Porsche Carrera GT Review Charleston SC
Porsche Carrera GT Review
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Porsche Carrera GT - 2005 First Drive: Hurtling down what seems to the narrowest ribbon of asphalt, the advertisements on the racetrack's walls reduced to streaks of vivid color in my peripheral vision, my ears fill with the howl of the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT's big V-10 engine. Porsche pro-racer David Murray is yelling into my helmet radio, telling me to stomp on the throttle. But we're already well into triple digits and a hard right-hand corner is coming up fast. Instead, I stomp on the brake pedal and the G-force nearly knocks the air out of me. Mid-turn I'm off the brakes, hit the apex and finally obey Murray's command, stomping on the accelerator pedal exiting the turn. I already feel like a marble expelled from a slingshot, but Murray continues to demand more throttle.
Lap after lap, the sleek silver Porsche Carrera GT does not make a miss-step on the road course at the California Speedway near Los Angeles. With the slightest movement of hands and feet this incredible automobile responds instantly to input. It is as though the thing is reading my mind, knowing before I do what will be asked. And, that sweet shriek of an exhaust note playing in my head, the sound track to my exclusive automotive fantasy, is nothing short of intoxicating.
Murray is riding shotgun to make sure I extract the most out of my Carrera GT experience and that I return to the pits with the car intact. Both goals are achieved, but it's easy to see that someone could get in far, far over their heads with this car despite the fact that it's one of the most forgiving exotic super-cars I have ever driven.
Unofficially, the Porsche Carrera GT is a racecar; however this is a racecar that was built for the street. It isn't so much because it produces monstrous amounts of power from its V-10 engine - though it does - or that its carbon fiber construction keeps everything very light weight. It's more the sum of its parts that make this car worth every bit of its $440,000 price tag.
Derived from Porsche's 24 hours of LeMans efforts, the 5.7-liter, double overhead cam V-10 engine generates 605 horsepower and 435 lb.-ft. of torque, transferred to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. The whole shebang sits just behind the driver in a mid-ship configuration, deep in the belly of the car. Similar to those used in exotic prototype racing machines, the engine is equipped with a dry sump oil system so there is no oil pan like on traditional street cars. This design allows the engine to sit very low - the crankshaft is a few mere inches off the ground - to enhance stability at high speeds.
Appearing for the first time in a street car, Porsche's Ceramic Composite Clutch (PCCC) technology helps swap gears in the Carrera GT. Ceramic composite clutch systems are used in racing cars but often are short lived. To extend durability for street use, Porsche engineers developed a new two-plate design using ceramics containing carbon fiber and silicon carbide, making this clutch both strong and reliable. At just a little over 6.5 inches in diameter, it is half the size of a normal clutch. This compact design also aids in lowering the car's center of gravity.
This new clutch design has a few critics who grouse that its quick release character causes them to stall the engine on take off. Launching the GT really isn't all that difficult if you follow Porsche engineers' guidance. Don't touch the accelerator, ease off the clutch pedal slightly, and then as the car starts to roll, quickly release the clutch and you're on your way. Remember, however, to be just as subtle with the accelerator. We eased out of the pits and rolled smoothly into the throttle, producing eye-watering acceleration that shoved us back into our seats.
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