Porsche Carrera GT

The Carrera GT is the most unusual car Porsche has ever produced, as well as the fastest and most expensive. Its debut at the Geneva Motor Show of 2003 caused a flurry of excitement. This was a supercar that looked as though it was meant for the track, not the road – and that was indeed more or less the case.

Porsche’s engineers had been working on designing a V10 engine intended as a protoype for a new Porsche racing car when their project was summarily scrapped on the grounds of overstretched resources and mounting costs. Instead, they were directed to channel their experimental design into a production sports car that could rival Ferrari’s Enzo.

Like the Enzo, the Carrera GT was built using ultra-light materials at the cutting edge of technology: a carbon fibre monocoque and a silicon carbide (ceramic composite) clutch and brake system. The new V10 engine was mid-mounted for stability. The car was designed as an open-top but came with an easily attachable, lightweight roof, slickly designed in two sections that fitted into the boot. All this came at a price – $440,000. But the Carrera GT still managed to be some $200,000 cheaper than the Enzo whilst virtually its equal performance-wise.

The Carrera GT not only has dramatic looks but is also a phenomenal drive. Even the most experienced test drivers were shaken by its runaway nature and, if they didn’t immediately stall, were aghast to find themselves literally careering down the road quicker than the brain could react. It takes iron nerve and immense concentration to trammel the wild power of this featherweight rocket, but therein lies the challenge; and the driver who has the knack of handling it is rewarded with a sensation verging on ecstasy.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

Germany

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

2004 (until 2006)

ENGINE:

5,733 CC DOHC V10

PERFORMANCE:

Top speed of 205 mph (330 km/h); 0-60 mph (97km/h) in 3.5 secs

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Porsche planned a production run of 1,500 Carrera GTs but called a halt in 2006 after only 1,270 had been built, citing new US airbag regulations as the reason. A new Carrera GT has been introduced for 2009. It comes as either coupe or cabriolet and is said to be capable of 208 mph (335 k/h).

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