The competing models for this car are; the Aston Martin V-12 Vanquish, Ferrari 575 GTC, lamborghini Murcielago, Maserati MC12, Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR and Saleen S7.
Detroit, Michigan - The first time I heard that phrase I was lazing in a swimming pool out in the country, drink in hand. The phrase implies, that while one is not rich, they are living the lifestyle of the rich and sometimes famous. Last week, I was doing just that.
The 2005 Porsche Carrera GT is the most magnificently designed and superbly built car I have ever driven. Yes, it cost $450,000, but if I won the lottery that is what I would buy to drive to Costco. Well, you have to save where you can, you know.
Life would be absolutely grand if I just got to drive the GT and went home, but no, I got the full monty - the total experience of being in car heaven. The night before the great event I went to dinner with the Porsche staff and who was there but Hurley Haywood, Craig Stanton and David Murry. Porsche driving legend David Murry (www.davidmurry.com) was my instructor for the day.
Hurley Haywood is the chief instructor at the Porsche Driving Experience, Porsche's official factory-sponsored driving school in Birmingham, Alabama. Haywood has five wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, three wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona under his belt. I've known Hurley since 1997 when we met in Scottsdale, AZ at the launch of the Porsche Boxster. Jerry Seinfeld, a Porsche nut, was there as well, ordering the first Porsche Boxster in the United States, a gray with maroon interior I am told.
Porsche set it up for us to not only drive every vehicle in their fleet, but they assigned one instructor to drive with us the whole day. My instructor was David Murry, 1995 SCCA World Challenge winner, 1994 IMSA Grand Sports Firestone Firehawk Series winner and 1985 SCCA Professional Sports Renault winner. Murry and Stanto drove as cc-driver in three different series, sending Murry to the podium 6 of the 9 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) races. I ran into him again in Arizona where we were teamed up and won a group race. Haywood is sort of like what you would think Paul Newman is like off-stage; cool and aloof, but put him in a car and he's like a banshee out of...
Murry is the kindest man with a killer instinct that I've ever met. He gave me the perfunctory two laps around in a Carrera and handed me the drivers seat. Patiently, he explained the finer points of driving fast cars, showing me the difference between cars without Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), encouraging me to go faster, allowing me to understand the track before I took the reins of the coveted Carrera GT.
After lunch I got the thrill of piloting the Carrera GT. It's really not as difficult to drive, but then I've got Murry talking into my helmet radio, talking me through the course. With a sumped 605 horsepower, 435 lb.-ft of torque, DOHC 5.7-liter V-10 transferred to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and a racecar-inspired carbon-fiber chassis, the Carrera GT was as at home on the track and feeling more like a low-flying aircraft.
As though we weren't full from the days events, I was given dessert; Murry took me through the S-curves at a pace that made the hillside blur. Never once did I feel scared.
There are cars out there that cost more than a home. This car, I could live in.