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By GREG KABLE


PORSCHE WILL USE NEXT month’s Geneva motor show to unveil its most powerful and advanced road car to date—the Carrera GT.

With a 205-mph top speed and stunning acceleration— 0 to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds and 0 to 124 mph in 9.9 seconds—the sleek two-seater has been developed for the road with all of Porsche’s celebrated race car experience and production car know-how combined.

“Our aim is to bring the driver of the Carrera GT as close as possible to a full-blown racetrack experience on the road,” was how one high-ranking Porsche official enthusiastically described the new car.

Stuttgart’s supercar goes on sale after its world debut at Geneva on March 4. Exact pricing is still under wraps, but Porsche confirms its road rocket will cost between $350,000 and $400,000. Prospective customers will need to be quick, though. Supply will be limited to just 1000 cars—all left-hand drive—over a planned three-year production run. This number is down from the 2000 cars Porsche officials said would be needed to make the venture profitable. Porsche North America says it has about 1000 “serious prospects” for the car.

The Carrera GT evolved out of Porsche’s aborted 2000 Le Mans challenger and is intended to thrust the spotlight back onto performance in a year when Porsche is offering its first vehicle outside the sports car ranks, the four-wheel-drive Cayenne sport/utility vehicle. Eschewing its long history of horizontally opposed six-cylinder engines for its fastest runners, the carbon fiber-bodied Carrera GT is propelled by an all-new 68-degree 5.7-liter V10 engine linked to a six-speed manual transmission.

The naturally aspirated engine produces 603 hp and 427 lb-ft of torque, enough to make the 3036-pound mid-engined rear-drive car the fastest road-going Porsche ever, Porsche claims.

Porsche says prototype versions of the car have lapped the 12.9-mile Nurburgring in less than seven minutes and 30 seconds at the hands of a test driver—almost a minute faster than the 911 Carrera and some 30 seconds faster than the previous-generation GT3. <------HOLY MOLY!

In production trim, the Carrera GT remains faithful to the open-top concept car shown at the Paris motor show in 2000. A lightweight roof structure designed to provide all-weather capability and reduce wind buffeting at high speeds is the biggest difference.

It consists of two carbon fiber shells that stow in the car’s front luggage compartment. Other changes include larger cooling ducts in the nose and along the sides, modified headlamp and taillamp graphics, a more substantial windshield frame and sturdier rollover hoops behind the seats. The need to provide substantial downforce heavily influences the Carrera GT’s over- all shape, and requires a retract-able rear wing that deploys at speeds in excess of 75 mph.

With its Zuffenhausen plant already bursting at the seams to meet demand for the Boxster and 911, Porsche will build the Carrera GT alongside the Cayenne at its new factory in Leipzig (AW, Sept. 2, 2002). Though plans call for building just 1000 cars by 2006, suppliers say they’re being asked to tool up for a 1300-car run.







Gabriel,
2001 CL Type S
2001 Lexus RX300 Silversport
 

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By Chris Thorp.





Take aim! Porsche has been polishing its silver bullet, and now it's ready to shoot to the top of the supercar premier league. These are the first official pictures of the company's flagship Carrera GT, and it's got all the power it needs to send rivals scattering.

We revealed accurate spyshots of the top-flight Porsche back in November last year, and now the German company has officially spilled the beans. The car will be wooing crowds at the Geneva Motor Show next month, and bosses hope it will catch everyone's imagination. While some might say the styling isn't the cleanest, the car certainly has presence. A gaping front airdam sets the tone for the slippery shape, with further scoops along the sides providing yet more cooling for the engine and brakes. The rear is a view that most road users will become familiar with, and the exhaust pipes poking out from the bodywork hint at the Carrera GT's potential.

So where does the power come from to back up the race car looks? Lift the panel behind the seats and you will find a thoroughbred racing engine - a 5.7-litre V10 normally aspirated unit which produces 612bhp and 590Nm of torque. Combine that with a weight of only 1,380kg, and the result is class-leading performance. Porsche claims the newcomer will sprint from 0-62mph in only 3.9 seconds and can go all the way to 205mph - and the firm has a reputation for issuing conservative figures. Perhaps even more impressive is the time taken to get from 0-124mph (that's 200kph) - 9.9 seconds.

With that level of acceleration, an intricate downforce system has been fitted. The integral spoiler at the rear pops up at speed, and Le Mans car-style underbody moulding helps to keep it all on the tarmac.

In a supercar world first, the entire monocoque and sub-frame are made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic. This is the key to minimising weight and maximising structural stability. To bring the vehicle to a halt, the firm has fitted its quickest model with powerful ceramic composite brake discs.

The transmission also uses a cera-mic composite clutch - another first - to engage the six-speed manual gearbox, which promises the quickest possible cog swaps. Porsche has rejected two-pedal paddleshift systems as it believes they limit driver involvement. Even the wheels are highly specialised. Made of light magnesium in order to keep the weight down, an all-new forging process had to be developed to produce them.

Practicality has also been given some consideration, with a 911-style boot in the front providing room for a small amount of luggage. Owners will also be able to store the carbon fibre roof panels there when they take them off to enjoy the glorious engine note.

The newcomer will take on the likes of Mercedes' SLR and Ferrari's Enzo, but unlike many so-called race-bred supercars, the Carrera GT truly has its roots in motorsport. Prices have yet to be confirmed, but don't expect it to cost less than £250,000. Fewer than 1,000 cars will be made over three years.

Due next year, this ultimate Porsche will obviously not be a volume seller, but insiders say it showcases technology that will be found on later revisions of the 911, and even the Boxster.

Gabriel,
2001 CL Type S
2001 Lexus RX300 Silversport
 

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Discussion Starter #3
INTERESTING COMMENTARY:

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Why has Porsche suddenly developed a brand new super-car? After all, the expense of designing an all-new chassis and engine is astronomical.

The answer lies in the Le Mans 24 Hours, which the V10 engine and Carrera GT chassis had been made for. But rule changes by the sport's bosses made the car ineligible. So rather than let the work go to waste, Porsche decided to convert it into the ultimate road machine - just in time take on rivals from Ferrari and Bugatti.

Gabriel,
2001 CL Type S
2001 Lexus RX300 Silversport
 
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