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    My Carrera GT Experience...on the road and track!

    I another thread some of the guys asked me to write about my experience with the CGT a few weeks ago, so I thought I would. I will be writing this in multiple stages, and including a few photos of the car with each post.

    As a prefix, I am a dedicated Porsche enthusiast and my favorite car is currently the CGT - in fact, my family has been on the preorder list for many months now. That being the case, I know quite a bit about the car (borderline obsessive ) and have read most of the published material about it including magazine reviews, books published by Porsche and other sources, etc.

    Another note is that I am a member of my local Ferrari club - although not an owner many of the club members are my friends, and I do work for the cub including the production of a video movie based on an annual four day event held in New Orleans. This event, the French Quarter Classic, has become widely regarded as the most exclusive Ferrari event in the country, and as a result many fantastic and unique cars are in attendance every year. This year, one of those cars was a Carrera GT! (Florida car, GT silver w/ Terra Cotta interior) It was very difficult for me (as the director and producer of a movie about Ferraris) because I consistently found the lens of any camera I was operating drifting towards the Carrera GT...

    On the first day of the event, we began as we usually do, with a police-escorted road rally to a race track about 80 miles from New Orleans. My job in this is to drive my car, outfitted with a special camera rigging and cameras, and film cars on the road at speed. This rig is custom fitted to my car and operates very well, but requires that the windows of my car be the whole way down. As the police were taking us to the interstate, I noticed that the Porsche was only a few cars ahead of me! I could see the LED brake lights and silver side of the car sticking out from a line of F355s, and my heart started pumping faster...I didn't know it was going to be on the road rally! As we got underway, I found that even though I was supposed to be driving a camera car and filming Ferraris, I was trying to catch the CGT so I could have a better look at it...unfortunately, for every one car I overtook, the CGT would overtake about five! After we got out of the city I began overtaking cars like a madman. I HAD to catch up. As we moved further out into the country, I could hear the car wailing in the distance, a quarter mile ahead of me...Even with the windows of my car down traveling 140MPH, I could STILL hear the Porsche about 1/4 mile ahead screaming down the highway! Finally, after about 30 minutes of wringing out the motor of my 300hp car, I caught up! The owner looked at my car and understood what was going on, so I motioned for him to fall in behind me so I could film the car. The rest of the ride to the track was wonderful, with the Carrera GT in front, behind, or at the side of me.

    When we arrived at the track I had to spend quite a bit of time fulfilling my job as a cameraman, but briefly had the time to introduce myself to the owner and explain to him that I was part of the management filming the event. I told him I was very interested in the car, and although it was not a Ferrari (typically only Ferraris are allowed on the track at our event) I would very much appreciate a ride around the track. Towards the end of the day I got my wish. I grabbed my helmet, hopped in, and off we went...!



    The race track outside of New Orleans is a 1.8 mile FIA-style road course. It is in Louisiana so there are no elevation changes, and the turns are all very tight and technical (1.8 miles, 14 turns). As we got out onto the straightaway I could immediately sense a lot of differences in this car compared to other supercars. One of my good friends in New Orleans is a Ferrari supercar owner - in fact, he owns all four of them. I have been in and out of the F50 and Enzo enough to draw comparisons, and even after all of the reading about the CGT I have done, I was very surprised. For starters, after reading all of the complaints about the clutch I would have thought it to be more jerky. The owner not only started the car flawlessly without any feathering of the clutch, but (when I asked him about it) remarked that he had only stalled the car a handful of times the entire time he owned it, most of them in bumper to bumper traffic. Ever gear shift made the entire time we went around the track was 100% fluid, like butter - which is also a good descriptor for the exhaust note, which reflected off the concrete barriers down the straightaway to produce the most amazing sound I have ever heard from a road-legal car.

    I wish I could say that the ride in the CGT was the most exciting ride of my life, but the owner was not skilled enough to operate it as such on the race track. Many times I found myself wanting to reach over and show him the correct steering position to follow the line of the track, when to lift and when not to, how far into the braking zones he needed to go, etc. Once he did lose control of the car, but caught it very quickly, resulting in an interesting drift carried through a 60 degree right-hander.

    In comparison to the super-ferraris I have been in, I like it quite a bit. It seems to me like a good combination of the F50 and the Enzo, with a Porsche feel. In my opinion, the F50 is as good as it gets for putting a racecar on the street. You get in and beyond the (very simple) dash cluster, you get...nothing. No radio, no extra junk, just you and the car. With the Enzo...not so much. There is so much embedded technology in the Enzo that it is initially more difficult to get your head around. In addition to the dash cluster, which includes a multifunction TFT display that cycles relevant information about which mode you are running the car in, the car takes hundreds of measurements per second to adjust the car for street driving, race driving, etc. The Porsche is right in the middle. The interior is calmer, the feel is more direct, and even though a lot of information is presented to you, it is not as much as the Enzo. I like the feel of the interior better. It does not give you the idea that you are riding or driving in a ridiculous super exotic car, as is the case in the Enzo where you see Carbon Fibre everywhere you look, red and black, flashy colors, air conditioning hoses, flashing and blinking lights, etc. Everything about the interior looks more solid and firm than in the Enzo. Touching my hands to the magnesium in the dash, I could feel it was very thin but very strong. It almost felt like it should dent if I pushed on it, but it did not.

