Benjamin Chen, one of the founders of the goldRush Rally and in the news recently for hitting 246 mph in his Veyron, is a collector of cars with the desire for each to be the best of the best. While he is known for having a primarily white collection, his latest addition stands out even more than usual.
He has recently added a gorgeous blue Gemballa Mirage GT (#23) to his collection. The color scheme comes from his first exotic car, a 2007 Porsche Turbo, which he and his father purchased together. To honor his late father, he plans on having every two-door Porsche finished in this very color.
Ben recently took the time to tell us a little more information about his Mirage GT, which can be found below, along with images of the car taken by Kai Dalibor.
Model: Carrera GT
Modifications: Gemballa Mirage GT #23
The Porsche Carrera GT was the pinnacle of the super sports car genre in its time, and set a Nürburgring lap record for production cars of 7 min 32 sec in 2004. Just 1,270 cars had been made when production ceased in 2006.
The MIRAGE GT is sold as a turnkey GEMBALLA model based on the Carrera GT, and featuring unique body, interior, chassis and engine modifications developed by GEMBALLA engineers to push the boundaries of performance and style. Aerodynamics is a crucial element for such a high-velocity automobile, and GEMBALLA conducted extensive wind tunnel testing to ensure improved stability for MIRAGE GT at speed. At the same time, air flow into, through and out of specific areas of the bodywork addressed the greater engine and brake cooling requirements. GEMBALLA continued what Porsche began, with extensive use of carbon-fiber in the bodywork and chassis. Advanced digital measuring equipment was used to dimension the base car allowing for a perfect fit of all new components. The three larger air intakes, which extend over the entire width of the new front bumper, and the recessed door elements take their styling cues from the famous GEMBALLA AVALANCHE. The first generation AVALANCHE made its debut in the mid-1980s, and was based on the Porsche 911 Turbo, establishing a design and performance of the AVALANCHE provides the pedigree that continues with the MIRAGE GT.
Suspension / Brakes
Innovative suspension technology with a wide range of adjustability to cover road and track use lays the groundwork for the MIRAGE GT’s safe deployment of its additional engine power output.
This uprated suspension uses race-style coil-over units with spring seat height adjustment, and independent adjustment for the bounce and rebound settings of its gas-filled dampers. A practical feature incorporate into the suspension is driver controlled electro-hydraulic height adjustment for both axles. This works at the touch of a button, raising the car by 45mm when you need to clear a speed bump, driveway ramp or uneven city streets. The car returns to its normal ride height either when you push the button again, or automatically upon reaching 80 km/h. This convenience allowed GEMBALLA engineers to design the aggressive front spoiler for downforce while affording convenient drivability for the owner.
The lightweight concept of the body and chassis continues with the exclusive high-tech forged alloy wheels, utilizing the OE motorsport style centre-lock wheel bolt system that allows quick wheel changes on the racetrack. The five open spokes of the GEMBALLA wheels also help to enhance cooling airflow to the internally ventilated ceramic composite brake discs, ensuring enhanced resistance to brake fade on track.
Engine / Exhaust System
The Formula One inspired 5.7-litre V10 motor is a rare thoroughbred in terms of performance characteristics and soundtrack. Using a bespoke ram air intake system, freer flowing stainless steel exhaust and remapped ECU, GEMBALLA’s engineers have increased its output from 612 to 670 hp, with peak torque up from 590 to 630 Nm.
The purpose-built stainless steel exhaust system whose two tailpipes branch into four outlets machined from billet alloy, give the car an even more purposeful looking business end. The system also turns up the wick on the uprated motor’s soundtrack. The V10’s scream is now even more spine tingling as the GEMBALLA MIRAGE GT blasts to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds, and on to its 335km/h Vmax.
The original ceramic race clutch is tricky to use, especially in city conditions. The GEMBALLA replacement features special pads developed to improve the metering of clutch pedal pressure, thus ensuring a smooth and judder-free engagement in stop-go traffic. The MIRAGE GT takes the original Carrera GT concept to the next level, further enhancing its gravitas in the supercar world.
