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Future models - Porsche - Carrera GT

Porsche to approve V10 supercar

Shark-like: The Carrera GT will retain the sleek styling first seen at the Paris show.

Porsche's 320km/h two-seater set for a production go ahead in January

Porsche logo26 Dec 2001

PORSCHE'S wild Carrera GT appears set for production, with testing of prototypes underway in Europe.

The 320km/h convertible supercar was first revealed as a concept at the Paris show in 2000 and caused an instant sensation with its sleek, shark-like two-seat design.

The impressive mechanical specifications included an all-alloy 5.5-litre 415kW V10 engine mounted behind the seats and driving the rear wheels, with Porsche claiming 0-100km/h in under four seconds.

And the German sportscar specialist appears to have stayed faithful to the original concept with the version being developed for production.

Porsche chairman Wendelin Wiedeking is expected to confirm the Carrera GT is a goer at the Detroit show in January, where he is also due to pull the wraps off the company's first off-roader, the Cayenne.

European delivery in late 2003 is being mooted, with an asking price in the UK around $AUS750,000.

About 1000 customers worldwide are reputed to be lining up for the GT, although it is believed at least double that number need to be built if it is to be profitable - and Mr Wiedeking has reportedly said profitability is a must.

With the Carrera GT expected to be built only in left-hand drive just a few are tipped to make it into Australia, to be purchased by our richest car fanatics.

A report in the British publication Autocar says changes from the Paris concept include an all-weather targa roof, which is made out of removeable aluminium panels and stowed in the nose, foglights integrated into the headlight assembly, a steeper windscreen angle, hidden doorhandles and a clear tail-light assembly.

The retractable rear wing also rises higher and is wider and deploys at 120km/h to assist with grip at speed, working with a flat undertray and large rear diffuser to keep the Carrera GT hugging the road.

Reflecting the racecar thinking that's gone into the development process, the Carrera GT employs a light-weight carbonfibre monocoque, aluminium double wishbone suspension, specially-developed 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport tyres and huge cross-drilled ceramic brake discs which use massive eight-pot aluminium callipers up front.

The engine is a work of art in itself. Originally developed for competition, the 40-valve unit weighs in at just 165kg, has four chain-driven overhead camshafts, variable-valve timing, titanium conrods, forged aluminium pistons and dry sump lubrication.

And while the Carrera GT doesn't use such namby-pamby aids as electronically controlled damping and ride height control it will have an appropriately expensive leather and aluminium trimmed interior similar to the concept car, with features including air-conditioning and power windows.

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