The contemporary Porsche is a strange animal. Its early incarnations were raw, minimalist machines reliant on highly skilled operators. Decades later, the Porsche has become a technological tour de force, a car capable of turning the average driver into a superman. Therein lies the quandary: has the modern Porsche become so good its driver is no longer an integral part of its performance equation? Some feel today's Porsche needs a sharper edge, a few extra serrations at the base of the blade. It needs to exceed factory-spec parameters. That's where Fabspeed can help.

The Fabspeed 997 TT is a good example of how to have the best of both worlds. Fabspeed Motorsports was started by Joe Fabiani, an enthusiast of Porsches and other exotics. It was in his hands that a customer placed this 911 Turbo to create a sort of Porsche hybrid, a car that would challenge the driver as much as the road itself.

To begin, the standard Turbo was outfitted with Fabspeed's standard performance package and Fabspeed/PES engine management upgrade. The performance package includes a turbo-back sport exhaust, intake, headers, and performance software calibration specifically designed to take advantage of the increased flow created by the bolt-on components. While these upgrades may seem basic, they go a long way in terms of performance increases. On 93-octane fuel, the standard performance package, combined with a pair of Evolution Motorsports boost recirculation valves (to prevent boost leaks), produces 521 lb-ft of torque at 3400 rpm, and 514 hp at 6000 rpm at the wheels on an AWD Dynojet.

No matter how fancy the technology, an engine is simply a big vacuum pump that needs to ingest and expel air as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is where properly designed intake and exhaust components come into play. The Maxflow intake gives each of the variable turbine geometry turbos its own 77mm carbon-fiber feeding tube and high velocity stack race air filter. In addition to the carbon tubes, the kit includes a dual-purpose carbon-fiber shield designed to direct cool air toward the filters while blocking radiant heat from the engine.

Getting the air into the system is as important as getting it out, and is especially critical on a turbocharged engine. Most companies focus on what happens after the turbo, forgetting that it is also critical to optimize exhaust gas flow from the engine to the turbo. Fabspeed saw the potential of replacing the stock turbo manifold and as such developed a set of equal-length headers that were designed to precisely match the cylinder head exhaust ports and the turbo inlets, increasing boost response and power across the entire rpm range. The Fabspeed headers feature 41.55mm mandrel-bent primaries that converge into a high-velocity cast stainless steel merge collector.

The worst thing you can do to any car is put on a sub-par exhaust. Imagine a runner not being able to breathe. A properly designed exhaust system is important to both vehicle performance and driveability.This is why Fabspeed invested extensive amounts of time and resources to develop the ultimate modular exhaust system designed to satisfy the most discerning consumers. The system features full T304 stainless steel Maxflow mufflers with 2.5-inch mandrel-bent piping. To maximize flow straight out of the turbo, the stock 400-cell cats are replaced with a pair of 200-cell German catalytic converters. The beauty of the Fabspeed Sport Exhaust Version 3 is its versatility, as the company offers two additional sound options to increase performance and sound that can be installed in under 20 minutes. These modular design features include an optional cat delete and muffler bypass for track use.

As vehicle electronics have advanced, the process of upgrading a vehicle's suspension and wheels has gone from a purely cosmetic exercise to a critical part of the performance package. Choose the wrong tire and you can end up in a ditch. Choosing the wrong wheel will result in excessive peer ridicule, not to mention decreased safety and performance. To ensure harmony with the drivetrain, electronics and TPMS system, Fabspeed equipped the 997 with a set of 19-inch fully-forged PES GP7s wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 2s designed specifically for Porsche applications. The wheels do more than keep the electronics happy; the GP7/PS2 combo offers a 10 percent reduction in unsprung weight, increasing steering response and improving braking and acceleration. Handling, as well as aesthetic appeal is also increased by lowering the chassis an inch with a set of H&R sport springs designed to work in conjunction with factory Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) for optimum handling.

If you look at the 911 Turbo and say it's perfect and should not be messed with, you can choose to leave it stock and that's your loss. For the other percentage that feels modern technology has taken the fun out of the driving experience, the Fabspeed 997TT demonstrates that as long as there are adrenaline junkies out there, companies like Fabspeed will answer the call.

2007 Porsche 911 Turbo
* Layout
Longitudinal rear engine,all-wheel drive

* Engine
3.6-liter flat six, dohc, 24-valve, turbocharged and intercooled. Fabspeed headers and turbo-back exhaust w/Maxflo mufflers, 200-cell catalytic converters and quad tips, dual carbon-fiber air intakes, Fabspeed/PES software, EVO MS boost recirculation valves

* Transmission
Six-speed manual

* Suspension
Porsche Active Suspension Management with H&R Sport Springs

* Brakes
Six-piston monoblock calipers, 350mm rotors (f), four-piston monoblock calipers (r)

* Wheels and Tires
PES GP7 8.5x19 (f), 11.5x19 (r) Michelin Pilot Sport 2, 235/35 (f), 305/30 (r)

* Exterior
All-fiberglass body, front splitter, rear diffuser, integrated rear wing

Peak Power: 514 hp @ 6000 rpm
Peak Torque: 521 lb-ft @ 3400 rpm
*Fabspeed data

We asked Fabspeed to describe its tuning methodology. What exactly makes these cars special?

"Vehicle manufacturers typically tune conservatively. Fabspeed/PES precisely adjust the ECU `maps' that affect parameters such as fuel, timing, boost pressure, and throttle response. The engine's safety checks are left intact. Part-throttle fuel and timing are optimized to deliver better highway fuel economy, as well as smoothness. The result is a car with better driveability and more performance. Our engineers tune under stringent test conditions on load-bearing all-wheel drive chassis dynos. Important engine data such as air/fuel ratios, cylinder knock activity, EGTs and so on are carefully monitored during testing.

"We think torque is a good thing. We create ECU programs for greater torque that's available at lower rpm. This gives crisp off-the-line performance that you can really feel. When you do an ECU flash, an exhaust system is recommended to keep the EGTs as low as possible. We tune cars specifically for the components installed. This is not a `one ECU flash fits all.' We encourage the customer to consider our complete performance package for balanced, reliable performance."

Fabspeed has been building performance parts and European tuner cars and in the United States Since 1992. The company's 16,000 square foot headquarters in Ambler, Pa., houses its development center, installation facility and showroom. All products are developed using a combination of dyno tuning and street and track testing. What Fabspeed doesn't build itself is sourced from some of the best suppliers in the world.

Fabspeed exhaust systems are constructed of mandrel-bent and TIG-welded T304 stainless steel. These systems utilize only the best German-built HJS tri-metal catalytic converters that meet or exceed factory standards. All systems provide measurable performance gains with sport-tuned sound and are built in the USA.

Suspension tuning ranges from mild street tuning to all-out race preparation. Fabspeed brings a combined 150 years of experience to the table to be able to deliver the level of performance even the most demanding drivers require. And while it may be known most widely as a Porsche shop, Fabspeed offers performance tuning for most European automobiles. Enthusiasts looking for anything from easy bolt-ons to full project vehicle treatments can find what they're looking for.

Fabspeed Motorsport
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