… With a couple of car launches – one for the whole world, and another just for Singapore
Sports car lovers, rejoice, for there’s a new version of one of the most enduring and iconic sports cars around, the Porsche 911 Carrera T. Based on the standard Carrera, the T includes some choice performance upgrades as standard and represents a purer, distilled form of driving, shorn of the need to chase performance figures and lap times. Engagement is the name of the game here, not outright speed.
The Carrera T was launched here on June 8, or “Sportscar Together Day” – Porsche’s name for its 70th birthday celebrations held worldwide. Why that specific date? It’s the exact day the very first Porsche, the 356 “no.1” prototype (below), was registered for the road way back in 1948 – the day Porsche was born.
In Singapore, this platinum jubilee – as well as the 30th anniversary of Porsche Club Singapore – was celebrated with a charity gala dinner at the Shangri-la Hotel, with over 300 guests in attendance.
Left to right: Francis Lee (MD Stuttgart Auto), Leon Liu (President, Porsche Club SG), Karsono Kwee (Executive Chairman, Eurokars Group) , Henrik Drier (GM Porsche Singapore)
A live auction was also held during the dinner, which included special items like Mark Webber’s race suit from Porsche’s 2014 LMP1 effort, Earl Bamber’s racing gloves that he wore in the 2015 Le Mans 24h race, as well as vintage whisky and wine and a limited edition Porsche watch.
All proceeds from this auction, as well as $70,000 from Eurokars Group Executive Chairman Karsono Kwee and $21,000 from Porsche Asia Pacific and Stuttgart Auto, were donated to the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.
But back to the car. The Carrera T harks back to a simpler age of motoring and attempts to capture some of the spirit of the 1968 911 T, which was a cheaper, back-to-basics version of the 911.
Unlike that car though, the Carrera T is more expensive than the base car: $500,888 before Certificate of Entitlement, or nearly $45,000 more than the Carrera.
You don’t get any extra straight-line go (the 370hp, 450Nm 3.0-litre turbo’d flat-six and 4.3 seconds century sprint are identical to the Carrera), but you do get as standard a host of performance and handling options aimed at sharpening the drive.
These include the Sport Chrono package, a crackly sports exhaust, 20-inch rims, and snazzy retro-looking Sport-tex part-fabric sports seats, all of which are normally cost-options.
Additionally, PASM sports suspension and rear axle steering, features not normally available on the base Carrera, are standard fitment and a cost-option respectively.
A limited slip differential (another non-Carrera feature) mated to a seven-speed manual transmission with a shortened final drive is standard internationally, but unfortunately all Singapore cars will come solely with the the still-capable but less engaging PDK dual clutch gearbox.
In a token attempt at weight saving, the Carrera T also features fabric door loops instead of handles, thinner rear glass, reduced sound deadening, and rear seat and infotainment system delete, although the latter two can be added back (wisely) at no extra cost.
The Carrera T isn’t quite the purists’ special many harcore car enthusiasts might hope for, but it is good value (relatively speaking; it’s still a $500k car), considering that all the above options, where available, are worth more than the T’s premium over the standard car.
Rather more excitingly, on the same day Porsche unveiled its 70th birthday present to itself, the 911 Speedster Concept. This is the fourth 911 Speedster to come out over the years, and also pays homage to another purists’ old Porsche, this time the 356 Speedster.
Out go the infotainment and air conditioning systems and in come a chopped-down windscreen, carbonfibre “double bubble” roof cover, carbonfibre bucket seats, bullet-shaped rear view mirrors and 21-inch Fuchs-style centre-lock wheels. Oh, and not forgetting the retro-tastic silver and white paint job.
Unlike the 930, 964 and 997-generation Speedsters before it though, this latest 991 Speedster doesn’t just use the drivetrain from a Carrera model, oh no. The 991 Speedster in fact features the howling 9000rpm 4.0-litre from the GT3, as well as the six-speed manual from the GT3 Touring. The chassis too, is essentially the same as the GT3 – you could essentially think of the Speedster as a “GT3 Roadster”.
Speedsters have traditionally been the crazy swansongs to an outgoing 911 generation, and given that test mules of the next 911 have been spotted undergoing extensive testing, it’s fair to say the current 991-generation’s days are numbered.
Although this Speedster is officially still just a concept, there’s a good chance that a production version will be made, albeit certainly in extremely limited numbers and for a significant premium. As far as birthday presents go, this one’s got to be one of the best.