Porsche Carrera GT (2003-2006)

Premiere: concept car September 28, 2000 Paris Louvre Museum, production car March 5, 2003 Geneva Motor Show

© Porsche

Tech specs and comparison

Engine Power Torque Gearbox 0-60 mph 0-100 km/h 0-200 km/h Vmax Weight Power-to-weight Dimen-
sions mm
2004 Carrera GT 5.7V10 450kW 590Nm
3.8 sec. 3.9 sec. 9.9 sec. 330km/h
326 W/kg 4613x
1997 911 996 GT1 street version 3.2B6 bi-turbo 400kW 600Nm
3.7 sec. 3.9 sec. 10.5 sec. 308km/h
348 W/kg 4710x
1996 911 993 GT1 street version 3.2B6 bi-turbo 441kW 653Nm
1125 kg
392 W/kg 4683x 2
1987 959 Sport 2.8B6 bi-turbo 331kW 500Nm
3.6 sec. 3.7 sec. 13.0 sec. 317km/h
245 W/kg 4260x

From Le Mans car project to a street-legal supercar

The creation of the 2000 Le Mans racing car started in 1998. The new 5.5-litre engine was designed according to the LM P1 regulations that allowed 5.5L maximum capacity for a normally aspirated gasoline engine. As Porsche AG was led by financist Wendelin Wiedeking, who was not a racing enthusiast, the Le Mans programme was halted and focus was set on the creation of the 2.2-tonne family car. Fortunately Wiedeking saw business opportunity in the half-engineered Le Mans racing car project and turned it into a street-legal supercar project. The creation of the Porsche 980, the Carrera GT concept car started in 1999. For the financial reason coupé and roadster were not separately prepared, but offered as one car with removable top. This meant some overweight will be gained due to the safety demandings for the open car. The concept car was unveiled in September 2000. In January 2002 Porsche confirmed the production of the Carrera GT and in March 2003 the production version was shown. The initially set 1250 kg / 2756 lb weight goal couldn’t be reached with safe open top car even though carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) were mainly used. Other frequently used materials were aluminum, magnesium, H400 high-grade steel and titanium. The car came out 10% heavier than hoped.

Rolling chassis design concept

Unlike conventional car concepts, the Carrera GT is built on rolling chassis - a design which is frequently used in racing. The rolling chassis consists of structural elements (chassis and engine frame), mechanical units (powertrain, suspension, cooling system) and electrical components. It is fully operative even without the body panels which have merely aerodynamic and esthetic functions and are without importance for the structural integrity of the rolling chassis. The Carrera GT is the first car in the world, whether on the road or in racing, to apply a brand-new design and construction concept, both the monocoque and the entire frame carrying all the car’s modules and components being made of CFRP. For even greater strength and safety, the A-pillars are further reinforced by high-strength steel tubes. In its torsional stiffness, the Carrera GT sets a new record for open cars.

With the exception of the several small-size parts and PUR front and rear bumpers, all the exterior components including the doors, lid, hood, and roof shells are made of fibre composite material. Exterior panels are made of several layers of carbon-fibre material with an overall wall thickness of approx. 1.2 mm.

The fuel tank is located in the safest place, in the center of the car between the seats and the engine. With its location at the center of gravity, the fuel level does not affect the wheel load distribution. The tank is made of plasmatron-welded aluminum deep-drawn sheet metal and is protected by the surrounding structural CFRP panels. The fuel supply system is fully operable at lateral accelerations of up to 1.7 g.


The engine of the Carrera GT is a direct descendant of the 10-cylinder race engine developed for the Porsche’s Le Mans car for 2000 (though Porsche didn’t enter Le Mans after the 1998 win anymore). As the production Carrera GT came out much heavier than the concept car, more power was needed in order to keep the initial poweer-to-weight ratio and therefore the bore diameter was increased by 2 mm to 98 mm to obtain a displacement of 5,733 cm³. The engine block was increased by 7 mm in order to provide space for the installation of an additional piston ring. The engine features a sophisticated crankcase-integrated lubration system fitted with 10 oil pumps, i.e. 1 pressure pump and 9 evacuation pumps to allow oil evacuation of the individual crank chambers as well as the cylinder heads and the timing chain case. The lubricating system has been laid out for lateral accelerations of up to 2.5 g to ensure safe engine operation also under motorsport conditions.

Ceramic clutch

The Carrera GT is also the first car in the world equipped with a ceramic clutch. It is called PCCC or Porsche Ceramic Composite Clutch. The two-plate clutch diameter is only 169 mm / 6.65" and it allows a maximum torque of 1000 Nm. The clutch weighs just 3.5 kg / 7.7 lb which is 1/3 of the mass of the 996 Turbo clutch. And due to the low clutch diameter the mass moment of inertia accounts for only 1/10.


