for a new generation of golf club heads, allowing for lighter weight, a longer shaft and a drives an estimated at eight yards longer than with existing clubs. Callaway Golf plans on phasing out titanium drivers – currently the market dominator – in favor of the new Forged Composite ones within a year. There's no word yet on when we'll see the debut of Forged Composite on a production Lamborghini, but we're guessing it won't be long.
AUTOMOBILI LAMBORGHINI AND CALLAWAY GOLF FORM STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP
Alliance Links R&D Teams of Legendary Italian Automaker and Foremost Golf Equipment Manufacturer, Forged Composite™ Introduced as Partnership's First Collaborative and Groundbreaking Material.
Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. and Callaway Golf Company (NYSE: ELY) have signed an agreement to connect the resources of their world-renowned Research and Development teams. This unique alliance establishes an ongoing collaboration to develop innovative technologies and materials designed to enhance the performance of each company's products. The partnership, as well as the introduction of a new, co-developed material called Forged Composite™, was officially celebrated today at the 2010 Paris Motor Show by Automobili Lamborghini President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann and George Fellows, President and CEO, Callaway Golf.
Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, said: "We see power-to-weight ratio and weight reduction as the keys for future super sports cars and carbon fiber as the material to achieve these goals. Callaway's expertise in specific technologies is strategic for our research projects and therefore we welcome this partnership as a further, important milestone in our over 30 years long history of carbon fiber applications."
"This partnership joins two of the world's most respected brands," said George Fellows, President and CEO, Callaway Golf. "Both Callaway and Lamborghini feature rich histories of challenging convention and employing technological innovation to create breakthrough products. This shared dedication has brought our companies together, and will continue to set us apart from our competition."
Formation of Partnership
The origins of this now formalized relationship date back several years. Through the constant pursuit of lighter and stronger materials that improve the performance of their products, the Lamborghini and Callaway Research and Development teams cultivated similar areas of expertise. A major point of convergence surrounded the development of advanced composite structures. These highly developed materials, comprised of microscopic carbon fibers, feature superior strength and performance characteristics in comparison to the metal alloys that are generally used throughout the automotive and golf industries.
For Lamborghini, the lighter and stronger composite materials enabled their designers to create important components for their technological demonstrator, "Sesto Elemento", featuring an unforeseen power-to-weight ratio and acceleration capability. For Callaway, employing carbon composites in place of steel and titanium offered their engineers the ability to design increasingly advanced clubheads with a greater transfer of power upon impact with the ball and more accurate trajectories.
While carbon-based materials have been featured in Lamborghini and Callaway products for several years, making its debut at the 2010 Paris Motor Show is a groundbreaking new material called Forged Composite™. Developed in conjunction with both Research and Development teams, Forged Composite™ is the first collaborative element of the Callaway and Lamborghini alliance.
About Forged Composite™
Forged Composite™ is the lightest, strongest, most precise material ever used by either Lamborghini or Callaway. Encompassing more than 500,000 intertwined turbostratic fibers per square inch, this revolutionary material features an incredibly high threshold for withstanding the extreme forces encountered by Lamborghini and Callaway products. Forged Composite™ is one-third the density of titanium, yet features a greater load carrying capacity per unit mass in bending. The implementation of a new, proprietary isothermal forging process enables Callaway and Lamborghini engineers to incorporate Forged Composite™ into their designs with a level of precision that was previously unachievable.
"Forged Composite™ provides us with the ability to engineer performance enhancements like never before, and we've only just begun to tap the potential of this material", said Dr. Alan Hocknell, Sr. Vice President, Research and Development, Callaway Golf. "We're looking forward to collaborating on future applications that push our designs beyond any preconceptions."
"The introduction of the Forged Composite™ technology allowed Lamborghini to realize the monocoque and the suspension arms of the Sesto Elemento with groundbreaking quality and costs levels" said Maurizio Reggiani, Director Research and Development of Automobili Lamborghini. "Our next challenge is to make this technology a standard for low volume productions."
Lamborghini unveiled its first design featuring Forged Composite™ with the Sesto Elemento technology demonstrator making its debut at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. Callaway will introduce a line of premium golf equipment featuring this groundbreaking material in the coming weeks and throughout 2011.
About Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.
Founded in 1963, Automobili Lamborghini is headquartered in Sant'Agata Bolognese, in Northeastern Italy. There it manufactures some of the world's most sought-after super sports cars. With almost 125 dealerships worldwide, Automobili Lamborghini is building on a succession of dynamic and elegant super sports cars including the Miura, Islero, Urraco, 350GT, Espada, Countach, Diablo, Murciélago LP 640, Murciélago LP 640 Roadster, Gallardo SE, Reventón Coupe, Reventón Roadster, Gallardo LP 560-4 Coupé and Spyder, Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce, as well as the Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni. With this year's presentation of the best-in-class Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera at the Geneva Auto Salon and the unveiling of the ultra-light Sesto Elemento at the Paris Motor Show, Lamborghini has again displayed its clear leadership in the field of carbon fiber technology. Here, Lamborghini is building on a thirty-year history – in 1983, Lamborghini used carbon fiber reinforced plastics to build the famous Countach. As a 100 percent subsidiary of AUDI AG, the Italian super sports car manufacturer further benefits from the lightweight construction competence of its parent company.
About Callaway Golf
Through an unwavering commitment to innovation, Callaway Golf Company (NYSE:ELY) creates products and services designed to make every golfer a better golfer. Callaway Golf Company manufactures and sells golf clubs and golf balls, and sells golf apparel, footwear and accessories, under the Callaway Golf®, Odyssey®, Top-Flite®, and Ben Hogan® brands in more than 110 countries worldwide.