Joining the Exclusive World of Porsche GT

After 20+ years of wanting, 5+ years of savings, 2+ years of searching, and 9 months of waiting, I am now officially a member of the Porsche GT club. My ticket in is a custom ordered 2022 718 GT4. While it is not really a club, getting your hands on a brand-new Porsche GT car is harder than getting into most country clubs. Here is why, and my journey to getting my dream car:

Porsche’s GT road car division is headed by Andy P, aka “Mr GT.” His job is to take Porsche sport cars and make them into street-legal race cars for the road. His partner in crime is Thomas L, who leads Porsche’s Motorsport division and is responsible for the race cars you see on TV. Think 24 Hours of LeMans, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and the 12 Hours of Sebring. The two teams work together to create near identical cars for different purposes: one that is street legal and one that will be raced competitively. This required process works in harmony because FIA rules dictate that GT-class cars have to be built based upon road going cars with limited modifications. I was told by several manufacturers that building race cars and their road going counterparts is a loss leader. “Most people buying $100k+ cars don’t want to daily or even weekend a track car, because they are terribly uncomfortable.” But manufacturers have to do it. The most recent GT marriages include the 911 GT2 RS and GT2 Clubsport, the 911 GT3 and GT3 Cup Car, the 718 GT4 and GT4 Clubsport. Both the street legal and race ready GT cars are likely not very profitable for Porsche because they are low-volume vehicles, but they represent a marketing play to get people to pay attention to brand through motorsports. Race GT cars on Sunday, sell regular cars/SUVs on Monday. This means that for the rest of us gear heads, we can get an insanely great track cars directly from manufacturers at a seemingly bargain price. A seemingly bargain price because true Porsche factory race cars designed for the World Endurance Championship will cost you $300,000+. This motorsports pedigree combined with the fact that all Porsche GT cars are limited production vehicles (even if they are not numbered), means that Porsche GT cars are the most sought after models in the 718 and 911 line up.

My journey towards GT ownership started when I was in high school, drooling over a Porsche race car (996 GT3) in a magazine. However it was only in the past few years that I started really thinking about getting one. I was on my first Porsche, a super low miles 986 Boxster S with RUF upgrades, but I was craving something more. Something faster around the race track and autocross circuits. The GT4 is what my heart desired because I like the modern mid-engine layout and Motorsport pedigree. As a racing aficionado, it is super cool to know what you are driving won a championship. I intend to do amateur auto racing with my GT4, so the motorsports pedigree is extra special. The GT4 costs $60k less than the GT3, however they both (991 GT3/RS) share suspension, brakes, drivetrain components. So in my book, it is the best bang for the buck Porsche you can get… if you can get one!

My first stop on the road to ownership was the closest Porsche dealership to my office. There, the salesman told me that I needed to be a long term high value Porsche GT customer for them to accept a custom order on a new GT4. He offered to sell me a used car instead. My next stop was the Porsche dealer closest to my house. There the salesman told me that he would sell me a GT4, but I need to give the dealership a $30k premium. Both dealers made me feel like I wasn’t worth their time. I proceeded to contact two more nearby dealers with similar answers. I asked a couple friends with GT cars about how they got there cars: one paid $100k over sticker to get his GT2 RS and the other was forced to buy his GT3 used.

By this time, I was thinking that buying a brand-new custom-ordered GT4 just wasn’t in the cards for me. I was even considering alternatives as I didn’t want a used car nor be price gouged. However a friend who works for a different automotive manufacturer suggested that I contact Jamie from Porsche Naples. Jamie was eager to make my custom order GT4 dream come true. He was transparent about the process and enthusiastic to talk to me. To top off the incredible experience, Jamie is also a true car enthusiast, so the buying process was like working with a friend versus a sales guy. Porsche Naples is located only a few miles from my Dad’s house, but I would travel cross country to replicate the buying experience at Porsche Naples.

In July of 2021, I pulled the trigger and placed a deposit on a 718 GT4. The next step was to play the waiting game for an allocation. Dealers get a limited amount of GT cars every year, so an allocation is Porsche’s way of saying we reserved a car for you. Every dealer get a different allocation set based upon sales history.