The extremely severe requirements with regard to the overall concept of the car excluded the installation of a standard transmission. In order to cope with the specific boundary conditions in terms of input torque, wheelbase, aerodynamics and center-of-gravity level, a completely new transmission was developed for the Carrera GT. It was decided to use a transverse transmission with integrated engine oil tank and cyclone separator for oil foam suppression. With this concept, the masses are concentrated at the center of gravity while providing space enough for the installation of a aerodynamic diffusor across the entire width of the car. Due to the need to use a clutch as compact as possible, the Carrera GT does not come with a two-mass flywheel – but the function of such a flywheel is provided nevertheless by the special design of the input shafts: the first main shaft is hollow, with a long and thin full shaft running inside as a spring rod. Together with the mass weight of the angle drive the two shafts acting as a torsion spring serve to absorb possible jolts coming from the engine, reducing transmission noise in the process.


The design was overseen by Harm Lagaay, Head of Design for Porsche AG at that time. Lagaay worked for Porsche from 1971 to 1977 designing the 924 among others and returned to Porsche in 1989 as head of the “Style Porsche” department in Weissach. He oversaw the creation of the 968, 911 993, Boxster 986, 911 996, Cayenne 955 and finally the Carrera GT. He retired from Porsche in 2004.

© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
Le Mans race track is the most natural environment for the Carrera GT, which is built on the know-how of the Le Mans racing cars. © Porsche
Walter Röhrl© Porsche
A tiny 76-litre luggage compartment can be found under the front hood, in the case you do not decide to place the roof panels there© Porsche
The simple-operation roof system consists of two individual carbon-fibre shells (2.4 kg / 5.3 lb each), which can be accommodated in the front luggage compartment. © Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
At its top speed of 330 km/h / 205 mph, the Carrera GT develops a downforce of approximately 400 kg / 880 lb on the rear axle© Porsche
Central locking magnesium wheels. Fronts 9.5x19" with 265/35-19 tyres (265/30 on concept) and rears 12.5x20" with 335/30-20 tyres© Porsche
PCCB Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes, 380 mm discs front and rear, 34 mm in thickness, about 50 per cent lighter than the grey-cast-iron discs of the same size© Porsche
© Porsche
Walter Röhrl in a Carrera GT, in front of the Porsche Leipzig factory customer welcome center© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
Carrera GT comes with the RDK tyre pressure monitor (Reifendruck-Kontrolle in German)© Porsche
In 2003 LED lamps were not so common yet © Porsche
© Porsche
Flat underbody ends with the diffusor© Porsche
© Porsche
The numberplate shows the power, a nice touch by the marketing team. © Porsche
© Porsche
Beauty in details© Porsche
This is Art.© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
The chassis and suspension of the Carrera GT has already proven its qualities under the toughest conditions, the concept being carried over from the 996 GT1, the winner of the 1998 Le Mans 24H© Porsche
“Carrera GT” is a name already extensively used in Porsche’s history, but never before on its own. The term “Carrera GT” was used with 356A Carrera GT, 356B Carrera GT and GTL, 904 Carrera GTS, 924 Carrera GT, GTS and GTR.© Porsche
3-piece rear window© Porsche
Nürburgring Nordschleife. The initially timed best lap was 7:32 and later 7:28.71 was achieved © Porsche
© Porsche
It takes 20.0 seconds to cover a kilometre from a standing-start© Porsche
The ground clearance is only 86 mm / 3.4"© Porsche
6-piston brake callipers front and rear (the concept car had 8-piston calipers in front and 4-piston at the rear)© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
Porsche Leipzig test track is just beside the factory where the GT was built. The cone-shaped building on the background is for welcoming visitors and for handing over the new cars to customers who have specified to receive their Leipzig-built Porsche at the factory© Porsche
© Porsche
Porsche 935-style side panel opening between the front and rear of the car© Porsche
Satisfaction that can be seen from the distance© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
Wooden gear knob tries to bring in the Porsche 917 feeling© Porsche
Positioned far up on the centre console, the shift lever is close to the steering wheel in the interest of superior sporting ergonomics© Porsche
Becker/Porsche Online Pro radio with integrated phone and simple navigation system. The sound is played through Bose speakers.© Porsche
Traction Control Off, a button for the bravehearts© Porsche
You could order the car without air conditioning system in order to save some weight and if you did wo, a smaller battery was installed (60 Ah instead of 80 Ah).© Porsche
The centre console sweeping upwards is also made of carbon-fibre and firmly connected to the chassis in the interest of extra safety. On top of the centre console is an extra-light, galvanised magnesium element housing buttons and switches. The gearshift lever with its ball-shaped knob made of laminated birchwood, in turn, bears testimony to the culture of motor racing in the old days. © Porsche
The composite carbon and aramide (kevlar) fibre seats weigh in at 10.3 kg / 22.7 lb© Porsche


The production of the Carrera GT was officially confirmed on January 8, 2002 at the Detroit Motor Show press conference. When the production was confirmed, the initial production plan was raised from 500 to 1000 supercars. Following great sales success, the target was raised even to 1500 cars, but finally 1270 cars were produced. The cars were made at the Porsche Leipzig plant between September 2003 and April 2006. In 2 years and 7 months approximately 2 cars were made each day. Carrera GT was one of the very few supercar projects in the world that was economically successful.

