Yep, your car needs sunscreen too! Well, only if it has exposed carbon fiber bits. You see, the sun degrades the material that are not protected with paint, so you couldn’t have the cool looks of exposed-weave carbon fiber in your production car. But now GM engineers have come up with a solution, applied on the Corvette ZR1, which is a glossy, UV-resistant clear coat that basically acts like sunscreen. It also shields the components from chips and scratches.
For more details, listen to the brain behind this technology in the video after the jump…
“Everyone said it couldn’t be done, and we were crazy for trying,” said Mark Voss, senior design engineer for the ZR1.
“Our challenge was finding a way to give our customers exposed-weave carbon fiber with the durability they have come to expect from a Corvette,” Voss said. “Other automakers have opted for fake attempts at a carbon-fiber look. With the Corvette ZR1, we wanted to give customers the real deal.”
For a consumer vehicle, exposed-weave carbon fiber, with its honeycombed appearance, offers the fuel efficiency of painted carbon fiber, but has a unique aesthetic. The ZR1 features exposed-weave carbon fiber on the roof panel, roof bow, rocker moldings, front fascia splitter, and the underside of the hood. The ZR1 has carbon fiber floor panels as well, although not in the exposed-weave format. For the Corvette Z06, carbon fiber fenders and floor panels come standard with an optional package that includes splitters, rockers and roof panels.
Voss, a former drag racer, confirmed car nut, and incessant tinkerer says his passion for all things automotive fuels his imagination. “When I’m not at work with my Chevrolet colleagues developing new technologies, I’m at home working on one of my cars in the pole barn,” he said.