If you think carbon fiber is cool, then you must think carbon fiber-bodied cars are even cooler. I found a couple of cars at the 2021 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada that used carbon fiber on their carbon fiber, so you can carbon while you fiber. Or something like that.
Carbon fiber really is quite cool, and its introduction to motorsport dates back to 1967 when directional strands of the material were introduced to the fiberglass bodywork of JWA’s Mirage M1 race car, which was based on a Ford GT. Skipping a few steps, carbon fiber found its way onto the Tyrrell F1 cars, and eventually by 1981 the carbon fiber monocoque of John Watson’s McLaren MP4/1 helped save his life when he crashed the car at the Monza Grand Prix.
Today, we’ve been able to buy carbon fiber wings and other parts off the shelf for some years, and at SEMA there were two fully carbon-bodied cars that really stood out to me.
It’s probably easy to determine which party did which parts of the work, but the short of it is that LCE Performance mated the underpinnings of two cars together to build a “true” Quattro before laying their amazing carbon fiber bodywork over that.
Of course, this one also has some extra aero bits as it was built as a tribute to Walter Rohrl’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb car from 1987.
LCE Performance utilized and tuned a 2.5-liter 20-valve inline five with a large KKK turbocharger to produce near 1,000 horsepower, which is delivered to BBS Motorsport wheels through a 6-speed sequential gearbox. Inside, carbon-shelled Recaro buckets keep you in place, and the colorful Rocketbyz theme is continued on these.
The Audi weighs in at 1,100kg (~2,425lb), and custom-spec KW coilovers keep it planted. It’s a wild rendition of an already wild concept by LCE, which was, well… based on a car that was pretty wild to begin with. Thanks for that, Audi.
Oh, and the car is for sale if you think it’d look nice in your garage.Carbon Skyline
Outside of Central Hall, there was another carbon-bodied car that was impossible to ignore.
This monster of an R32 was built by Kazushige Sakamoto of Garage Active in — of course — Japan. This isn’t the first time a full-carbon GT-R from Garage Active has blessed our undeserving eyes here at Speedhunters, and you might remember Mark’s feature on their red carbon-weaved Skyline last year.
Like that car, I love how the consistency of the directional weave is maintained through the separate body panels. This example seems to take things several steps further though, with carbon fiber utilized just about everywhere.
Bodywork: carbon fiber of course. Door jams: carbon fiber. Floors: carbon fiber. Rear seat delete: carbon fiber. Rear shelf: carbon fiber. Recaro Pro Racer RMS seats: you guessed it – carbon fiber. And yet the factory dashboard remains and has been trimmed in black leather with white stitching, as had the console. Plus, the car retains an air-conditioning system, which has been converted to R134a for many more years’ worth of cool driving.
My only complaint was that the car showed 23 kilometers on the odometer instead of 32. A real missed opportunity…
And then you open the hood, where you are greeted by a huge HKS/Garrett turbocharger that feeds an RB26 fitted with the works from HKS to now displace 2.8 liters.
I wasn’t the only one completely floored by this car. As you’ll see, I caught this particular guy moments after he picked his jaw up off the floor and reinserted his eyeballs into their sockets. Hopefully they stay in place now, or he may need to visit a hospital.
I won’t get into the nitty-gritty here, as such a vehicle deserves much more than a few shots at the Toyo Treadpass. But I love how Sakamoto-san and Garage Active have created the ultimate street-spec GT-R with a perfect blend of performance and style.
Oh, and carbon fiber. Did I mention that?