Carbon-fibre chassis part made at the ATR company in Italy. In addition to Porsche, ATR has produced parts for Ferrari F50, 575 SuperAmerica, Enzo, FXX, Lamborghini Murcielago, Alfa Romeo 8C, Mercedes-McLaren SLR, Bugatti Veyron, Maserati MC12, Lexus LFA and others. © Porsche
Cutting the ceramic clutch disc with a water jet at 3.000 bar pressure© Porsche
© Porsche
V10 block upside-down© Porsche
Power units were produced at the Stuttgart factory and then shipped to Leipzig © Porsche
Transmission with integrated engine oil tank © Porsche
Station 4: Completion and shipping © Porsche
Carrera GT assembly at the Porsche Leipzig factory © Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche

Concept car

The Carrera GT concept car was unveiled to the press on September 28, 2000 in Paris Louvre Museum. Public saw it two days later at the Paris Motor Show. As announced, if the car goes into production, at least 500 will be built. The announced specs were: 5.5-litre V10, 8200 rpm max engine speed, 410 kW, 600 Nm / 444 lb-ft, 90-litre tank, 1250 kg / 2756 lb, 331 km/h / 206 mph, 3.9 sec. 0-100 km/h, 9.9 sec. 0-200 km/h. With 19" wheels at the front and 20" at the rear, the tyres measured 265/30-19 and 335/30-20.

At the first glance the concept car is similar to the later production car, but if you compare it to the production car, the differencies can be found everywhere. © Porsche
© Porsche
Note the mirror and door opener that are different on the production car© Porsche
Fuel filler cap. The concept car had 90-litre tank and the production car got a 92-litre tank.© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
The concept car doesn’t have the lamps beside the exhaust pipes and is therefore more beautiful from the rear than the production car© Porsche
Note the engine covers that didn’t make it to the production © Porsche
The engine bay looks completely different from the production car © Porsche
© Porsche
Wheel nut wrench © Porsche
© Porsche
© Porsche
These headlamps didn’t make it to the production © Porsche
The fog lamps in the bumper were deleted before the car went into production © Porsche
Initial design of the mirror housing© Porsche
A visible design flaw - Walter Röhrl is not the tallest guy, but even he wouldn’t have the room for a helmet with the roof in position.© Porsche
Camera for filming your track days was a cool idea that didn’t make it to the production© Porsche
For the production car the side airbag unit was fitted from the Boxster© Porsche
The steering wheel was replaced by the 911/Boxster-style steering wheel for the production Carrera GT © Porsche
The cool-looking but maybe not so cool in real life digital instruments were replaced by a unit similar to the one in 996 © Porsche
The center console lost most of its buttons for the production car and got a more comfortable gear knob© Porsche
© Porsche
Secret photoshooting in California © Porsche


The initial dimensions were 4556 x 1915 x 1192 mm meaning the production car came out longer, wider, and lower© Porsche
© Porsche
5.5-litre prototype engine © Porsche
5.5-litre prototype engine with rev limitter set on 8200 rpm. The production car got a 5.7-litre unit and 8400 rpm scream.© Porsche
5.7-litre production engine © Margus Holland / Stuttcars.com
5.7V10 © Porsche
© Porsche
Small diameter clutch for lowest engine placement and therefore lowest center of gravity © Porsche
Double-plate ceramic clutch © Porsche
Transversally installed compact 6-speed gearbox© Porsche
© Porsche
Computer-simulated crash test © Porsche
© Porsche
Testing of air conditioning in the climatic wind tunnel which can provide -40 and lower temperatures. A turbine can operate in relation to the roller speed and can simulates the wind blast at up to 100 mph/160 km/h.© Porsche
Rolling chassis © James Herne
Double-wishbones with pushrod links © Porsche
Monocoque © Porsche
Carrera GT was the first production car in the world with a monocoque chassis and module frame made of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP), a principle Porsche has registered for a patent. © James Herne
The rear axle shows the same conceptual features as the front axle. The lower wishbone consists of welded H400 steel and is a bit longer. The aerodynamic wishbone profile is obtained by internal high-pressure metal forming. It is arranged in the diffuser air flow. © Porsche
Front fenders form 1-piece construction© Porsche
Underpanelling © Porsche
Ultra-strong CFRP body panels keep their form in a crash test © Porsche
© Porsche
In 2004 Automotive Division of Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) awarded Porsche with engineering excellence award for Most Innovative Use of Plastics© Porsche

© James Herne / Stuttcars.com

Continue to 918 Spyder

Mar, 05 – 14th birthday of the Carrera GT (2003)
Mar, 06 – 5th birthday of the Boxster 981 (2012)
Mar, 12 – 48th birthday of the 917 (1969)
Mar, 13 – 56th birthday of Ferdinand Oliver Porsche (1961)
Mar, 16 – 40th birthday of the 928 (1977)