Debuting 20 years ago, the Carrera GT continues to be lauded as a landmark in performance
Like many masterpieces, time has only solidified the Porsche Carrera GT’s status as an absolute landmark in automotive engineering, its single-minded purity of vision confirming Porsche’s adherence to its long-established tenant of form following function.
So what better time to hold a retrospective than on the 20th anniversary of its debut in Paris.
Hailed as a superlative expression in restrained design, its beautifully proportioned curves are exquisitely complimented by purposeful straight strokes - the work of the team around the then Porsche chief designer Harm Lagaay. The GT was also notable for being the first carbon-fibre standard-production Porsche and the last of the analogue generation of super cars.
Initially starting life as a racing car, the Le Mans prototype LMP2000 (labelled 9R3 internally) project was completed in 1998, complete with V10 engine.
However, deciding not to return to the circuit, Porsche decided to apply all the technical highlights in a road car. Initially presented as a concept in 2000 at the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris, it would be another two and a half years until it made its debut at the 2003 Geneva International Motor Show in production form.
Maintaining the sophisticated aerodynamics of the concept car, the entire carbon underbody remaining panelled, together with the rear diffuser - the underbody geometry producing a ground effect like on a racing car. In fact, the only visible element the electrically extending rear wing.
Sporting 612hp from its 5.7-litre V10, the Carrera GT was as raw as it gets in terms of driving purity. No sophisticated traction control and drive by wire electric gizmos here. Put your foot down and you’re catapulted into an alternative universe that orbits the race circuit and is solely defined by driver input.
Now recognised as one of the genuine engineering greats in the pantheon of supercars, the Carrera GT is a true symbol of Porsche’s technical brilliance and usability.
So enjoy the video below highlighting highlighting the GT’s key innovations.