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.September 17, 2003
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The New Porsche Carrera GT - Thoroughbred Racing Technology for Unlimited Driving Pleasure


 

The Porsche Carrera GT refines the undiluted character of a racing car to provide an unprecedented driving experience of a unique kind. Indeed, the car's performance figures provide a clear picture of what to expect right from the start, the Carrera GT requiring a mere 9.9 seconds to accelerate from 0 - 200 km/h or 124 mph. And this top-flight athlete offers new records and achievements never seen before in many other areas, too.

 

Pure design in beautiful style

Through its design language alone, the Carrera GT expresses its truly outstanding performance as an uncompromising, no-nonsense supersports. But contrary to prototypes conceived only for racing, the design of the Carrera GT, despite the re-interpretation of existing features and the use of design elements never seen before, shows a convincing resemblance in design to Porsche's production cars, even providing a certain reminiscence of Porsche's legendary racing cars. The typical Porsche face with the front lid swept back like an arrow and the elevated wheel arches, for example, take up the design of the legendary Porsche 718 RS Spyder back in the '60s, giving particular thrust and power to the front view of the Carrera GT. Seen from the side, in turn, the Carrera GT gains further dynamism through its firm, stretched-out shoulder line. The mid-engine concept, finally, is clearly accentuated by the forward-moving cockpit and the long gap between the door and the rear axle.

Lightweight technology through and through

Porsche's philosophy to concentrate on the essential comes out particularly in the Carrera GT through the use of consistent lightweight technology in every respect. Measuring 4.61 metres or 181.5" in length, 1.92 metres or 75.6" in width, 1.16 metres or 45.7" in height, and with wheelbase of 2.73 metres or 107.5", the Carrera GT weighs in at an ideal unladen weight of 1380 kilos or 3043 lb.

Magnificent power and muscle

Photos: Porsche

The ten-cylinder power unit behind the cockpit of the Carrera GT is based on a 5.5-litre normal aspiration engine which, as a thoroughbred racing machine, might also have been raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Increasing engine capacity for the Carrera GT to 5.7 litres, Porsche's engineers have now achieved maximum output of 450 kW (612 bhp) at 8000 rpm and maximum torque of 590 Newton metres (435 lb-ft) at 5750 rpm. Top speed is 330 km/h or 205 mph. And despite its racing character, this ten-cylinder is fully suited for everyday motoring also at low engine speeds.

Innovative six-speed gearbox in transverse arrangement

The gearbox providing an additional transmission feature compared with a conventional transversely-mounted gearbox is one of the truly outstanding innovations in the Carrera GT. The transmission incorporates a two-stage upright transmission unit between the outgoing main shaft and the axle drive, serving in particular to allow smaller combinations of gears thanks to the additional transmission ratio. A further feature is the hollow design of the first main shaft housing the long and thin solid shaft as a spring connection inside. Interacting with the mass forces on the angle drive, the two shafts thus acting as a torsion spring serve to dampen impacts from the drivetrain and reduce transmission noise in the process. This is also the first model in which Porsche is using an innovative inner gearshift mechanism together with particularly low-friction and precisely-mounted Flexball shift cables on the outer shift mechanisms, a worldwide innovation in automotive technology. Flexball gearshift cables are made of a flat stainless-steel band and do not have wound steel cores.

The ceramic clutch - another world-first achievement

Apart from Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) already well known and widely lauded for their efficiency, Porsche is now using extra-light and extremely resistant ceramics for the transmission of power in this new top-flight athlete: The Carrera GT is the first car in the world equipped with a ceramic clutch, the PCCC Porsche Ceramic Composite Clutch, to use its precise name. Through its compact dimensions, this two-plate dry clutch meets all the requirements of motorsport: Clutch plate diameter is only 169 millimetres or 6.65", serving to give the engine and transmission a very low centre of gravity. A further feature of the new ceramic discs is their much longer service life compared with alternative materials.

Chassis and module frame forming a closely-knit team

The Carrera GT is the first production car in the world with a monocoque chassis and module frame made of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFP), a principle Porsche has registered for a patent in the meantime. Carbon, a material carried over from the most sophisticated aerospace applications, is elaborately processed and finished on the car in providing the foundation for supreme performance and driving dynamics combined with minimum weight and maximum strength. So here again, Porsche's engineers have transferred the great demands made on the race track to a road-going sports car for regular use, giving the Carrera GT not only outstanding performance, but also supreme safety all in one.

Same underfloor as a racing car

With a top speed of 330 km/h or 205 mph, aerodynamics are obviously a crucial factor. So to maximise the downforces acting on the Carrera GT, the car features underfloor geometry of the same kind otherwise to be found only on racing cars: Interacting with the rear diffuser and airflow channels, the fully covered carbon underfloor generates a suction effect quite unusual on a road-going vehicle of any kind.

Forged magnesium wheels

Measuring 19 inches up front and 20 inches at the rear, and finished in five-spoke design, the wheels of the Carrera GT reveal the car's close connection to motorsports at very first sight. And at the same time they clearly bear testimony to the exclusivity of this high-performance sports car, being produced in a magnesium forging process used for the first time on a production car. Forged magnesium wheels are well over 25 per cent lighter than cast aluminium wheels and offer an excellent service life.

Sensitive suspension set-up

Advancing into an ultra-high speed range, the Carrera GT obviously requires a spectacular spring and damper set-up to maintain the stability of the car - also at the rear - at all speeds. And again, the solution applied for this purpose comes straight from motorsport, spring/damper elements operated by stainless-steel pushrods and pivot levers being fitted inside the chassis structure. This firm connection to the chassis promotes exact response of the springs and dampers, ensuring safe and secure driving behaviour in the process.

Seats only half their usual weight

Within the sophisticated interior of the Carrera GT combining smooth and subtle leather, magnesium and carbon-fibre structures, the all-new seats catch your eye immediately, also through their elegant, sporting design. These are the first production seats ever made of composite carbon and aramide fibres, aramide being better known, of course, as kevlar. The result is a substantial decrease in weight, the bucket seats in the Carrera GT, at 10.3 kg or 22.7 lb, weighing only about half as much as conventional seats.

(Sept. 14, 2003)


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