You have the Cayenne to thank for the V10 Porsche Carrera GT

The Porsche Cayenne SUV might not be the enthusiasts choice, but it did play a big part in delivering the V10-power Carrera GT supercar.

The Porsche Carrera GT remains something of a high watermark for top-flight Porsche supercars. While the 918 Spyder is mighty impressive and a technological marvel, the raw intensity of its V10 predecessor is still lusted over. But did you know that the Porsche Cayenne SUV was an unexpected contributor to the birth of said supercar?

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Our story actually begins long before the Porsche Carrera GT or Cayenne was even a twinkle in their designers eyes. During 1992 Porsche were covertly working on a brand-new V10 Formula One engine to sell to customer teams and replace the disastrous V12 efforts of 1991. However, rising costs ultimately spelled the end for Porsche in F1 despite its TAG-era success with McLaren and much of the V10 development completed. The engine was shelved and forgotten about for years.

In the late 1990s Porsche revived the V10 engine project for a new Le Mans racer that was under development. The now 5.7-litre unit was being honed into a Le Mans champion, but potential regulation changes and the need to divert engineering talent to a new project left this engine at the wayside once again. What was this big important project? The Porsche Cayenne.

Porsche were committed to the Porsche Cayenne being deserving of its badge and so made use of some of its most talented engineers. However, those same engineers were unhappy that the V10 engine they had worked so hard on was to be wasted. It was decided that to celebrate the V10s engineering achievements that a 5.5-litre version would be put into a show car for the 2000 Paris motor show.

Dubbed the Porsche Carrera GT, this mid-engined supercar stunned crowds and caught the attention of the world’s media. Initially Porsche had no intention to put the Carrera GT into production, but the volume of interest forced them to consider a business case. Thanks in part to the success of the Porsche Cayenne, the German brand decided it would invest in the development of the new V10 halo car.

The completed Porsche Carrera GT was revealed to the world in 2003 with a 5.7-litre V10 engine producing 604bhp. This car competed with the fastest supercars in the world thanks to a 0-62mph of 3.3 seconds and plenty of motorsport technology. 1,270 Carrera GTs were built with a price tag of £330,000. However, if you want one today you’ll need more than double that sum.

While the Porsche Cayenne splits opinion amongst enthusiasts, without the performance SUV we might never have seen the V10 Carrera GT.

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