Lamborghini recently inaugurated a research and development center in Seattle, Washington that aims to drive advances in carbon fiber technology. We’ve just learned that one of the projects it’s working on involves bringing carbon-fiber connecting rods to production.
For the uninitiated, a connecting rod is a part found inside the engine that connects a piston to the crankshaft; a V8 consequently has eight connecting rods, while a four-cylinder has four. Carmakers have historically manufactured connecting rods out of steel or aluminum, but Lamborghini believes there’s room for massive improvement.
The company is looking into making connecting rods out of forged composite, a construction technique that forms ultra-strong carbon fiber components quickly using a mixture of heat and pressure. Research shows that building connecting rods out of carbon fiber can reduce their weight by anywhere between 40 and 50 percent. In a V12 engine, the weight loss translates to more power, and faster acceleration.
Lamborghini is confident that it has the know-how to become the first automaker to introduce a series-produced car equipped with carbon fiber connecting rods.
“I hope that in one, one-and-a-half years, we are able to finish development and say this can be a part that can be in the future in the engine. I hope we are able to have something in production soon,” said Maurizio Reggiani, the head of Lamborghini’s research and development department, in an interview with industry trade journal Automotive News.
Reggiani declined to reveal precisely when an engine with carbon fiber connecting rods could go on sale. However, it’s no secret that the successor to the Aventador will benefit from much of the technology that Lamborghini’s Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory (ACSL) is fine-tuning in Seattle, and the engineer hinted that carbon-fiber connecting rods could be part of the package.