Four and half months passed when in November of 2021, Jamie called with the good news: You are getting a 2022 model allocation! I was beyond excited to be getting the vehicle. I had a good idea of the spec I wanted, but Jamie also made valuable recommendations to enhance the car’s appearance. For instance he convinced me to get yellow seat belts to match the yellow door straps. Looking back, I am really glad I checked that option box! What I ordered is a bespoke car with wheels, seats, interior trim, stitching, and materials tailored to my tastes. And of course being a GT car, pretty much all of the performance options were standard equipment.

Shortly after getting my allocation notice, I received an email from Porsche with a link to track my build. The tracker detailed every step of my car’s journey, from building to delivery. The Porsche Tracker website and app made the order process more enjoyable because I could get semi-real time updates on my car. Whereas when ordering cars from other manufacturers, I had to bug the dealer to get updates. On the flip side, the Porsche Tracker made the wait seem longer because I was constantly thinking about the car. The app also estimates your delivery timeline, so you are just counting down the days.

In January of 2022, when my car was finally being built, I received photos of it moving along the assembly line. If you ever had a child, I equate these photos to the ultrasound images. You know the little guy is there, but you can’t quite hug him yet.

Fast forward to March, and my 2022 Porsche 718 GT4 finally arrived the dealer. It was on a Saturday, which meant that I had to wait until Monday for Porsche Naples to clean the car and do a final pre-delivery inspection. That Saturday and Sunday was like the night before Christmas; I couldn’t sleep in anticipation. When Monday, the delivery day, finally arrived, it was a surreal experience. I was almost shaking as I couldn’t believe my eyes. My very own, custom-ordered, Porsche 718 GT4 was ready to go home. Driving it off of the dealer lot was magical.

At the time of writing this story, I have owned the car for 5 days. It feels infinitely more special than I anticipated with its aggressive stance and rear wing. It is still being broken in, so I haven’t floored it, but I can tell that this GT4 is ready to roar. The 4.0L naturally aspirated flat-six engine sounds incredible putting around town, the dual-clutch transmission shifts in a blink of an eye, the steering is incredibly precise, and the car hugs corners like their is no tomorrow. I will be taking the car to its first track day in May at the famous Sebring Raceway, where it will really shine. After all, it was born to be a track car. I also plan on racing it in the Street Racing Made Safe Autocross Series Presented by Cosmo Tires at Homestead Miami Speedway.

What is odd is that I have tested multiple Porsche GT cars over the years as a journalist, including a GT3 RS on track, but this little GT4 beats all of them with excitement… maybe because it is mine 🙂


I want to send a big thank you to Jamie at Porsche Naples for helping me make my GT dream come true, as well as to Andy Preuninger (aka “Mr GT”) for developing such an enjoyable machine.

Note: I did not receive any compensation from Porsche Naples, Jamie, or Porsche North America for writing this article. I am simply a huge fan of their dealership after they helped me secure my dream car.

Testing the Cosmo MuchoMacho on B9 Audi S5

Tires are tires… or so they say. As a young, broke college kid, I dabbled in used tires, and wrapped my wheels in whatever I could find. Paying $300-$400 for high-performance Michelin or Pirelli tires versus paying no more than $50 for a used tire just seemed like a no-brainer. It worked – having a car with three or four different brand tires did the job of getting me around campus, so I didn’t bother putting more thought into it.

It was not until I splurged on upgrading the stock 18 inch wheels on my 120k mile E46 M3 to 19 inch Competition wheels did I actually consider mating new rubber with new wheels. Splurging was splurging, so I went with the tire-shop recommended Toyo Proxies all around, via an aggressive, staggered fitment, 10mm wider than stock in the front and the back. The result? Handling was a thing of beauty, driving was a pleasure, and finally, I started getting the hang of this idea of new vs. used tires, and actually bothering to match all four. Click Here To Continue Reading

This Is Why I Switched From The Porsche Dealer To An Independent Mechanic

This is not a paid review. I did not receive any compensation for telling this story.

Like most automotive journalists, I drive a press vehicle as my daily driver. It is awesome driving the latest and greatest, including vehicles ranging from family wagons to super cars. But being a car guy and a track day enthusiast, I have to own at least one car.

