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Porsche 997 TT - Project Car

Pablo Mazlumian
Aug 1, 2008

Project 997 TT started life already classified as an exotic car.Yet we've still managed to make it significantly better. The words that come to mind when driving it are: "This car isn't fair." It feels like it can out-handle and stop faster than anything, ripping off the line in a sport-bike fashion, followed by a top end akin to the performance of a $1 million supercar.

To recap, Project 997 TT got a Fabspeed cat-back exhaust installed in part one, raising the 429 all-wheel horsepower baseline to nearly 450. In part two, the real fun began. Combined with a set of headers developed by Imagine Auto and Evolution Motorsports, GIAC's 91-octane software raised boost and ignition timing to bring power to a mighty 522 wheel-hp at 17 psi and acceleration so effortless it was scary.

Part three took aesthetics and braking performance to a whole new level with sexy Dymag carbon fiber wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza rubber, plus Brembo's 15-inch big brake kit (six-piston calipers up front, four-pistons in the rear). The finishing touches were a genuine Porsche GT3 bumper, modified by Imagine Auto to fit the turn signals, and a TechArt wing, rear window spoiler and rocker panels. With the outside complete, it was time to touch up the interior. We called MA Carbon.

With products made in its own facility in Belgium, MA Carbon has the largest interior-trim carbon fiber product line for Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche cars. The company uses both carbon molding and carbon lamination, but focuses on the latter with the 997 (since all the parts are snap-on, MA bases these products on factory Porsche components).

While carbon molding products appear raw and seem more suited a racecar, lamination looks cleaner and shinier, with a more consistent weave. For Project 997 TT, we ordered a full air vent set, center console and A-pillar panel, which includes the provision for side-view mirror adjusters. As an MA Carbon dealer, Imagine Auto carried out the work. Since each part is a carbon-laminated factory Porsche piece, the installation went smoothly. The retail price for everything came out to a little over $3,000. Not cheap, but carbonizing a 997's interior for the price of a cat-back exhaust puts it into perspective.

As if experiencing nearly 100 wheel-hp over the factory baseline wasn't enough, we decided to top out this month's playtime with GIAC 100-octane software, which increases power over its pump octane program by getting more aggressive with ignition timing in the meat of the powerband, but keeping the turbos regulated at the same 17 psi boost. While the car experiences a gut-wrenching 605 wheel-hp on a real cool run, Imagine Auto was able to reproduce consistent runs in the 580-hp range.

What's next? We're going to install trick coilovers that work with the electronically controlled suspension system. Then play with the engine some more. With such ridiculous torque down low (it makes 400 lb-ft at just 2800 rpm on a fourth-gear pull), there's some room to give in exchange for a torquier top end, while keeping the powerband totally street- and track-worthy. That said, Imagine Auto, Evolution Motorsports and GIAC will soon attempt to extract a little more power with a set of reworked turbos and retuned software.

Having tested other all-wheel-drive turbo Porsches in both rear- and all-wheel drive modes on the dyno, IA reports that testing in rear-wheel drive mode usually ups the horsepower figure another eight percent over all-wheel horsepower. That should give a better sense of how hard the engine is working to power all four wheels.

By Pablo Mazlumian
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