Alcoa (NYSE:AA) announced today that its Alcoa Auto Wheels business is supplying lightweight forged aluminum wheels for the new and critically acclaimed Ferrari 458 Italia.
The use of forged aluminum wheel technology pioneered by Alcoa ensures that the front wheel weighs just 22.8lbs. (10.3kg), while the rear wheel weighs 25.3lbs. (11.5kg), a significant saving compared to a typical cast aluminum wheel and a result that is only achievable with a forging process.
These weights are all the more remarkable in view of the sizes; wheel diameters are increased to 20 inches to accommodate large carbon-ceramic brake discs, and rim widths of 8.5 inches (front) and 10.5 inches (rear) are required by the latest generation of high performance tires.
Lower wheel mass decreases rotational inertia, meaning forged wheels require less energy to spin up to speed during acceleration. This also helps reduce the gyroscopic effect of high speed rotation, improving steering response and performance. The lightweight wheels also improve grip, traction and braking resulting in better vehicle control and a smoother ride, because Alcoa’s wheels stay in contact with the road better than heavier cast wheels.
“The weight saving possible with Alcoa’s forged aluminum wheels helps to achieve the sharp handling and steering response for which Ferrari is famous,” says Victor Marquez, Vice President and General Manager, Alcoa Auto Wheels.
“As well as styling freedom, Alcoa’s forged wheels offer a quick-to-market, cost-effective weight reduction,” explains Marquez. “We are able to provide new wheel programs rapidly to meet vehicle launch schedules.”
Alcoa is building a growing number of relationships with prestigious OEMs worldwide; its relationship with Ferrari has been built up over several model generations, of which the 458 application is the latest.