The Porsche Carrera GT has succeeded in making the top ten list of “Top sports cars of all time” achieving a ranking of number eight-at least according to “Sports Car International.” The roots of this mid-mounted engine model extend back as far as 1998 and the 911 GT-1 as well as the LMP1-98 both successful race cars. A Prototype Le Mans version using a turbocharged flat-6 engine was designed in 1999 but was dropped with the reintroduction of an earlier designed V10 engine. This power plant was originally built in 1992 but the engineers at the Porsche Company kept it under wraps and later put the design on a back shelf. The year 1999 saw a 5.7 liter V10 prototype built and tested for two days. This version also never reached the assembly line either due to the production of the Cayenne SUV leaving the GT in limbo . The project was still in the minds of Porsche designers in 2000 with the showing of a concept version displayed at the Paris Motor Show this time sporting a 5.5 liter V10 but it also was destined to never reach production. Finally in 2004 the engineers were back at work in the motor sports division thanks to the cash flow provided by the successful Cayenne. The first Porsche Carrera GT was released as a limited edition with a production plan of 1,500 units starting in January 2004 but only 1,270 GT’s units were built by May 2006 with only 604 of those reaching the U.S.
Porsche claims the Carrera GT will do 0-100 km/h (62.1 mph) in a presentable 3.9 seconds with American road tests done indicating that the car will do 0-100 mph (160 km/h) in 6.8 seconds and in reality will do the quarter mile in 3.5 seconds a slightly better time than Porsche claims. The GT is powered by a 5.7 liter V10 engine rated at 416 kW (558 hp) and has a top speed of 330 km/h (205 mph). The only transmission available for this car is a traditional six speed standard sporting an also traditional beach wood shift lever knob the same type used for the Porsche 917 Le Mans race car although in 2005 an optional carbon fiber one became an option.
The Carrera GT side air inlets and air dams to help keep the large V10 engine cool with the power plant covered by a carbon fiber door accessed from the rear. The rims are 19 inch in front and 20 inch rims on the rear with 15 inch (380 mm) SGL Silicon Carbide ceramic composite (C/SiC) brakes. This model is also equipped with a rear spoiler automatically deployed at speeds in excess of 110 km/h (70 mph).
First released GT models came with a standard five color paint scheme but custom order colors became available later in production. Porsche tradition dictates that the basically equipped GT comes with leather seats, navigation system, and Bose audio system are all included. The car does have an odd feature which is also traditional; the ignition is to the left side of the steering column and this tradition dates back to the early Le Mans race time when the drivers were required to run to their cars. The ignition to the left side allowed drivers to start the vehicle with their left hand while shifting with the right for a quick get away from the standing start position.