The Porsche Carrera GT: Redefining the Term “Exotic”
If you’re in the market for a true racecar for the streets, it doesn’t get much better than the Porsche Carrera GT. Seeing one roaming around is quite a treat, as this exotic wasn’t produced in vast quantities. Production began in 2004, and was promptly halted in 2007, with only 1,270 cars rolling off the Porsche production line.
The rarity of this car means getting your hands on one is no easy task. The original price tag straight from Porsche was $448,000, but the cost of actually obtaining one continues to skyrocket as time goes by. The current rarity of this car is at an all time high, due in part to a number of wrecks both on the street and on the track – including the one Jay Leno wrecked, and the infamous Paul Walker tragedy. You can easily expect to pay at least $100,000 over the original asking price in today’s market.
The Carrera GT was designed to replace Porsche’s 911 GT1, which meant the design team had their work cut out for them. No corners were cut while designing this supercar. Aerodynamic engineering and wind tunnel testing ensure its thirsty V10 is supplied ample airflow and cooling at all speeds. Integrated body wings provide additional down-force, alongside a rear spoiler which automatically deploys when highway speeds are reached. Carbon fiber is used in masse throughout the vehicle, from the shift knob to the subframe and numerous body panels.
Of course, a supercar has to be able to stop just as quickly as it can accelerate. This carbon fiber theme is carried all the way to the braking system to make sure the silicon carbide brakes have all the strength needed to bring this 3,000 pound car to a quick halt. Slam on the brakes at 60 MPH, and you’ll come to a stop within 101 feet. As Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson pointed out, the brakes work so hard that they tend to burst into flames on the track.
The result of all this engineering is a car that’s incredibly fun to drive. At 612 horsepower, it requires a bit of finesse to properly time your shifts on the 6 speed manual gear box (which is the only transmission offered in this model). Once you get it down, you’ll be rewarded with a jolt to 60 MPH in only 3.8 seconds. Keep going, and you’ll hit 100 MPH in under 7 seconds. Still not fast enough? If you have the guts to do so, keep holding the gas and you’ll top out at a brisk 205 MPH.
On the inside, the Porsche Carrera GT offers a few creature comforts, including ample leather, satellite navigation, and a BOSE audio system. With that in mind, there’s no chance of forgetting that this car is a true sports car. Placement of the steering wheel is carefully engineered with speed in mind, ensuring your arms are in the proper position to maintain control of the vehicle at all times. The three pedals are placed with precision, allowing for heel-toe downshifting while entering corners. To provide optimal weight reduction, a minimalistic theme is apparent throughout the interior.
Safety is a big deal for a car that can travel this fast. Airbags are positioned to protect against both front and side impact, electronic features such as traction control and ABS keep the car pinned to the road, and HID headlamps help light the road ahead. Despite these safety features, increasing governmental regulations played a large part in Porsche’s discontinuation of the Carrera GT – reengineering the car to conform to updated DOT standards would have added weight and compromised the car’s core design, forcing Porsche to ultimately halt manufacturing.