A little over 5 years ago I purchased an out of state 2001 Porsche Boxster S with 20,000 miles on the odometer and detailed service records from the previous owner’s local Porsche dealer. Having drank the manufacturer cool-aid, I thought the dealer was the best way to go. So for five years, my baby went to the dealer for regular oil changes, brake flushes, and minor wear and tear item repairs. I knew that I was likely paying more, but I was also getting the free lattes and cookies, a Porsche loaner vehicle, and the piece of mind that the mechanic working on my car should be a Porsche expert… but the later is not always the case.

A month before the annual Porsche Parade (The Porsche Club of America’s National Convention), I noticed a consistent harsh noise every time I made a high speed tight left turn while applying the throttle. This noise was especially troublesome because I was planning to enter my Boxster into the club’s autocross race during Porsche Parade. So I dropped my baby off at the local Porsche dealer in South Florida to be diagnosed and they gave me a shiny new Macan to drive. A week later the dealership’s Service Advisor called me up and said that my issue was related to suspension components. $2,000 later my vehicle was fixed and ready to be picked up. Assuming that my Porsche was in tip top shape, I drove leisurely on the way home and my car sat in the garage for a couple weeks.

Fast forward to Porsche Parade week… it was finally time to test my skills in the autocross competition at Palm Beach International Raceway. Every left turn, my stomach twisted as my car screeched a harsh noise. I instantly knew the problem was NOT fixed. Luckily the Porsche community is an amazing group of individuals, and one of my friends at Parade recommended a local independent mechanic who is experienced with working on first generation Boxsters. I was hesitant to make the jump, but I was disappointed that my local dealer, who should know everything about my car, didn’t fix the problem the first time – especially after having my car for over a week.

The following Monday I visited Foreign Affairs Motorsport and met with Bobby, the owner’s son. You could immediately tell that they are true gear heads, with automotive memorabilia and motorsports trophies on nearly every wall of the front office. Their passion is Porsche, but other European brands were also in their shop: a Lamborghini, a Bentley, and several BMWs. I told Bobby what my Porsche’s symptoms were and the history of the problem. To my pleasant surprise, he asked me to take him for a ride in order to reproduce the noise – the dealer never offered this. We drove the vehicle around the block and Bobby almost immediately had an idea of what was causing the problem – it wasn’t a suspension noise. He then put my car on the rack and conferred with his head mechanic. Two years ago, a Porsche 911 Turbo was experiencing the same problem on the race track. The culprit was that the transmission mounts went bad on one side. How could the dealer have missed that? Bobby brought me into the shop and showed me how with his hands he could giggle the section back and forth. The root of my problem was a $1,000 transmission mount issue versus a $2,000 suspension problem.

During his team’s inspection of my vehicle, the mechanic also noticed that my water pump was leaking and that I had a small oil leak. Without asking, Bobby personally showed me the leaks. My local Porsche dealer never let me into the active shop. While both problems were minor, both could lead to catastrophic engine problems in the future. How could my local dealer have missed this too??? I guess they were too focused on selling me a new Porsche.

After this experience, Foreign Affair Motorsport has my business for life. With that being said, there are two instances where I wouldn’t use them: 1) If I am driving a new car where the parts and labor are covered under a manufacturer’s warranty. 2) If I am driving a vehicle that they don’t service. I.E. American and Japanese cars.

Tips for picking an independent mechanic:

  • Check the shop’s references. Do you have a family member or a friend who has had good experiences with the shop? If not, check the shop’s Yelp reviews.
  • Go to a shop that specializes in your type of vehicle. Do they have similar vehicles on the racks or parked outside? Don’t just look at their website, a mechanic who is use to working on your vehicle will be able to troubleshoot the root of the problem quicker.
  • Pick a shop that wants to educate you. Does the mechanic show you the bad part? Does the mechanic offer preventive maintenance advice in order to prevent major problems in the future.

Could NASCAR go electric?

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 22:  Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)

HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 22: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)

I came across an interesting article this week discussing the idea of NASCAR switching to “All Electric” motors. This recommendation was given by none other than Bill Nye, the science guy.

Nye says he was “Depressed” at his last race as he watched the cars run on the technology of yesterday, rather than the technology of today like Tesla operates on.

