"Coming to America"
Porsche sales are way off in the US this season. Automotive industry trade rags
are running stories of bloated inventories of new 911's and Boxsters. The Turbo
Cayenne is selling well because there aren't many of them to begin with. However,
there is one Porsche that has sold out in the US well in advance, long before the
first one was even built. For those who want one, there is a waiting list although
the allocation is spoken for. Better get on the list for 2005 now… that's how most of
the lucky individuals got their new GT 3 Cup cars, by stepping up almost a year
ahead of production.
Boom Dis Bank
The books may be cooked in Zuffenhausen but not in Weissach-Flacht. Porsche
has almost always made huge money on their customer racecars over the long
run. Constant upgrades, that must have new rear spoiler, the latest electronics. It
has been the same for almost 50 years, however, the modern era really began
with the introduction of the 911 3.8 RSR in 1993. Largely the idea of Jurgen Barth
after the collapse of Group C, the 3.8 RSR was a runaway hit and kept the
workshops in Flacht a' humming. Of course a series was needed in Europe for
these cars to run competitively, thus Barth, along with Stephane Ratel and Patrick
Peter formed the BPR Series. It didn't take the FIA long to get involved and the
natural progression from 3.8 RSR to GT-2 turbo to the GT-1 happened way too
fast. The ranks of the professional drivers in Porsches may have suffered but not
those who have kept the 911 alive in amateur racing with the Cup variant. The 911
Cup car began as a replacement for the Porsche Cup series that had been using
the 944 Turbo. What began, as a stripped down type 964 with a roll cage became
over the years a sophisticated racecar, capable of double duty in both amateur and
professional race series. And a profitable platform for Porsche.
Action in the North Atlantic
There are 30 new GT 3 Cup cars that will arrive in the US and Canada in a matter
of weeks. Porsche Motorsport North America's lot is just finishing being produced
and the first dozen have already been fetched from the factory and delivered to the
flughafen for the haul over the Atlantic. The firm of MSK /Kroll is handling almost all
of the Cup cars coming to North America. It is not an easy job, space is limited due
to the holiday season, customers want their car in this port, this airport, etc. But it's
why they get the medium bucks. If they could book space on Santa's sleigh, they
would do it.
One big reason for holiday panic is that several teams will be using the new GT 3
Cup for the Daytona 24 Hours and this means the early January test days. Toss in
the travel time for teams on the West Coast along with the work needed to make
the car comply with Grand Am's rules, well, let's just say tis the season for stress.
I call that a bargain…
OK Roger, it may not be the best I ever had but the new GT 3 Cup packs a wallop
for the money. For 118 thou and some change you get a 3.6 water-cooled six pack
six that comes in just under 400 ponies at 7300 rpm. A decent management
system, six speed limited slip, lots of carbon fibre, an interior steel cage that would
hold Hannibal the Cannibal, on board air jacks and center lock wheels. My favorite
is the homage paid to the 911R, the car that really got it all going for the 911 back
in the 60's, yep… ventilated rear quarter windows. They may not be as cool as the
original but they'll do.