The Carrera GT's roots can be firmly traced back to its predecessors, the 911 GT1 and LMP1-98 racing cars. In 1998 Porsche planned on a new Le Mans prototype for 1999. The car was initially intended to use a turbocharged flat-6, but was later redesigned to use a new V10 engine, pushing the project back to planned completion in 2000. The V10 was a unit secretly built by Porsche for the Footwork Formula One team in 1992 but had been shelved. The engine was resurrected for the Le Mans prototype and increased in size to 5.7-litres. Unfortunately, the project was cancelled after two days of testing for the first car, in mid-1999, mostly due to Porsche's wish to build the Cayenne SUV with involvement from Volkswagen and Audi, thus requiring engineering expertise to be pulled from the motorsports division. It was also speculated that VW-Audi chairman Ferdinand Piëch wanted Audi's new Le Mans Prototype, the Audi R8 not to face competition from Porsche in 2004.
Porsche did keep part of the project alive showing a concept car at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show, mainly in an attempt to draw attention to their display. Surprising interest in the vehicle and an influx of revenue provided from the Cayenne helped Porsche decide to produce the car, and development started on a road-legal version that would be produced in small numbers at Porsche's new manufacturing facility in Leipzig. Porsche started a production run of Carrera GTs in 2004, the first Carrera GT went on sale in the US on January 31, 2004. The Carrera GT is powered by a 5.7-litre V10 engine producing 612 horsepower. Porsche claims it will accelerate from 0 to 62.1 mph in 3.9 seconds and has a maximum speed of 205 mph although road tests indicated that in reality, the car can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds! The Carrera GT has a basic five colour paint schemes which included Guards Red, Fayence Yellow, Basalt Black, GT Silver and Seal Grey. Custom colours were also available from the factory. A traditional six-speed manual transmission is the only available.
Elements pointing to the car's stillborn Le Mans routes are abundant throughout the car. Attached to this gearbox is a Beechwood gear knob which pays homage to the wooden gear knob used in the Porsche 917 Le Mans racers. In typical Porsche fashion, the ignition is to the left of the steering wheel. This placement dates back to the early days of Le Mans racing when drivers were required to make a running start, hop into their cars, start them and begin the race. The placement of the ignition enabled the driver to start the car with his left hand and put it in gear with his right.
This example of the highly desirable Carrera GT was supplied new to Mexico by Lizen Motors (now Porsche Guadalajara) in 2004. The car arrived in the popular specification of GT Silver over Natural Dark Grey leather, and this example would spend just a couple of weeks in the country before moving to North America. Sold in June 2004 by The Collection, Florida, the car would remain in the local area for the following 3 years. As noted on the CARFAX, The Collection sold the car initially, where it would return to on four occasions for service work.
The car passed through Braman of Miami in May 2007 who serviced the car and then oversaw the export to its new owner in Holland. It was then serviced twice by Porsche Centre Leusden in Holland, where the car continued to see regular exercise. By the time of its second service in Holland, it had covered 15,350 miles.
In late 2014, the car was imported to the UK and registered by Mr Cox who immediately took the car to Porsche Centre Reading. Whilst carrying out a major service and clutch replacement, the car also had its lights converted to UK specification.
The car was used more sparingly in the UK. Arriving with 17,600 miles in 2014, the mileage has risen by an average of 750 miles a year and today presents with 24,050 miles from new. Throughout his ownership, the car was exclusively returned to Porsche Reading for service work and the MOT history in the UK further corroborates the mileage.
Having covered its 24,000 miles from new without the advent of modern paint protection film technology, it was determined that although original, the car’s paintwork exhibited many stone chips and was in need of a repaint. Rather than repainting in the original colour of GT Silver, the most common colour on Carrera GTs, we decided to go a slightly different route.
In great adoration of the colour-shifting 1997 Porsche 911 (993) Carrera S ‘Vesuvio’, the Carrera GT returned to Porsche GB at Reading once more. Fully stripped of all its body panels to complete the repaint, this Carrera GT today presents in ‘Vesuvio’ (W40). It stands apart as one of a handful of colours that spanned the 911s air-to-water cooled transition, available on early 996 generation 911s with which the Carrera GT shares some interior componentry.
The colour presents beautifully; a subtle warm grey which could at first glance be mistaken for Seal Grey, with purple shining through in direct sunlight, and featuring pleasant undertones of silver as the light wains.
Inspired by an original Paint To Sample example in our care, the decision was taken to match the original painted wheel design for the car, which could have been optioned in body colour or black in period. Requiring expert precision and hand masking over several weeks, these wheels were also completed in-house at Reading, ensuring the necessary precautions were taken to protect the cathodic coating of the forged magnesium wheels.
Colour selection was extremely important when instigating this process, and it was a priority to ensure the car would look its best, yet also remain faithful to how Carrera GT could have been specified from new. Vesuvio was selected, as it was an extra-range colour available at the time of the Carrera GTs production. However, to our knowledge, no example is known to have been originally built in this hue, and neither has any other car been refinished as such, making this Carrera GT wholly unique in its current livery.
This stunning Carrera GT is available to view at our showrooms outside London immediately.