The Porsche Carrera GT | Part Four

The Porsche Carrera GT

Porsche Carrera GT

Seats only half their usual weight

Within the sophisticated interior of the Carrera GT, featuring a subtle combination of leather, magnesium and carbon-fibre finishes, the elegant yet sporting design of the seats immediately catch the eye. These are the first production seats ever made of composite carbon and aramide fibres. The result is a substantial reduction in weight, the 10.3kg (22.7lb) bucket seats in the Carrera GT weighing half as much as conventional seats.

Porsche Carrera GT Supercar for the Road

Just a glance at the Carrera GT reveals its outstanding performance and shows it to be an uncompromising supercar of the highest calibre. But unlike prototypes built exclusively for racing, the design of the Carrera GT has a clear family resemblance to production Porsches as well as incorporating design cues from Porsche’s legendary racing cars. For example, the ’face’ of the Carrera GT with its arrow-shaped front and elevated wheel arches, hints at the geometry of the Porsche 718 RS Spyder from the 1960s. And, in common with the 911 Turbo, the Carrera GT has three extra-wide air scoops in the lower section of the front valance, clearly emphasizing its unparalleled performance.

Measuring 4.61m (181.5ins) long, 1.92m (75.6ins) wide, and 1.16m (45.7ins) high, from the side the Carrera GT looks not only beautiful, but aerodynamically efficient and muscular, too, its extended shoulder line adding to the car’s dynamic character. The mid-engine concept is obvious from the forward-mounted cockpit and the distance between the trailing edges of the doors and the back wheels. Large air scoops and vents in front of, and behind, the doors – which ensure a vital steady flow of air to and from the engine, the transmission, brakes and air conditioning – provide a further touch of excitement and tension. A perforated stainless steel engine cover extends from the rear wall of the cockpit and provides a clear and enticing view of the power unit. The structure at the rear end, in turn, emulates a racing car, while the rear wing moves up automatically above and below 120km/h (75mph) to provide the necessary downforce on the rear axle as speeds rise.

Aerodynamic considerations determined the design of the car throughout. The body’s aerodynamics were shaped, literally, by the high downforce demands made under genuine racing conditions. At its top speed of 330km/h (205mph), the Carrera GT develops a downforce of approximately 4000 Newtons, equal to a load pressing on the rear axle of 400kg. Elaborate underfloor geometry also serves to maximise downforce, but without exerting a negative influence on the car’s drag coefficient. With its rear diffuser and airflow channels, the fully composite carbon-fibre arrangement generates a suction ’groundeffect’ exceptional for a road car.

The Carrera GT is a supercar with classic roadster features, but that does not mean that bad weather will keep it in the garage. The car comes with a specially developed, easy-to-use roof system comprising two individual lightweight carbon shells each weighing 2.4kg (5.3lb) which can be removed and stored in the front luggage compartment. The rapid action catches holding the two roof sections in place are able to withstand the highest aerodynamic forces, while fitting them in position and removing them from the car is more than easy. The only thing to remember is the correct installation sequence: the section covering the driver’s side has to be inserted first.

continues... | Part Five
Published 1 June 2004 Melanie Carter

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