Gorilla Glass is tough enough for your iPhone screen, but is it tough enough for your windshield? Ford thinks so; it’s using the material in the windshield and engine cover of its upcoming GT supercar. That sounds like as good a test as any.
Ford worked with Gorilla Glass manufacturer Corning to develop a “hybrid” setup that it claims will help improve both fuel economy and handling. The Gorilla Glass windshield is 32 percent lighter than a traditional automotive glass piece, helping to cut some weight. And since that weight comes from relatively high on the body, Ford believes it will help lower the GT’s center of gravity.
The Gorilla Glass pieces are laminated glass, just like in other modern automotive applications. That means each part actually consists of two pieces of glass, held together by a thermoplastic binding agent. For the GT, Ford used Gorilla Glass for the inner layer, and regular annealed glass for the outer layer. Ford says the inner layer is more important for strength. That strength was tested “over stone and rough road conditions,” and with “specific projectile, rollover, and wind tunnel testing,” according to the carmaker. Good to know.
The GT’s Gorilla Glass hybrid windshield is about 25 to 50 percent thinner than other car windshields, Ford says. That’s how the weight savings are achieved. In addition to the windshield and the engine cover, Ford used Gorilla Glass in the bulkhead that separates the passenger compartment from the engine bay.
Unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, the Ford GT pays tribute to the GT40 racer that Ford used to beat Ferrari in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the most legendary rivalries in racing. The new supercar uses a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that can claim a connection both to Ford’s current racing engines, and to possessing 600 horsepower.
And while it may prove the toughness of Gorilla Glass in automotive applications, the GT won’t be a very good indicator of feasibility in volume models. It’s expected to carry a price tag of around $400,000, and production may be limited to just 250 units per year.