Porsche Carrera GT

Paul Bailey gets (briefly) reacquainted with his Porsche Carrera GT, and has a 'moment' on track

As the Carrera GT hit the grass and began to accelerate towards the tyre wall, it occurred to me that this could hurt. I also had time to consider that the yellow Porsche could be off the road for some time – which was a real drag, since it had only recently come out of winter hibernation. Only question was, how hard would it hit…

Rewind a few weeks, and it was a great moment as I took the Carrera GT out of winter storage. Going against much of the advice I had received, I had decided not to run the engine from time to time during the months the car was tucked away. Instead I chose to leave it entirely untouched, which made it even more of a pleasure to remove the cover and, at last, sit in the car once again. On turning the key – pausing briefly to allow the fuel pump to pressurise – the V10 fired up as if it had been started the day before. But then you’d expect nothing less from a Porsche…

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Rather than disconnecting the battery while the car was inactive, I’d left it on a continuous trickle charge so that all the circuits were kept energised. This meant I didn’t have the pain of reprogramming everything in the car. Over-inflating the tyres had prevented flat-spots, so it was simply a matter of letting out the extra psi before driving away.

My first journey was to Porsche GB at Reading (the only approved service agent for the Carrera GT in the UK) where the car was booked in for its annual service. This was completed with the usual superb efficiency and cost £1472 – a not unreasonable sum for a car in this class.

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Less reasonable was the cost of getting a new windscreen fitted. I’d authorised the old one’s replacement as it had suffered an unrepairable stonechip that, being in the driver’s line of sight, would result in an MOT failure. What I didn’t realise was that fitting a new ’screen involves removing the front wings and ‘bonnet’ to get access to it, which results in a labour charge of just under £800. Add the cost of the bonding agent (nearly £70) and the screen itself, and you end up with a bill for £3451! Hopefully my insurer will be covering that one…

With the service and windscreen sorted, it was off to the Porsche Centre in Cambridge. Not for more work, but for a ‘service clinic’ event being held in association with Porsche Club Great Britain. These clinics are designed to enable Porsche dealers to keep in touch with owners, particularly those with older cars who might otherwise go to specialists.

More than 50 Porsche owners attended the event with their vehicles, each car receiving a complimentary 111-point check. There’s another similar event being planned for the autumn, again at Porsche Centre Cambridge. You can contact them on 01223 872872 if you’re interested in attending.My second and final event for this month – a trackday at Castle Combe – was to be more final than I expected. The day didn’t get off to a good start, heavy traffic meaning I didn’t arrive at the circuit until mid-morning.

Making matters worse, the weather was appalling, a long sunny spell being brought to an end by the arrival of torrential rain. This meant that I found myself out on a slippery track with just five other cars. With my tyres down to the wear indicators, I should have known better…

Approaching the Esses, I turned in to the first corner only to find I had nowhere near enough grip. The car span through 360 degrees and, once on the grass, continued to slide, eventually finding the tyre wall, side on, at about 35mph.

Fortunately I was uninjured, and back in the pits I was relieved to find that the damage to the car was purely cosmetic. Had I spun 90 degrees less, then I would have hit the tyre wall head on, which I suspect would have meant more damage with crumple zones crumpling, airbags going off, etc.

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The car is now at Lamborghini Wycombe, where the five damaged panels have been removed for respraying. This won’t be the first time the guys there have worked on the GT, of course, as they were responsible for changing the whole car from silver to yellow when I first bought it.

The work should be completed by the time you read this, and I plan to get straight back in the saddle with another trackday before heading out to Le Mans for the 24 hours. Whether it all went to plan, I’ll let you know next time.

Running Costs

Date acquiredFebruary 2006
Total mileage9,498
Costs this month£1472 (service), £3451 (new windscreen, fitting, etc)
Mileage this month491
MPG this month15.9mpg
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