The Porsche Carrera GT is a remarkable vehicle. As such, it requires remarkable service.
We stole Porsche Centre Oakville’s lead foreman Dirk Dunschede away from the lifts for a few minutes to ask him what it’s like to work on one of the brand’s most unique vehicles, the Porsche Carrera GT.
Hey Dirk! First off, who are you and what’s your title?
I can give my business card! (laughs) My name is Dirk Dunschede. I’m a workshop foreman at Porsche Centre Oakville and a Certified Gold Porsche Technician.
And what does Certified Gold mean?
Basically, there are four levels of the Porsche Certified Technician program. When you first start with Porsche—assuming you were already a decorated technician with another brand or otherwise qualified—you become a technician. The next step is to become a Bronze level technician, which involves a written test. Then you go for your Silver level and that involves a hands-on and a written test. And then you go for Gold, which is a written test and a hands-on as well.
Is someone watching you doing these tests or something?
They are, yes. They are always done at a Porsche Training Centre, and a lot of the times it’ll only be four people at a time, each in an isolated, individual scenario. You have a certain amount of time to evaluate four different problems and come up with all of the information you need in order to answer these four issues. Usually it’s a matter of an hour or 45 minutes per problem, and you have to document everything and supply everything you need to solve the issues, just like you would in the real world.
So what’s so special about the Carrera GT?
One of the most special things about the Carrera GT is that it was the first supercar that Porsche built that used a radically different chassis. It was all carbon fibre monocoque, basically three sections that you bolted together to create one body. So you have the centre monocoque, the front end and the rear end, and they’re all bolted together.
It was also one of the first times that Porsche used a lot of pure racing technology in a production car. Up until then, the 959 was probably the pinnacle of their engineering, but for that they basically took a road car and stuffed a bunch of extra engineering into it to make it incredible. This was a completely, radically different vehicle that they used to push the boundaries of all of their engineering. And it would trickle back into their other production cars.
It was a huge test for the state-of-the art technology that they wanted to bring into the road going cars.
Is it true that only some Porsche technicians can touch the Carrera GT?
You need to be a Certified Gold Technician to work on the Carrera GT. Originally the Carrera GT required technicians to receive even more specialized training, which you had to go to Porsche to receive training because it was such a radically different vehicle than all of the other models they had in production… Today, however, many of the cars don’t have warranty anymore, so theoretically any technician can touch them.
But we still have three GT-Certified technicians in our shop. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve worked a couple dealers in Florida and in Toronto, and I’ve had my hands on them a bunch of times. It’s pretty neat.
And what’s it like to work on?
It’s such a unique car and a little bit irksome in a sense that if you want to access the engine, there’s about 1,000 fasteners that need to come loose and they’re all different lengths. You have to be really organized and particular in laying out how you disassemble so that when you reassemble it goes back in the right place.
Also, the car is absolutely amazing once you’re moving at cruising speed, but it’s a real chore to drive in stop-and-go traffic. It’s the clutch. It’s a super lightweight, multi-disc clutch that’s worth about $10,000, and if you slip it, you burn it. I think I’ve seen one out in under 200 km just from incorrect driving style. So the biggest problem is when you’re in stop and go traffic you’re always worried that the person behind you is going to rear end you because you’re trying to feather it, trying to be so gentle on this clutch. Once you’re moving, the car’s a rocket and it’s just incredible.
Anything in particular you love about the car?
For me it’s just an overall appreciation of the actual engineering of the car. It’s kind of like artwork, how it goes together. It really is the next closest thing to working on a race car.
Date Posted: February 16, 2018