News, views & analysis blogs by: Samuel Kiefer


Samuel Kiefer :
BBS cuts up to 20% wheel weight leveraging motorsports technology


Samuel Kiefer :
BBS International announced today that a new forging process enables the company to reduce wheel weight by up to 20 percent. The technology has been pioneered in Formula 1.
A standard forged road wheel with dimensions of 8.75” x 19” normally weighing around 9.2 kg now tips the scales at roughly 7.4 kg. The first application for the after sales market is the BBS FI wheel. FI, or “Forged Individual”, means that the wheel dimensions and strength are optimized for a certain nameplate like the Ferrari 430 or the Porsche 911 and Boxster.
BBS applies the so called “Flow Forging” for FI-wheels on a forged monobloc as an additional refinement in comparison with a cast monobloc. Flow Forging is an upgrade of the Flow Forming process the brand is known for since two decades. The forging impact of spinning tools results in a very fine and directed material structure, thus increasing material properties and stability of the wheel and allowing for considerable weight reduction.
“Tapping our motorsports partnership with Ferrari and Porsche we also grow our share of factory equipped series wheels at these OEMs,” says BBS-CEO Norbert Zumblick. “Our strategy to link motorsports, after market and series standard with a strong brand bracket is beginning to gain momentum.”
The new forging technology is considered as another proof of the claim “Technik aus dem Motorsport” according to the approach of BBS: Develop cutting edge products for the highest demands in motorsports and then make this leading performance available for everydays roads.
Zumblick knows the details: “If you want to reduce weight, start with rotational mass, for example at the wheels. The benefit there is about 1.5 times higher than with static parts. A F1 wheel currently weighing about 3.7 kg we can trim down to about 3.3 kg. Without any compromises regarding strength and durability. Another milestone for us as a longterm F1 supplier. For example we deliver the Ferrari wheels since 1992 - continuously in each single year.”
Ferrari motorsports chief technology officer Aldo Costa adds: "The work we undertake with BBS on the development of lightweight wheels is of great importance. As always, Formula 1 represents an amazing technical field of endeavor and we firmly believe that all the efforts expended in this area will soon have an impact on production components aimed at road cars."
BBS also supplies the teams of Brawn, Force India and Toyota in the current season thus counting more official F1 customers than any other wheel supplier. Claude Surmont, director of BBS marketing and sales motorsport, offers a wrap up: “In the year where we celebrate our 30th anniversary of the first overall victory for BBS wheels in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Peugeot won the 2009 edition of the world most famous endurance race. Again on BBS. Next to the overall victory and all the pole positions in LMP1, we also won the LMP2 (on Porsche), GT1 (on Corvette) and GT2 (on Ferrari) classes with pole positions in these classes, too. Just for the record: BBS wheels were on all the cars that won the most important endurance races this year: 24 Hours of Daytona, 24 Hours of the Nürburgring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Well, it couldn't go better than this.“
BBS further supplies 100 percent of the Porsche Cup Series wheels since 2000 without a break. From 2009 the company sponsors the 25.000 Euro “Rookie of the Year Award” in the Porsche-Mobil1-Supercup series for the most successful newcomer. “By introducing the new forging process with the FI-wheel to the huge scene of Porsche enthusiasts we leverage our commitment to the Cup Series of the biggest sports car builder in the world,“ says Zumblick. “Now Porsche owners can also buy a BBS wheel with motorsports technology for their road car.”

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