On March 5, at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, Automobili Lamborghini introduced the Aventador J, a 515-kW/700-hp two-seater said to be the most expensive Lamborghini ever made. And it makes use of carbon fiber composites in several new and striking applications.
Described as “extreme” and “uncompromising” by Lamborghini president and CEO Stephan Winkelmann, the car is “the most radical open supersports car of Lamborghini’s history.” Based on the series-production 2011 Aventador LP 700-4, Lamborghini’s new twelve-cylinder model, the open-cockpit J is based on a largely new carbon-composite monocoque design that includes safety bars behind the seats. The absence of a roof, windshield and other closed-cabin components drops its dry weight even lower than the LP 700-4’s frugal 1,575 kg/3,472 lb.
Radically new, the J seats are made in two pieces (front and back) of Forged COMPOSITE, which are bonded together. The front section is cobonded with patented Carbonskin, a flexible carbon fiber composite made of woven (2x2 twill) carbon fibers soaked with a special epoxy resin that stabilizes the fiber structure yet keeps the material soft. Developed in-house, Carbonskin reportedly conforms to complex shapes and satisfies Lamborghini aging and wear requirements, says Lamborghini’s advanced composites development center leader, Luciano De Oto. In the J, the seat fronts and all other cockpit surfaces are clad in Carbonskin. Oto was mum about its use in future car models but says it’s likely that there will be other potential applications for the material, such as luggage.
Other composite features include a front-end-dominating carbon fiber air scoop; five-spoke aluminum wheels with carbon composite inserts that function like small fans to optimize brake ventilation; and front and rear bumpers supplemented with carbon fiber fins that act as flow deviators to achieve a significant increase in the vehicle’s downforce at both the front and the rear. Additionally, the car’s engine cover consists of a carbon-fiber framework, with two large openings that lay bare both cylinder banks of the car’s V-12 engine.
Editor PickA tsunami of growth: An inside look at the CSP/Teijin merger
I had the opportunity to meet and interview the top executives of Continental Structural Plastics (CSP, Auburn Hills, MI, US) and Teijin Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) last week. The occasion was an open house and celebration of the acquisition of CSP by Teijin.