The 700 Club

Intergalactic power, two street-legal 997 Turbos, and one pro racer take to VIR.

April 8, 2010
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Seven-hundred horsepower. Seven… hundred. Whispering it a few more times to yourself doesn’t make it seem any less daunting. Consider for a moment that it exceeds the horsepower of two new Carreras! What will the first foot-to-the-floor spin to redline in second gear feel like? Nauseating?

Two gleaming 700-hp 997 Turbos sit in the paddock of Virginia International Raceway, waiting to answer the question. Today’s mission: Pit AWE’s 750R against TPC Racing’s 775 Blitzkrieg on road and track. What we want to know: Which best embodies the dual-nature “tuner Por­sche?” After all, lap times aren’t everything when it comes to street cars.

Excellence regular Bob Chapman will help assess road-going performance while ALMS driver David Murray will help assess track performance at VIR. The ground rules are simple: No slicks, one set of tires for both tests, valid registrations and insurance, and no tweaks other than tire-pressure adjustments between the street and track tests.

We’ve all read articles about high-power cars that try to convey the feeling that such power imparts. But without personal experience of those g-forces, we’re forced to think about it in terms of something we have experienced. Is 700 horsepower like that vague recollection of the first time you crossed the 100-mph threshold. Is it laugh-out-loud fun? Or is it like the time you first did something fearless, like jumping out of an airplane — an electric feeling that is simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating?

Like many creations of its kind, the TPC 775B is a reflection of its owner. On first glance, it’s as understated as any Porsche can be. Well, any in Guards Red, anyway! It looks like it could have just rolled off the showroom floor. The only visible modifications are the stance, GT2 wheels, and a small sticker with the company logo. In other words, it’s a sleeper.

Owner Michael Levitas is a bit of a sleeper, too. The easy-going Baltimore native is a Grand-Am champion and a Daytona 24-hour winner, but he spends most of his days at his company, TPC Racing. He gets there in this car, his daily driver. Race wins, and especially championships, require attention to detail and Levitas has it. Ask him about the development of the 775B and he launches into a high-octane discussion of custom-valved shocks, proprietary springs, the impact of front versus rear spring rates on a 997’s handling, and how optimal setup differs from previous 911 platforms — complete with hand gestures that only race-car engineers can understand…

He says TPC achieved 700 horses on pump gas by modifying the turbochargers with larger compressor wheels, with major (exducer) and minor (inducer) dia­meters enlarged by 1.5 mm and 2.0 mm respectively. TPC also modified the turbine in an effort to create a wide torque plateau for a claimed 600 lb-ft available from 4000 to 6500 rpm. Says Levitas: “Our turbo is more efficient than a factory GT2 unit by one-third.”

TPC designed and built its own intercoolers, moving from Por­sche AG’s tube-and-fin design to a sturdier and significantly larger (by 52 mm) 127-mm hybrid bar-and-plate core with tube-and-fin type internals. Levitas says the design significantly improves torque at lower rpm. The intercoolers bolt into the factory positions and use lightly modified factory ducts. The exhaust system is a collaboration between TPC and Europipe.

Also from Issue 183

  • Road Test: 2010 GT3 RS
  • 2010 Nürburgring 24-hour Preview
  • 911T 2.2 vs. 911E 2.2 vs. 911S 2.2
  • Rare Type 597 Jagdwagen Driven
  • Interview: Porsche CEO Michael Macht
  • 918 Spyder Hybrid Preview
  • Tuned 993 Turbo Takes on 997 Turbos
  • 997S PDK Racer
  • Market Update: 356 and 912
  • 12 Hours of Sebring 2010
  • Boxster Spec Racing
  • Project 914 3.6: Reassembly
  • Cheap 986/996 Remote Key Fix
  • Tech Forum: IMS Replacement, Prt 1
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