We aren't really all about mission statements around here; too often, they are phoney and superfluous. That said, here is ours. We are building a high-performance, mid-engined supercar from wood composites as a graduate project at North Carolina State University. Wood will be used whereever possible, including the chassis, body, and large percentages of the suspension components and wheels. The car has a target weight of 2500lbs and a power goal of over 600 horsepower. We aren't trying to sell anything; we aren't trying to save the world, and we aren't advocating that everyone should drive a wooden car. This project is a scholastic endeavour in which are simply trying to explore materials, learn, teach, share ideas, and stimulate creativity.
Using wood structurally in the wheels began as an experiment. This car ain't no wagon, so we anticipated a lot of development time would be needed to make these hold up to the forces seen in a supercar. We decided to try them when we figured that even if we couldn't make the wood hold up to vicious burnouts and emergency stops from 190mph, we would still have a killer wheel to use in shows. We soon realized that our main problem would not likely be breaking the spokes of the wheel, but rather twisting out the center where the wheel mounts to the spindle. Our calculations tell us that we should be well within the limitations of the wheel, but we suspect there will be some crossed fingers the first time the clutch gets dumped at 5000 rpm.