The Porsche Carrera GT | Part Six

Porsche Ceramic Composite Clutch

Porsche Carrera GT

The suspension – dynamic yet comfortable

The chassis and suspension of the Carrera GT has already proven its worth under the toughest of conditions... it was developed for the Porsche 911 GT1, outright winner of the 1998 Le Mans 24 Hours. Experience of the composite carbon-fibre chassis gained in this and other races has gone directly into the Carrera GT. The precise responses and optimum roadholding of the Carrera GT are ensured by the race-developed double-wishbone pushrod suspension front and rear. Unlike the McPherson spring/struts used on other Porsche sports cars, pushrods have separate guide sleeves and springs, and follow a design principle that provides sensitive response and perfect spring balance at both low and high speeds. The final element in the Carrera GT’s high standard of driving dynamics is provided by the agile power steering.

Ceramic brakes for supreme stopping power

The Carrera GT is equipped with the ultimate braking system: Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB). Hailed as a world first for production cars when introduced on the 911 GT2 in 2001, the system has been further optimised and improved for the Carrera GT. The cross-drilled composite ceramic discs, with their intricate and highly efficient cooling ducts, now measure 380mm (14.96ins) in diameter front and rear, some 30mm (1.18ins) more than on the 911 GT2. They are 33mm (1.34ins) thick and are about 50 per cent lighter than grey-cast-iron discs of the same type and size. Integral to the efficiency of PCCB, newly developed brake linings ensure a consistent frictional coefficient and allow the system to reach its maximum brake power within fractions of a second. The lack of brake fade means extremely high safety reserves even when the brakes are used in extremis, while the lack of wear – due the hardness of the ceramic material – ensures a long service life.

Electronic assistance when driving at the limit

Whether running on different road surfaces or in adverse weather conditions, ABS and traction control systems allow dynamic driving right up to the very limit. The electronic systems enhance vehicle stability under braking and acceleration and give the driver confidence in line with the Carrera GT’s outstanding performance. The four-channel anti-lock brake system allows individual control of all four wheels, with the ABS being adapted to suit the very short stopping distances made possible by the ceramic brakes and giving the driver complete control with full response of the steering during emergency braking. Integrated four-channel anti-spin control (ASC) is automatically activated when needed during hard acceleration, preventing excessive wheel spin from the driven wheels and keeping the rear end of the car stable. Yet another feature designed to aid stability and control is the automatic brake differential (ABD). However, should the driver wish to drive without this electronic support the entire traction control function can be switched off via a button in the cockpit.

Forged magnesium wheels

Forged magnesium five-spoke wheels have been specially developed for the Carrera GT. The rims, measuring 19ins at the front and 20ins behind, are produced using a new forging process used for the first time on a production car. This process improves the material’s fatigue strength and allows the ultimate in lightweight construction: forged magnesium wheels combine supreme strength and stiffness with a reduction in weight of about 25 per cent over similarly sized cast aluminium wheels. Unsprung masses are also reduced accordingly. The result provides not only supreme traction, but also enhances the sensitive response of the suspension settings. Following motorsport principles the wheels are fastened to the hubs by one central bolt to permit quick tyre changes. The tyres developed for the Carrera GT have a very large contact area thanks to their dimensions of 265/35 ZR 19 (front) and 335/30 ZR 20 (rear). The tread pattern is designed to provide maximum traction, excellent mechanical grip and lasting strength at very high speeds, yet wear is kept relatively low for tyres of this kind.

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

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