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Project Porsche Carrera GT3 - Tequipment Sport Enhancements

Part 3: Interior Enhancement; Our C2 Gets Some Sporty Cabin Upgrades And A Short Shifter

Rob Hallstrom
Nov 1, 2006 SHARE
Epcp_0611_01_z+project_porsche_carrera_gt3+new_shifter Photo 1/1   |   Project Porsche Carrera GT3 - Tequipment Sport Enhancements

After our project 911 received its first dose of GT3 refinement in our last segment (October 06), we turn our attention to the interior, where our project car is equipped with a number of Tequipment sport enhancements, including a short-throw shifter assembly.

While the 996 cabin is somewhat sporty in its standard trim, it is very basic and lackluster. Naturally, we decided to change that. It's amazing what a difference a few well-placed mods can make and as with the rest of the project, Tequipment, Porsche's own in-house line of specialized products, is used throughout. These highly crafted components are designed at the factory so each offers a precision fit and performance like no other. Nothing is better suited for your Porsche. As well, using Tequipment will not void any existing vehicle warranty when installed by a certified Porsche technician. Our car is out of warranty, but having a qualified, well-trained tech on the job ensures that every part has been installed correctly and by the book. Such was the case with our project assembly, handled by McKenna Porsche in Norwalk, California.

One of the most important changes was the steering wheel. The C2's standard four-spoke vinyl unit is about as base model as you get. It's thin and not very inspiring, not exactly what you want in one of the key driver input elements. After all, the steering wheel is your direct connection to the road and offers important driver feedback. Even when you're standing still, your steering wheel should provide a feel for the car and a sense of excitement. Our new GT3 wheel does that. More sporting in every respect, the additional padding expands the wheel diameter 2.4mm over the stock unit. The new wheel also features an ergonomically contoured design for a more natural and comfortable grip at ten and two. Unlike the old unit, the new wheel also features Porsche's gold crest. Our tech installed the wheel using a dedicated airbag module (sold separately). The module is unique due to the sportier three-spoke wheel configuration.

While some of the enhancement features were swapped for cosmetic reasons, including the front and rear GT3 seat belts (which are identical to the standard belts, only red) and a pair of GT3-branded stainless steel doorsills, a Tequipment short shifter was installed for its noticeably more refined performance characteristics. This is another key element that goes beyond simple aesthesis, where positive feel and good driver interaction is essential.

Shorter in throw, the shifter offers a reduction in lever travel of approximately 35 percent. As a result, the quick and seamless gear selection helped provide a more thoroughly dynamic driving experience. If I were limited to only two mods for this segment, the steering wheel and short shift package would be it. These two components made a world of difference and I recommend them highly. But we didn't stop there. The stock shift knob was replaced with an aluminum and leather wrapped ergonomically contoured knob with and integrated leather boot. The new ergonomically designed knob feels good in hand and also nicely compliments the steering wheel.

Last, we added a nice new pair of black floor mats with red embroidered Porsche lettering. The licensed Porsche trademark mats are about as good as they get, with two-ply nylon yarn construction, 5/16-inch pile height and a woven polypropylene backing.

We could have easily gone a step further by swapping out the seats, losing the rears and installing a GT3 carpet kit throughout the back. A GT3 roll cage was also up for consideration, but we chose to go a more conservative route for cost and practicality. I do drive the car fairly regularly and besides, my kids would never let me hear the end of it. They made claim to those tiny rear seats long ago and they can't both sit up front.

Still, all things considered I just may eventually go for it. It's not called Project Carrera > GT3 for nothing.

Project build costs
GT3 leather steering wheel (000-044-400-21-A28) $954.43 / $135.00 labor w/ airbag Driver's Airbag module (996-803-980-01-A28)$546.14 Short Shift kit (000-044-700-26)$486.89 / $405.00 laborLeather gearshift knob and boot (996-424-075-90-FGT)(996-803-981-04-N13) Left (996-803-982-08-N13) Right$463.53 / $270 laborGT3 stainless steel doorsills (996-551-984-91)$450.46 / $135.00 laborPorsche logo embroidered mats$125.00

Color-coordinate your cabinIn an effort to brighten the C2's dark cabin, as well as provide a unique appearance, we took the interior enhancement a step further and color coordinated the center console, center dash surround and upper fascia with the silver exterior. This was something I hadn't really considered until it was brought to my attention by McKenna's Service Manager Domenic Macchia. I figured it was a fantastic idea and was able to get the whole thing handled at McKenna's own collision and repair facility. Each of the trim components was carefully removed from the car and thoroughly prepped and painted. Everything was re-installed and tested for proper operation. The visual result is quite impressive. What was once a somewhat drab interior is now richly illuminated. There are various press-on trim pieces that essentially provide the same effect, including sporty carbon-fiber components; however, color-matching with the exterior is a wonderful way to tie in the overall aesthetic. To take it even further, the dealer provides a console delete plate that eliminates the CD trays and adjoining coin holder. This option opens up the area below the dash just like a true GT3, making it less obstructive and provides more lateral leg movement for increased comfort.

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By Rob Hallstrom
7 Articles

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