But, is this even a relevant discussion? Isn’t part of the experience of auto racing in general the “thrill” of the motors and the “smell” of the fuel? And what about sponsorship? This would drastically destroy the gasoline and oil companies, possibly causing a major stock market issue.

So then, is there a way to do both and slowly integrate electric into full time? What if NASCAR began using electric motors in the lower series or allowed electric motors to race with the fuel of yesterday, would that be an even trade to an industry that is established?

I have to believe we are a long way away from seeing electric motor racing in NASCAR or any other major auto racing event. While brands like Tesla have changed the world, the world isn’t quite ready for “quite motors” on a racetrack. I do believe, however, that this would be an excellent opportunity for groups like Tesla to form a new style of auto racing on a more lower level. Like how ARCA is the start for NASCAR, Tesla could create their own IROC style race featuring all electric cars. That would be the best option for integrating today’s technology into auto racing, rather than shoving it down the throat of current race fans who seem to have no interest at all in electric.

The Tesla Roadster

The Tesla Roadster

Nye said in a recent interview that “NASCAR uses gasoline-burning instead of electron-flowing. I wish NASCAR were more like NASA. I wish NASCAR were more about the future instead of the past. I wish NASCAR set up Grand Challenges to inspire companies and individuals to create novel automotive technologies in the way NASA does to create novel space technologies.”

People don’t like change, but will accept new ideas over time. Rather than “all electric NASCAR”, let’s try a small circuit of electric racing until it becomes popular enough to go full time. Something like the recent “Formula E” concept or the 2013 test for Tesla in NASCAR is a good start, so long as they are their own series.

Then, and only then, will a change of that magnitude actually occur.

 

Kurt Busch shows interest in the INDY 500

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 21: Driver Kurt Busch talks with reporters during the NASCAR 2016 Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour on January 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bob Leverone / NASCAR via Getty Images  (Photo by Bob Leverone/NASCAR via Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, NC – JANUARY 21: Driver Kurt Busch talks with reporters during the NASCAR 2016 Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour on January 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bob Leverone / NASCAR via Getty Images (Photo by Bob Leverone/NASCAR via Getty Images)

With the 100th anniversary of the INDY 500 coming in 2016, Kurt Busch is considering the idea of getting back into INDYCAR, especially for the 500.

Busch told Autoweek that “The Indy 500 is on the back burner. That’s especially true since it’s the 100th running. There’s a lot of sponsorship opportunities, be it Haas Automation, Chevrolet or Monster Energy.”

Busch finished sixth in the 2014 INDY 500, running with Andretti Autosport. He believes that he can pull together the backing to get a deal but he’s less optimistic about finding a car that will give him what he needs to get to the front.

Busch says his main focus is to continue to build up his team with Stewart Haas Racing and the # 41 car, with the goal of getting into the Chase for 2016.

Michael Andretti, of Andretti Autosport, has said in previous interviews that he is interested in running an extra car for Busch in the future. At this time his team already has three cars filled for 2016 with drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Carlos Muñoz. However, they do routinely field additional entries for the 500.

Up close with Toyota Racing at the Daytona 500

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Toyota invited me to Daytona Speedway to get a first hand look at how Toyota Racing has impacted NASCAR. The sport was traditionally exclusive to the big three American automotive manufactures (Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge), but in 2006, Toyota joined pit row for the Sprint Cup and the Xfinity Series. Toyota racing teams have gone on to win over a dozen titles. 

My experience at the track offered a unique look at what goes into creating a winning NASCAR team. I got to meet with drivers, crew chiefs and an engineer from Toyota Racing Division. I also got to drive a Toyota Tundra around Daytona Speedway during driver introductions. Here a few fun tidbits:

  • The engines used in NASCAR is specifically designed for the sport by Toyota Racing Division.
  • NASCAR puts restricter plates on the race cars for select tracks, such as Daytona.
  • The naturally aspirated V8s used in the Toyota NASCAR cars produce upwards of 750 horsepower – even in the trucks.
  • The Truck Series vehicles handle better than the Xfinity and Sprint Cup cars because the trucks produce more down force. The cars go faster though.
  • Most NASCAR drivers start out racing dirt track, versus Formula One drivers who start out racing Go-Karts.