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Motorsports vs "Street Car" Carbon Body Panels

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  • Motorsports vs "Street Car" Carbon Body Panels

    Vorshlag sells carbon fiber body panels and wing elements from a number of companies, and these are primarily made in two different ways for two different uses: dry carbon for Motorsport use and a glossy coated carbon or carbon/fiberglass "hybrid" composite for street use.

    Before you decide to purchase a carbon fiber body part you need to decide what your goals are. Is it to find every ounce of weight reduction for your dedicated race car? Or to change the look of your street car? Maybe even a little bit of both?

    There are a variety of carbon fiber suppliers that can meet some or all of these needs, but not all carbon is created equally. Likewise this material isn't magic and it can have limitations - the sun's UV rays and even rain can damage it, if you do not protect the finish.

    For a pure race-only part you want to go with a "dry carbon" Motorsports grade part. Shops like RHR Performance (aka: AJ Hartman) and Anderson Composites make those types of pieces, as well as a number of other boutique race carbon shops.

    Dry carbon parts need to be wrapped or painted to protect the epoxy coat and don't really belong on street driven or dual purpose cars. We state as much when we sell these motorsports carbon parts.

    For a better looking street car part that you might leave in "bare carbon" you will want a UV protective coating or gel coat on the outer layers. This glossy layer protects the carbon from sun or rain damage, adds a little weight, but makes this style much more appropriate for street use without paint or wraps. Often these parts can have fiberglass inner layers, which brings cost down but can add some weight. This "hybrid" style isn't always stated clearly, but it is common to see, and is a known trade-off for cost. When we sell Hybrid carbon/fiberglass parts like this we always state if it isn't a 100% carbon part in our online product entries.

    Both types of carbon fiber panels usually require a decent bit of fitting, trimming, and adjustment to fit the surrounding bodywork on your car. Be prepared to pay a professional to do the installation, unless you are familiar with this type of work, have the right tools, and lots of time on your hands.

    Normally it is abundantly clear what type you are buying - glossy gel coats and lower costs usually mean the Hybrid "street car" carbon fiber. These can usually be left bare and not get water spots or separation of the carbon weave from the epoxy outer coat. Motorsports grade almost never comes with a gel coat and needs to be wrapped or painted. Just want to make people aware before they get the wrong part or mis-use their carbon parts.

    Vorshlag doesn't make any composites in-house and we likely never will. That's a completely different business model than what we have, but we do sell a number of carbon fiber items. Unlike a lot of shops that will just "resell anything" we are very picky. We will always use a carbon part at our shop first, often on one of our own race car builds. This way we can inspect it, weigh it, show how well it fits, and share the installation tricks before we offer it for sale on our website.

    Parts proven on our own race cars are the ones we love to sell the most. Since we test so much we can often show customers how much faster the parts can make them. First hand knowledge gives us the confidence to stand behind parts we sell, and the technical know-how to support customer installations from afar. That's just how we do with everything we sell here at Vorshlag.

    Thanks for reading,
    Last edited by Fair!; 02-19-2018, 07:04 PM.
    Terry Fair -
    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev