London, February 21: Students at North Carolina State University have unveiled a wooden sports car, which can run faster than a Porsche or a Lamborghini, as part of their graduate project. Joe Harmon, head of the project, has revealed that the car has been named 'Splinter'.
He says that it can produce 700bhp from its twin supercharged, 4.6 litre V8 engine, almost 300bhp more than a Porsche 911 GT3. The car has a top speed of 240mph, he adds. Joe has revealed that the two-seater has been made from a combination of maple, plywood, and MDF. It weighs 1,134kg, 240kg less than the lightweight Porsche.
"Wood has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than aluminium or steel, and it possesses a versatility that makes many types of construction techniques possible. The satisfaction involved in making something from a piece of wood is awesome," the Telegraph quoted Harmon as saying. The Splinter has a roll cage to protect the driver. The vehicle also has a laminated wood veneer chassis and wooden wheel rims.
Its suspension is provided through laminated wooden arms, while osage orange wood has been used to make its springs. Instead of using solid chunks of wood, its makers have made it from moulded laminates.
The Splinter is expected to hit the road later this year at a price to be decided. Harmon believes that one day Formula One star Lewis Hamilton may be seen driving the Splinter.
"An F1 car could definitely be made from wood. Some extremely creative engineering would have to go into it to overcome the strength-to-weight and mouldability benefits of carbon fibre, but it's definitely possible," he said.
"Getting permission to race it would probably be a bigger challenge than engineering it. But it would be fun to try," he added.