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Formula Motorsports

Half Million Reasons

By Michael Tashjian • May 15, 2015

OK, I’m a hundred north on price and the Carrera GT is the Prototype that isn’t, assembled in a town that will be.

For more than a half century, like some complicated and unusually savvy butterfly, Porsche has regularly dared writers/drivers to try and pin it down. Perennially, attempts have taken form of short stories, collections of local-color vignettes and sprawling, motor magazine epics. But the subject is so large that maybe the minimal approach is most effective: the simple seeming but densely layered subjective evocation, nearly free of proper nouns. Come with me on a day at Leipzig; test this ultimatum of automotive expression, along with GT2’s, Turbo’s, C4S’s and a dash of Cayenne for spice!

This UK excursion consists of an invited group of GT buyers and I, not being one of the “fortunate few”, tagged along as a “guest”. All organized to delight the crap out of us! Captains of Industry? NOT TODAY! Ahh, cars and race tracks; it is of Man’s first disobedience.

Part of the former East Germany and dubbed the “City of Heroes” for its role in the democratic revolution of 1989, Leipzig’s cultural roots stem from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. For centuries it rivaled Salzburg and Vienna as a center of European music and its Gowanda’s Symphony, founded in 1743 claiming to be the world’s oldest orchestra. Bach, Wagner, Mendelssohn and Goethe would set a scene from Faust in the Auerbachs Keller restaurant, a favorite watering hole. Within walking distance of our hotel lay the opera house, alongside a huge central market. Striding ever forward you face the astonishing railway station (Europe’s biggest).

The 450 acre Porsche complex in Leipzig, the production site for the GT, is one of the most advanced manufacturing facilities is the world. Built alongside, a new customer center offering a wide range of services including exhibition, race control, cinema and restaurant with panoramic vistas. The distinctive tower spears the Leipzig skyline, reflecting a symbol Porsche serves to this eastern German region.

2.5 miles in length, 12 meters in width, the FIA approved competition standard race/test circuit is inspired by some of the world’s legendary corners. The Corkscrew at Laguna Seca, Parabolica at Monza and Bus Stop of Spa Francorchamps are there, as is an off-road course of 6 Kilometers.

Chatting up a storm, our flight from Stansted brought about a festive occasion. Touring the plant was insightful yet one could not help but notice that Helmets and Piloti driving shoes were de rigueur. Approaching the three very long silver arrows, 10 cylinders barking to pincer levels, only to give way to skin tingling silence. Yes, we boys were given to keys to our playground and parental supervision was NOT the order of the day! Well, almost.

Seems as if the ADULTS had some ridiculous idea that we “kinder” would get in trouble if left on our own! Hah! Walter Rorhl was to be one of three drivers with marching orders from “Mom and Dad”; hands OFF the steering wheel! Indeed, he protested (sure) and was a no show, WE, didn’t care. My factory pilot whipped up a fine recipe through each drive, ultimately offering me an opportunity of getting up to speed much sooner than any solo trip I could muster. As playground rules go, I can’t blame them much, matter of factly, a factory GT pilot was quick to make the point of a U.S. “groupie” who had, only days before, “stuffed” aGT2 big time!

OK, just get me IN and get it ON. Wonderful course layout allowed us a true stretch of performance architecture, akin to my experience with 962’s. YES, faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, it’s EVERYTHING I WANT!!!!!!!!!!!!

GT’s right seat focus draws immediately to the retro “ball” shifter…Very ergonomic, hmm…Must be a 60’s term, yes?. Acceleration is steam catapult in feel, through all six flicks of the wrist. Achieving 200+ is child’s play in a “real” drivers hands. Absolutely FLAT is the order of turn negotiation. Neck exercise suggested. 3000 lbs, 10 pistons, 600 “prancing” horses; Enzo…He must allow a wave bye!

Between stints in the GT, I drove the pants off the rest of the stable, along with my friends Randy and Meyhrig. Randy drives great, Meyhrig is an ANIMAL. We cowboys shot up the town, retiring to the fascination of exhibition hall, loaded with “as run” race cars. These are machines left in original race condition saddled with dirt and grease, just what we boys LOVE! A playground without dirt, well, isn’t fun.

As “Mom and Dad” called the slightly soiled boys in for dinner, reflections of sheer enjoyment could be seen on each of our wind burned cheeks. Sitting among epicurean delights for a pre-orchestral tasting encapsulated an already delightful tour of assembly, testing, vintage Porsche examples set out for our pleasure. Jaded as I can be, in this “thing of ours”, please allow a replay of this day or just PINCH ME!