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Ford GT supercar to use carbon fibre wheels from Australia

It’s not quite like selling ice to eskimos, but it’s close. A little known company in Australia has taken on the global car industry with the most advanced wheels in the world.

A Geelong start-up company has won a multi-million dollar contract to export lightweight wheels for the fastest and most expensive Ford supercar ever made. 

Detroit executives confirmed overnight the $500,000 Ferrari-fighting Ford GT will be fitted with wheels made in Geelong with world-first technology.

Carbon Revolution is one of 63 companies that will continue to supply parts to Ford after the Broadmeadows and Geelong factories close in October 2016.

Last year the company -- which started in an old shearing shed but now has a production and research facility on the Deakin University campus -- won a contract to supply wheels for a limited edition Ford Mustang.

The only bad news for local rev heads is they will only get to see the wheels in photos or shipping containers.

Following that success, it has now been given responsibility to supply wheels for Ford’s most expensive car of all time.

The wheel technology was previously used in Formula One motor racing and this is its first application on road cars.

“No-one has been able to do what we’ve been able to do,” the chief executive officer of Carbon Revolution, Jake Dingle, told News Corp Australia in October 2015. “Even the aerospace industry couldn’t figure out a way to do it.”

Ford heard about the start-up company by chance three years ago, and then began torture testing the wheels, including hitting pot holes at 100km/h to see if they would shatter.

“A lot of people think they’re going to turn to dust when they hit a pot hole, but these wheels are stronger than alloy wheels,” said Jamal Hameedi, the global head of Ford Performance, at the opening of the Geelong facility last year.

“This shows Ford is prepared to go to the ends of the earth to get an advantage over our competitors,” he said.

Carbon Revolution has doubled the number of employees from 50 to 100 since signing the Ford deal.

The only bad news for local rev heads is they will only get to see the wheels in photos or shipping containers.

Both the special edition Mustang and the GT supercar will not be sold in Australia as the cars are made only in left-hand-drive.

Even then it will be slim pickings; Ford has reportedly taken 6500 orders for the new generation GT, but only 500 will be made, making it more exclusive than a Ferrari.

The Ford GT has other local input: it was styled by a team led by Ford Australia designer Todd Willing.

Willing, who was born and bred in Hobart, Tasmania, but studied industrial design at Monash University in Melbourne, had previously worked on the Ford Territory family SUV.

He was posted to Detroit three years ago to work on the secret supercar project.

Willing has since returned to the Broadmeadows design studios, which will remain operational for foreign Ford markets once the local car assembly line closes.

Why is the Ford GT such a big deal?

The original Ford GT40 won the LeMans 24-hour race four consecutive times from 1966 to 1969 after a bitter battle with Ferrari, which had won the previous six years in a row.

The 1966 event was the first European race victory by an American car manufacturer since 1921; Henry Ford himself was there to witness the momentous win.

Ford built a modern version of the GT between 2004 and 2006 but it was axed earlier than planned because only 4000 of the 4500 it forecast had actually sold.

In a controversial move Ford has fitted a twin-turbo V6 rather than a V8 to the new model, but the company says it makes more power (600 horsepower) than its predecessor without burning as much fuel.

The new Ford GT is due to go on sale next year, but only 500 customers globally are likely to own one.

How do you think this Ford GT wil fare against the European supercars? Tell us what you think in the comments below.