Chevrolet Engineers Auto Sunscreen for the ZR1

Automakers the world over have been using composite materials such as carbon fiber on their race cars for quite some time. The material is five times lighter than normal steel and yet twice as strong. Until now, mass produced vehicles could not feature exposed carbon panels, due to the way they degrade thanks to the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. With no other choice, automakers just chose to paint them, leaving the naked weave of the carbon material as a very sought after aesthetic – especially on cool fast cars, needing that race-bred look.

Mark Voss, senior design engineer of the Corvette ZR1, explains: “Everyone said it couldn’t be done, and we were crazy for trying.”

Undaunted, Voss and his team toiled away for three years to develop a high gloss, UV-resistant clear coat that now allows exposed carbon fiber panels on the body of the ZR1. The high-tech coating also protects the components from stone chips and scratches. No cheap carbon look rubbish for the ZR1 then. Instead the roof panel, roof bow, rocker moldings, front fascia splitter, and the underside of the hood will all get new panels that will feature the exposed-weave carbon fiber. The ZR1 has carbon fiber floor panels as well, although not in the exposed-weave format.

Hit the jump for the full story as well as a video that explains the new technology.

For the Corvette Z06, carbon fiber fenders and floor panels come standard with an optional package that includes splitters, rockers, and roof panels. This should no doubt transform the way manufacturers look at carbon fiber in terms of options for aesthetic and functional bodywork. It also makes you wonder how BMW, for example, have been using exposed carbon on the roofs of the M3 and M6 for so long. Hmmm...

Pushing all of that aside, we love this new technology and we are excited to see what it will bring!

Source: GM USA

What do you think?
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9 comments:

  (473) posted on 06.28.2011

Well, I haven’t seem a heavy version for the ZR1. It seems that they are successful in using a lighter materials to increase the speed of the car.

  (559) posted on 06.28.2011

hmm. Why don’t they used a lighter carbon fiber material? Carbon was used for the chassis to prevent adding weight on the car.

  (528) posted on 03.1.2011

I love the black with wet paint looking for the Corvette. it looks more sporty and aggressive with that kind of color. I guess his insurance policy had a nature cause insurance.

  (337) posted on 03.1.2011

I know it isn’t as easy as it sounds but why not have a production schedule according to demand? this is no a piece of junk on the junk shop.

  (206) posted on 10.30.2010

Actually the fastest recorded Spec-V time is 7:34.

Uncia  (868) posted on 10.29.2010

The GT-R V-spec ran a 7:25.

Uncia  (206) posted on 10.29.2010

This is late for news. We knew GM came out with this when the ZR1 was first released.

Yep, GM, a company that never uses carbon fiber invented the sunscreen for it. Not any of the European sportscar brands: Porsche, BMW, Ferrari, Audi, Lamborghini, etc.
American engineering is #1.

Uncia  (206) posted on 10.29.2010

Hahaha at below. The ZR1 kills them both. The fastest GT-R V-spec time is 7:34. The fastest ZR1 time is 7:26 and an unofficial 7:22.6.

Sorry buddy, those <7:30 GT-R times were false. Didn’t know people were still fooled by their bull .

Uncia  (387) posted on 10.29.2010

The ZR1 is currently nowhere near beating the base GTR’s time, let alone the V-Spec. The V-Spec will absolutely destroy the ZR1.

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