    As I was sitting and examining the interior, the owner suddenly said something, but I couldn't hear him through my helmet so I asked him to repeat. "LOOKS LIKE WE'RE GONNA HAVE OURSELVES A LITTLE RACE!" he shouted back at me. As we pulled onto the straightaway, an Enzo pulled up next to us...

    to be continued!

    Re: My Carrera GT Experience...on the road and track!

    Thanks for sharing! your passion is very refreshing

    Re: My Carrera GT Experience...on the road and track!

    To be continued?...Now I can't sleep anymore. C'mon, tell us about the Enzo. Pleaaassseee.

    Great writeup, thanks for sharing.

    Re: My Carrera GT Experience...on the road and track!

    DON'T STOP NOW!

    Part two!

    Part two...

    The Enzo came up beside us as if moving for a pass, and just as he came even with us Gary (the owner of the CGT) dropped the car into second gear and stepped on it, stopping only when he was running even with the Enzo. Suddenly, both cars accelerated full speed. This was the hardest acceleration I was under the whole time I was in the car, he absolutely floored it. The owner of the Enzo caught the idea at the same time, and jumped on it. The cars behind us disappeared, and the sound of the two engines being strung out beside each other combined with the force pushing me back into my seat was amazing. The end of the straightaway was rapidly approaching, and neither driver was willing to yield. In the entire length of the straightaway we had not moved away from the Enzo and inch! As we came to the end, it was clear that the Enzo driver was unwilling to yield (I know him outside of the car, and he is a pretty crazy guy!). Gary stomped on the brakes, and we immediately lost 50MPH. we turned in and completed the lap before exiting the track. What a ride! As I got out of the car (wow, the doorsills are much wider than expected!) I nonchalantly asked if I might ride back to town with him since he didn't have a passenger. He asked if I knew how to get back, and as soon as I told him "sure, I live in New Orleans" a smile appeared on his face and he accepted the proposition. SCORE! I tossed the keys of my car to another member of my camera crew, and soon afterwards we were underway with me as the navigator. As we drove back, I asked him more questions about the car and his background of exotic ownership - information pertinent to me as my family is in the process of acquiring a Carrera GT. He told me almost immediately that he loved the CGT more than any other car he owned, which included a Murcielago he recently sold because of his love interest in the Porsche He told me the Lamborghini was too flashy, a drug dealer's car. In fact, he also mentioned he was in the process of buying another CGT! I asked if he was a factory customer for the car we were in, and he said yes - the number plate on the dash showed the serial number was in the low 300's.

    It was 5 O'clock now, and as we pushed back into New Orleans' rush hour traffic, I began to take note of people in adjacent cars pointing, taking photos with camera phones, shouting questions..."is it a Lamborghini?" a girl asked. "No," I replied, "Porsche!" A bunch of guys in the back of a pickup truck kept staring, and finally Gary wound the motor up to 8000RPM. Funny to see all those jaws drop at the same time Something else I noticed is the low-RPM clutch chatter. It is actually kind of funny to me. Every single sound this car makes is high pitched! My own car and many I have been in have been modified to include a racing clutch and flywheel, and (as in any car with a single-mass flywheel) there is clutch chatter. But in the Carrera GT, much like the exceptionally high-pitched exhaust note, you get exceptionally high pitched clutch chatter! I figure this is due to the small size of the clutch and flywheel. It was rather amusing to hear actually, so far gone from a normal clutch chatter sound that I didn't even associate it at first.

    That was about the end of the ride. We got off of the interstate in bumper to bumper traffic and made the short venture to the hotel Gary and the other event participants stay at, where I thanked him for the ride and caught up with my camera crew to see if they had arrived back safely. A good day, all in all...

    In addition to what I have written, here are some photos of the car taken by my staff photographer. I modified them slightly in photoshop, but nothing extensive beyond some color correction.









    I hope you have enjoyed reading this, or at least found the information useful...

    Cheers,
    Richard

    Re: My Carrera GT Experience...on the road and track!

    Awesome reading material for the weekend thanks

    Re: Part two!

    Quote:
    syf0n said:
    "It was 5 O'clock now, and as we pushed back into New Orleans' rush hour traffic, I began to take note of people in adjacent cars pointing, taking photos with camera phones, shouting questions..."is it a Lamborghini?" a girl asked. "No," I replied, "Porsche!" A bunch of guys in the back of a pickup truck kept staring, and finally Gary wound the motor up to 8000RPM. Funny to see all those jaws drop at the same time


    Something else I noticed is the low-RPM clutch chatter. It is actually kind of funny to me. Every single sound this car makes is high pitched! My own car and many I have been in have been modified to include a racing clutch and flywheel, and (as in any car with a single-mass flywheel) there is clutch chatter. But in the Carrera GT, much like the exceptionally high-pitched exhaust note, you get exceptionally high pitched clutch chatter! I figure this is due to the small size of the clutch and flywheel. It was rather amusing to hear actually, so far gone from a normal clutch chatter sound that I didn't even associate it at first.

