And this wasn't the easiest car to drive, either. Thankfully, 9ff has replaced the ceramic clutch that is notoriously fragile with a racing clutch that makes it easier to get off the line, but it doesn't like low revs and grumbles, vibrates and jerks at low speed. "This car either likes to go or stop-there is no in-between," Fatthauer says. That's fine when you're drag racing in the Middle East, not so fine when you're trundling along behind a VW Bus at 30 mph for tracking photography.
Still, given its head, this car is incredible, a different league to the Carrera GT that stole all the plaudits just a few years ago. 9ff has slashed half a second off its zero-to-60 time, now 3.2 seconds, and it will keep going through 125 mph in just 8.5 and 185 mph in 17. Independent tests show the Veyron hits 185 mph in 18.5, and the 9ff slaughters other rear-drive cars like the Enzo Ferrari, Mercedes SLR McLaren and Lamborghini Murciélago LP640, with a top speed in excess of 230 mph. Theoretically, then, the Veyron will pass it in the end, but that would take several kilometers of flat-out running and a serious set of balls.
It's sheer violence to drive and feels like being tied to the end of snapped elastic. The traction control can't hope to contain the power and it would take real skill to keep this car on the road around bends. Fatthauer has fitted stiffer springs that work in harmony with the car's existing systems, and help it stick like a limpet if you don't push too hard, but the throttle is always a twitch away from burning traction and only a truly great driver could get the most from it on a mountain pass.
But that's not what it was intended for. It's a car with a specific purpose in mind, and one the customer was happy to pay the equivalent of $220,000 just for the conversion. "I'm hoping for at least a few more customers," Fatthauer explains. "Others have tried to this and we are the only ones to succeed."
It almost makes economic sense for Carrera GT owners, since once the Porsche is out of warranty a blown engine could cost as much as $147,000 to replace. 9ff's work comes with a two-year warranty and Fatthauer has pledged to send engineers out to Abu Dhabi and, if the worst happens and the engine blows, build the individual components himself.
Now that's service, and looked at through particularly rose-tinted spectacles, the 300-hp power boost and a near insanely powerful Carrera GT could actually work out a bargain, if you look at it that way. But that's a world away from the recession-hit everyman, for people that have very different problems than you and me.
Longitudinal mid engine, rear wheel drive
5.7-liter V10, 40-valve. 9ff twin-turbo system: Garrett turbos, lightweight pistons and balanced crank, custom intake manifold and exhaust, water-to-air intercooler, ECU remap
Six-speed manual, dual-plate racing clutch
Lowering springs, aluminum spring plates
Wheels and Tires
9ff GT-T, 10x20 (f), 13.5x20 (r)
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup,
275/30 (f), 305/25 (r)
Peak Power: 900 hp @ 7200 rpm
Peak Torque: 691 lb-ft @ 6900 rpm
0-62 mph: 3.2 sec.
Top Speed: 232 mph