I’ve sort of let this project get out of hand. When I say let, I mean encouraged it with a willing and able credit card. My reasoning, beside blind excitement, is that if I prepare the car bit by bit as funds allowed, I would most likely miss the majority of the summer track events. Now, not that I am advocating diving into debt for a slew of shiny new parts, it does mean that I’ve been able to cram in a full six months of upgrades into a convenient 10 day install.
This means that the next few updates will not be in chronological order, but I’ll go into detail on each of the upgrades in the following issues. You’ll have heard me waffle on about striving for a ‘mini GT3’ driving experience before, but I really think I might have cracked it with the latest crop of parts. I left you last month praising the Bilstein DampTronic suspension kit, continuing on this theme I have taken the rest of the project to this level. As usual, Regal Autosport in Southampton were trusted to install the goodies and with a 20 day trip out of the UK on the cards, I hatched a plan with the guys to drop the car off for surgery.
Thanks to a very similar design to the big brother 911, the Cayman is blessed with a wealth of suspension arm options from companies like Road Sport Supply (RSS). With the handling compromised by the limited geometry setup with the stock arms I looked to RSS for help. After a conversation with Mike Shalke I found myself purchasing a beautiful set of four RSS lower control arms, RSS front and rear bump steer correction kits, RSS transmission mounts and an RSS rear toe lockout kit. The quality of these items is fantastic and allows for finite adjustment of the geometry.
The new suspension arms coupled with the Pirelli Trofeo R tyres and Bilstein coilovers allow for some really impressive cornering speeds. To protect the engine from oil surge and cavitation during cornering Chris from Regal suggested adding a Porsche Motorsport baffled sump and air oil separator. Not one to argue with G-forces I added these to the project to protect with little protest. It’s an often-missed part of track preparation and not something I fancied falling foul of.
Elsewhere, my enthusiastic track driving had really taken a toll on the clutch. First signs of wear came from a leaking clutch master cylinder which liked to stick the 3rd pedal to the floor in traffic and later progressed into full slipping clutch syndrome. Luckily the guys at Regal have their own billet lightweight flywheel and sintered metal clutch package, so that made it onto the shortlist along with a Wavetrac differential. Wavetrac’s unique differential is a great amalgamation of the benefits of a plate type and ATB style differentials and something I will go into detail on in another update.
With all these upgrades under the skin, I felt like I needed a little more bark to match the bite. Having researched various potential exhaust upgrades I didn’t feel confident any would match the Porsche Sports Exhaust for quiet motorway driving and full throttle gruffness. Then I found the AWE tuning exhaust system for the Cayman S. AWE use clever double pass boxes with a balance pipe to iron out the low RPM resonance and allow for a wonderful high pitched singing voice at higher RPM. To my surprise it’s actually quieter on the motorway than the PSE yet sounds like a supercar when uncorked. To finish off the TIG welded, hand made system I opted for the AWE black chrome exhaust tips.
Arriving back from my trip the day before the Track Addict track day at Rockingham Circuit, I went straight from the airport to Regal Autosport to collect the car. There I found all the upgrades installed and the car fully prepared, corner weighted and aligned for track use. At Rockingham the car performed faultlessly, which is a testament to the level of detail and care taken on the installation at Regal Autosport. With this many items changed in one hit, I’m seriously impressed with the result.
Rockingham itself is a fantastic circuit, with the pits situated on the infield so you always feel at the heart of the action. The Track Addict guys have a great approach to track driving and despite the chilly track temperatures and brief snow shower the day went off without a hitch. As for the little Cayman, well… let’s just say I’m no longer hankering after a GT3…