    I hope you have enjoyed reading this, or at least found the information useful...

    Cheers,
    Richard



    Thanks for the great story. Other than 0-60 (owing primarily to the difficulty in aggressively launching the car with this clutch), the CGT arrives right next to the Enzo at the end of the 1/4 mile despite the several 10th lead the CGT conceeds off the line. I've never in my life driven something so very crazy powerful - all the time in terms of gears, revs, etc.

    Amir told me this car would be met with "rock star" status, but I was certain he was wrong and the Stradale would turn out to be way more annoying in that way. Well the Stradale is nothing at all compared to the silliness that goes on with the CGT. I've been video taped several times already (it's only been 5 days and the car was out of commissioned getting clear bra'd for 2 of those days), cameras are always out, and people "try" to get on my butt and follow me "all the time". It's crazy! But being that all these people are enthusiasts, I do like to give em a show they are not likely to get to experience otherwise (there have been at least a dozen rides so far). As for the exhaust, you ought to just see the jaw dropping and explicatives at the gas station, etc when the car is started! It really is an amazing sound when that thing fires up (almost as amazing as the lack of sound - instantly - when you shut it off).

    Very luckily I put a lightweight single mass flywheel in my 996 when I supercharged it and experience identical chatter at idle as I do with the CGT and have therefore hardly even noticed it. This has however been a real sore spot for some owners.

    Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to share this with us. Just don't be such a tease

    Re: Part two!

    Syf0n thanks for the great read It was very fulfilling. I would be intrested in that video you have, is there a link for it?

    Re: Part two!

    Ryan,

    the video footage is being made into a movie. I am trying to put together an extra feature for the DVD of non-ferrari cars which attended. When I do, I will post it here. There's some pretty crazy stuff...

    I will post about it when we're done either way, or a link to the movie website when it goes live in a few days. Cheers!

    Re: Part two!

    It just keeps getting better, thanks!

    Re: Part two!

    Excellent report and beautiful pics, thank you!
    --Pierre

    Re: My Carrera GT Experience...on the road and track!

    Quote:
    syf0n said:
    On the first day of the event, we began as we usually do, with a police-escorted road rally to a race track about 80 miles from New Orleans. ...Even with the windows of my car down traveling 140MPH, I could STILL hear the Porsche about 1/4 mile ahead screaming down the highway!



    Richard,

    140 mph? Was this police escort in FRONT of you or in HOT PURSUIT?!!

    Nice story and thanks for the pix. Would be great if you can lay off some of the CGT Carrera footage for us.

    Dain

    Re: My Carrera GT Experience...on the road and track!

    Quote:
    Carrageous said:140 mph? Was this police escort in FRONT of you or in HOT PURSUIT?!!


    The escort uses Interceptor Crown Victorias (which are much faster than I would like to admit) as well as Harley 105's...some portions of our escort involve the police shutting down sections of the interstate so it is completely closed and the Ferraris are the only cars on the road This allows for moderately high speeds while not risking anyone's safety

    Because of video production deadlines I do not have time to produce an independent video of CGT footage right now, but will definitely be able to in the future.

    Re: My Carrera GT Experience...on the road and track!

    I can't wait til the you make the dvd! My god what a read I would love to have an oppurtunity like that!

    Also Ben,

    I believe all Carrera GT owners should be as generous as you and not be total idiots because some other enthusiasts dream about owning your car I appreciate that from you and all the other owners who are willing to share

    Re: My Carrera GT Experience...on the road and track!

    Good stuff--thanks for sharing!

    Re: My Carrera GT Experience...on the road and track!

    Great story and i love that pic of the wheel hub and brake.

    Tom

    Re: My Carrera GT Experience...on the road and track!

    Fantastic write up!
    Thanks a lot! And very cool pictures too!
    I love the CGT!

    Re: My Carrera GT Experience...on the road and track!

    Here is a background image I made from one of those photos (mostly color correction.

    Click for full resolution, 1024x768:


    Eventually when our movie website is online this image and others will be available as high quality poster-sized 30"x20" matte prints on Fuji archival paper. If anyone is interested in buying this photo (suitable for framing) let me know!

    Re: My Carrera GT Experience...on the road and track!

    Quote:
    syf0n said:
    Here is a background image I made from one of those photos (mostly color correction.

    Click for full resolution, 1024x768:


    Eventually when our movie website is online this image and others will be available as high quality poster-sized 30"x20" matte prints on Fuji archival paper. If anyone is interested in buying this photo (suitable for framing) let me know!

    so awesome! I can't wait til the video is finally available

     
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