Long term tests

Porsche Carrera GT

Despite a slightly awkward clutch, this Porsche proves to be a hit

Over the last few weeks, with nearly 2000 miles now covered in my ownership, I feel I’m really getting to know the Carrera GT. Living with the car every single day – including trips to work through rush-hour traffic – I’ve had plenty of time to learn its intricacies. For successful everyday use it’s essential to master the carbon-ceramic clutch. Other owners that I’ve met have had exactly the same difficulty getting to grips with it early on, yet once mastered it’s no longer too much of an issue, although hill-starts can still be a challenge! During those early miles I was also concerned that the distance between the brake pedal and the accelerator didn’t seem ideal for heel-and-toeing, but upon contacting Porsche I was advised that, as Walter Röhrl had been involved in the development of the vehicle, it was more likely to be my driving technique that was an issue rather than the car! There are very few manufacturers that could provide such a response, but as it turned out they were absolutely right – with more practice I’ve discovered that heel-and-toe operation is, in fact, quite easy, particularly under heavy braking. The Carrera GT has amazing balance. Driving it back-to-back with a Murciélago the other day the difference was pronounced, with the Porsche providing much better feedback, particularly when it comes to knowing when you can sensibly apply full power. That’s not to say that the Lamborghini is anything but incredible, of course, but it’s nice to know that the Carrera GT has some quantifiable advantage given that it cost nearly twice as much as the Lambo when new. The GT’s fantastic throttle response, whatever the revs, is another of its great strengths. Being normally aspirated, there are no turbo-lag issues; just plant your right foot and you’ve hit the national speed limit in what feels like an instant. You know you’ve got there because if you look in the rear-view mirror at 75mph you can see the rear spoiler rise into the slipstream. As mentioned last time, I was particularly keen to get the Carrera GT on track, so an invitation from the road test team to join at the Bedford Autodrome’s West Circuit for part of this month’s cover story was happily accepted. Having cautiously negotiated the tight Hangar Hairpin on my first lap, a burst of hard acceleration took me to the left/right/left of the Club Chicane, where the GT immediately began to show its epic road-holding abilities before hammering through the fast Palmer Curves that follow. More acceleration and a flurry of rapid-fire gearchanges ensured maximum velocity on the approach to the Bank Complex. More heavy braking – using Walter Röhrl-style heel and toe, of course! – sharp right, sharper left, and we were on to the longest straight. Later Richard Meaden topped 120mph on this section before slowing to sweep through Beckham Esses and O’Rouge on the way back to the start line. Apparently this was the highest peak speed the lads had ever recorded at Bedford! It was a breathtaking first lap, and the Carrera GT only got more impressive as the day went on. It is by far the closest thing to a race-car I have ever experienced: the amazing engine note, the formidable speed, the way it stays almost completely level through the corners… Needless to say, my laps at the Autodrome whet my appetite for more, and I came away planning the next opportunity to get on track. Next up should be a date at Castle Combe, where the Carrera GT will be pitted against a range of other supercars. I’ve a feeling this car could prove to be rather addictive…

Running Costs

Date acquiredFebruary 2006
Total mileage5654
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month1322
MPG this month18.1mpg

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