Carbon fiber is a fantastic and revolutionary material that’s been used in everything from aerospace to Formula 1. It’s strong, lightweight, and usually looks great in its various finishes. These properties have attracted automakers to incorporate carbon fiber on production vehicles, such as Ford, which offers plenty of the stuff in its optional carbon track package for the body of Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, including its wheels.
There are two things that carbon fiber isn’t, though: indestructible or cheap. The aforementioned package costs an eye-watering $18,500 and features four lightweight carbon fiber wheels as its main point of attraction. So when TikToker Matt Pittman saw a brand new GT500 on a service lift at a dealership and heard the car was in for a problem with the wheels, he knew the bill was going to be substantial.
Pittman, who hosts a podcast and posts snippets of life as a service technician at a North Carolina Ford dealership on TikTok, happened to stumble upon this sad sight.
While he doesn’t know exactly how this particular GT500 driver happened to blow apart one of their front carbon fiber wheels, he does know that the car had to have hit something fairly hard in order to flat-out destroy the barrel of the wheel. Commenters on TikTok speculate a pothole or curb, while Pittman keeps it fairly simple, suggesting the car simply underwent a casual yeeting that resulted in the damage.
Whatever may have happened to this particular GT500, it’s a reminder that one of the downsides to being both strong and lightweight is… brittleness. This means that, unlike other aluminum or steel substrates that are used to construct less expensive wheels, carbon fiber doesn’t exactly have much room for flexing.
The process to perfect a carbon part is more laborious and complex than something made of plastic or most mainstream metals, meaning that production cost is quite high. The wheels on the GT500 with the Carbon Fiber Track Package are manufactured by Carbon Revolution, an Australian company that also reportedly worked with General Motors on carbon fiber wheels for the Z06 variant of the C8 Corvette. However, Ford maintains a catalog of parts where potential buyers will need to look in order to procure a set.
A full set of staggered 20-inch wheels include two 11-inch wide front wheels and a pair of 11.5-inch rears. Coincidentally, the front wheels are more expensive, costing a whopping $7,390.57 each from Ford’s parts catalog. And to top it all off, it looks like the brake line to the front caliper also caught some damage, adding insult to injury.
And in case you are wondering, no, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a GT500 cause a bit of carnage to one of its carbon fiber wheels.