A GEMBALLA MIRAGE GT makes a statement that is further underlined by a matching bespoke interior. When it comes to a personal choice of color and trim materials, the sky is the limit at GEMBALLA. High-quality leather and fine fabrics – plain or patterned – add to the feeling of unbridled luxury, and even the smallest switches and panels can be covered in fine leather or Alcantara. Trim panels in aluminum, stainless steel or carbon fiber can all be handcrafted to complete a unique interior portrait. The experience and attention to detail of GEMBALLA’s master craftsmen and upholsterers guarantees a perfect result that will surprise and delight the owner. This is automotive haute couture at its finest. GEMBALLA’s bespoke program also accommodates audiophiles and fans of technology. To bring the infotainment system up to date, GEMBALLA redesigned the center console for the MIRAGE GT interior. The new carbon-fiber console contains the GEMBALLA Multimedia unit with Data Control System. You can call up a variety of functions on the widescreen display, ranging from satellite-navigation maps to performance gauges indicating the cars instantaneous acceleration, lateral-acceleration and deceleration values.
MIRAGE #23 was commissioned by a very special US client, with very special requirements. This client first decided that he wanted a MIRAGE GT in 2009, and in between other automotive projects and acquisitions he developed the concept for the exact specifications of his dream GEMBALLA. As evidence of his detailed requests, the MIRAGE GT#23 has the greatest application of carbon fiber components of any MIRAGE GT built. The client commissioned one-off interior trim in carbon fiber never previously produced, and even directed GEMBALLA to create bespoke carbon fiber covers for the engine intake plenum. There was no detail too fine for the client to specify, or for GEMBALLA to deliver. GEMBALLA was well up to the challenge of meeting this client’s expectations, as for over 30 years the company has specialized in automotive haute couture- delivering exactly what a customer envisions to exacting standards of engineering and craftsmanship.
Working with representatives from the New York office of GEMBALLA North America, the client set out every detail of his MIRAGE GT’s interior and exterior design. Once the specifications were set, the 2005 Carrera GT (Seal Grey Metallic, grey leather interior) was shipped from the US to GEMBALLA’s headquarters in Leonberg, Germany to undergo a four month transformation. The vehicle was disassembled to its core chassis, inspected and brought up to date. Over the course of its stay in Germany the car was painted and reassembled by GEMBALLA’s technicians with the new MIRAGE GT components. The result was a special MIRAGE GT in Cobalt Blue with yellow accents and an interior covered almost exclusively in carbon fiber and Alcantara with yellow stitching. Being one of only 25 that will ever be produced, MIRAGE #23 is already in exclusive company, but this example took a further step into the realm of unique automotive art.
Why did you buy this car?
To build the Mirage that I didn’t have the chance to accomplish in 2009 when I had my first CGT. I actually bought my SLR and my first CGT, an ’04 Guards Red car, on the same day in the summer of ’09, sight unseen, never been in nor driven the car before. Shortly after delivery, I realized and admitted to myself that not only was the car itself a little bit too much car for me at the time, but that I had no idea of the magnitude of the build a Mirage conversion actually entitles or the commitment it requires.
When did you know you had to have this car?
My father told me this was one of the few special cars that he thought about buying, but never did, when I was younger in the early 2000’s the car was first being introduced. Especially with the evolution of the new generation of hypercars, this makes the car not only Porsche’s last true analog supercar – it was fundamentally basic at the time – but also so ahead of its time. It is also the only one of the 3 supercars out of the 2000s, the others being the Enzo, SLR and CGT, that has a 6 speed proper manual gearbox.
How involved were you in the design process?
Extremely. This is probably my favorite part of the buying experience of a car, the spec and design process. I am extremely particular, down to every nuts and bolts detail. Nothing on any one of my cars both in and out was not carefully thought about. I always have a very clear vision of how I want my cars to look, I knew exactly what my Gemballa Mirage would look like before I even got my first CGT in 2009. 5 years later, it’s a dream come true.
What is something about this car only the owner would know?
There is a hidden compartment in the door for storage, and the car also has a 6-disc CD changer and navi.
How often is this car driven?
The car will be taken out at least once a month, it is not good for CGTs to sit. Spark plugs and many other internal components will go bad from sitting long period of time without being driven, which requires an engine out procedure to address the issues.
What are the pros and cons?
Pros: looks like something from another planet. Cons: the clutch is not for every supercar owner.
If you could take anyone for a ride in this car, who would it be?
The 3 men at Gemballa that were directly in charge of building the car from start to finish.
Do you plan on bringing this car to any events?
Yes, Pebble Beach, SEMA and more.
What will be your next automotive purchase?
Probably a few older Porsches, everything that has become of interest to me are all older cars now, and the ones that I find myself drawn to are also older and older.