Photos & text courtesy of Mecum Auctions
It is hard to imagine the almost superhuman restraint necessary to drive this 2005 Porsche Carrera GT only 252 miles over 10 years, but that is the exact number glowing from this Fayence Yellow masterpiece’s digital odometer. The Porsche Carrera GT is after all a car like no other, the culmination of the German carmaker’s decades of engineering and racing experience. The Carrera GT’s design parameters are those of a race car, specifically the 1998 Le Mans-winning GT1, and especially its suspension and powertrain. But first, it required an appropriate chassis, complete with a racing-style reinforced cockpit to optimize passenger safety.
Carbon-reinforced plastic (CRP) was chosen for its light weight and resistance to flexing, making the Carrera GT the first production car to use the material for its entire monocoque chassis, body panels and rear subframe, including the removable roof panels, ground effects undertray and rear diffuser. The CRP’s weave is specially oriented in specific locations to maximize load-bearing ability, and the subframe contains aluminum honeycomb reinforcing components that also help resist the heat generated by the power unit.
Weighing just over 3,000 pounds bare, the Carrera GT’s chassis uses GT1-inspired suspension comprising upper and lower A-arms. Following modern racing practice, rods transfer road forces through forged stainless-steel pivot levers to inboard-mounted coilover shock absorbers, and the right and left suspensions are linked through central sway bars. This elegant design frees the suspension arms from bearing dynamic loads, allowing more precise handling at any speed. The Carrera GT’s forged magnesium wheels are fitted with asymmetrical-tread 265/35ZR-19 front and 335/30ZR-20 rear Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires for excellent wet or dry traction. The brakes are the same Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes available on all 911 Porsches, with six-piston aluminum one-piece calipers clamping down on 15-inch vented and cross-drilled ceramic composite discs.
More racing convention is found under the rear deck, where the 5.7L/605 HP all-alloy V10 engine, originally developed for the Le Mans racing program, canceled in 1999, serves as a load-bearing element in the chassis. It is also loaded with such exotica as VarioCam variable intake cam timing, titanium connecting rods, dry-sump oiling for both durability and a lower center of gravity and advanced Motronic ME 7.1.1 engine controls. Like the engine, the 6-speed manual gearbox also has its roots in the abandoned Le Mans program. It is transversely mounted, connected to the engine not through a conventional flywheel-clutch assembly but a special patented hollow input shaft with an inner dampening rod, eliminating the flywheel. Dubbed the Porsche Ceramic Composite Clutch (PCCC), the clutch is also unique, sandwiching two discs, of the same carbon ceramic composite material used in the brakes, between titanium plates, in a tiny unit just 6.65 inches in diameter. There is also a limited-slip differential for sure-footed corner exits.
Where the rest of the Carrera GT is almost pure racer, the interior is pure style. Dark Grey leather-covered surfaces are contrasted with galvanized magnesium trim, the driver controls falling easily to hand. The high-mounted shifter is a special touch, its birch/ash wood knob lifted straight from the legendary 917. The snug-fitting leather-and-composite XT bucket seats are also reminiscent of Porsche racers of old, belying the modern conveniences of air conditioning, Porsche’s Online Pro CD radio and a color-matching five-piece luggage set.
Once described as a road-going Le Mans racer, the Carrera GT still holds the title of Porsche’s greatest production sports car. It has also become a blue chip investment by any standard and is expected to remain so for years to come.