Sunday, October 24, 2010
The origins of the Porsche Carrera GT laid on the drawing board in complete abandonment back in 2000 while Porsche shifted its manpower and resources toward the development and production of the Cayenne. The 2006 Carrera GT was slated as a race car and a stand alone prototype made it to the floor of the 2000 Geneva Motor Show.
There were rumors that a member of the Porsche family who held a seat on the board of directors did not want the Carrera GT to hit the track against the newly released Audi R8. Though the company officially cited rule changes in the FIA that enticed them to drop the project, the interest taken at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show that Porsche decided to re-launch the project as a street legal vehicle.
The designers returned to the table with new plans and modifications to create the new 2006 Porsche Carrera GT. Production began on the select few Carrera GTs in 2004. The planned 1,500 cars were reduced to 1,250, 340 of which were sold in the United States.
The Carrera GT began with a powerhouse 5.7 litre V-10 engine riding on 605 horse power. The factory released statistics that claimed she had a 0 to 60 mile per hour time of 3.9 seconds but road tests produced figures closer to 0 to 60 in under 3.5 seconds. The factory claims a top speed of 204 miles per hour and the road tests produced 211 miles per hour. The Carrera GT comes only with a 6 speed manual transmission, one of the few performance cars on the road in the last few years without the optional sequential shift transmission. New ground was broken with the installation of the ceramic composite clutch which is only 6.65 inches in diameter.
Lightweight is the name of the game when it comes to the styling and design of the Carrera GT. Following in the footsteps of the trendsetting 959, Porsche went for the lightest design possible while still maintaining body integrity. At 3043 pounds, the designers accomplished their goal and then powered her accordingly. She runs a beautiful 181.5 inches long and 75.6 inches wide. She stands 45.7 inches high.
Natural Porsche styling enhanced the face with a swept back hood, screaming the potential for speed and power with graceful lines that surpass other Porsches. The elevated wheel arches announce her potential with fanfare and the mid-engine concept is sweetly accentuated by the forward moving cockpit and long running midline between the door and the rear axel. Her overall styling can be described in one word. Sexy. Powerful. Graceful. Pick the word of your choice. It will fit.
Porsche came forth with an innovative design styling with the Carrera GT. By combining the qualities originally designed for the race car version and toning down only what was necessary to produce a production car, The Carrera GT is a hybrid of track performance and road desired features.
The large, functional air dams and side inlets combine form and function as they cool the 5.7 heart nestled under the carbon fiber rear hood. The 15 inch ceramic brake pads beautifully contrast against the 19 inch front tires and the 20 inch rear tires. In typical Porsche fashion, the braking system is equally as top of the line as her acceleration system, outfitted with Porsche's latest racing brake system. The entire drive train was lowered to lower the center of gravity, which of course led to sharper handling and responsiveness. The automated rear wing spoiler engages as needed at higher speeds- meaning 60 to 70 miles per hour- like most Porsche designs.
The chassis and suspension system was tested under the extreme conditions of the 24 hour LeMans, and thus it was carried over from the 911 GT1. The composite carbon-fiber chassis of the Carrera GT is identical to the tough tested 911 GT1. Double wishbone pushrod axels in the front and rear have individual guide sleeves and springs allowing for sensitive response and perfect spring balance regardless of speed. This is a huge improvement over the usual Porsche installed McPherson spring struts. Driver response is additionally enhanced thank to the agile power steering system.
The monocoque chassis were created from a bonded layer of carbon fiber tissue, aluminum, plastic honeycomb materials, and resin. This created lightweight but superiorly strong chassis. The chassis weight in at just above 220 pounds. A high tech stainless steel exhaust system and the addition of a modified intake system created a crisper engine sound, but also boosted output power by 3.76%. The steering wheel enhanced the customized interior with its unique ergonomically shaped precision and the final leather and carbon fiber rim touch. Even the shifter knob was perked up with exposed carbon fiber. No single detail was overlooked in the design and enhancement of the 2006 Carrera GT. Then again, how often can Porsche be accused of overlooking details?
Still locked in the competitive war with Ferrari, the Carrera GT is available for a mere $440,000 while the comparable Ferrari, the Ferrari Enzo, runs about $200,000 more. Canadians will pay closer to $550,000 for the Carrera GT.
The 2006 Carrera GT has become the new legend of super car technology, design, styling, and driver enticing performance. Production was stopped short due to the pressing desire to return resources to the Cayenne, and the simple rarity of this super car adds to its desirability. Porsche has long held the philosophy that when concentrating on the essentials the creation surpasses expectation, and of course the Carrera GT is no exception to this time tested rule.
Despite all of her remarkable design features and super car personality, Porsche prides itself on creating a super car that can be driven on a daily basis. The air conditioning, traction control, the GPS navigation system, an incredible Bose sound system, and a complimentary 5 piece matching leather luggage set were offered as standard equipment. She is performance and pleasure all wrapped up into a package that can't be denied.