This month saw the Cayman back out on circuit and living up to its ‘Track Project’ title perfectly.Chalking up another full day of action at Bedford Autodrome I joined a group of Regal Autosport customers to take on GT configuration under threatening grey skies. Needless to say the weather made for some interesting spectating as well as driving.
The event fell just after SEMA Show, meaning I returned with a head full of racecar inspiration and was eager to take it out on the little 987. First up, in preparation for winter, I decided a little preventative protection was in order. Having cleaned 8 years of grime from radiators at the front of the car early in ownership I’ve grown increasingly frustrated with reaching in and clearing leaves blocking the radiators since. It’s something that affects all Porsches with the front mount radiator layout and can often be the cause of leaking or corroded units, thankfully mine are in good condition and I opted for some Zunsport mesh grilles to keep them that way.
Zunsport stainless steel mesh grilles are made in Great Britain and fit straight over the top of the stock Porsche plastic grills, installing in under 15 minutes. It’s one of the easiest things I’ve done to the car and more importantly it means no more clearing out debris! To match the front set, I also went for the optional rear bumper grilles, finished in black powder coat they match the Boxster Spyder side vents perfectly too.
Knowing that tyres are one of the most important aspects of any track build, most of this month has been spent pondering the various merits of track specific rubber. Upon searching, one particular name kept cropping up, the Pirelli Trofeo R. It seemed to be the go to tyre for numerous GT2 and GT3 owners with shining testimonials to support their choices. Searching further I learned that the tyre also comes standard on the new McLaren 675LT. Music to my inner geek’s ears.
Designed with an asymmetric, dual compound tread pattern, the outer edge of the Trofeo R is designed to give maximum cornering performance, while the inside gives great water dispersion and stable straight line braking performance. What’s more the Trofeo R is fully road approved and knowing the Cayman spends just as much time driving to the circuit as going round it, the Pirelli Trofeo R seemed hard to beat.
I selected 245/35 and 265/35/19 sizes to mount to a fresh set of fifteen52 Tarmac wheels in 8.5 and 9.5 widths. Being a little wider than a conventional tyre of the same size the Trofeo Rs gave me a little more rubber on the ground than the tyres they replaced. Mounting of the wheels was taken care of by the guys at Regal Autosport and at the same time they converted the hubs to studs. The final modification before hitting the track was to swap the original seats for some much lighter Recaro Pole positions. Although not heated and the lightest version of 987 seats, the adjustment motors and airbags piled on the pounds. Mimicking the style of a 964 RS, I found leather Recaro Pole Positions to be the perfect style for this ‘Clubsport’ project.
Out on the 3.8 mile long Bedford GT circuit the Cayman performed faultlessly once again. The new seats are a welcome addition, enabling me to concentrate more on the task at hand rather than sliding across the transmission tunnel. As the track dried through the day, this became an increasingly obvious asset. The amount of grip provided by the Pirelli Trofeo R tyres, once up to temperature, is quite astonishing. With the addition of the tyres the Cayman has jumped up a league or two in cornering speed, battling cars 5 times the price and considerably more powerful. It’s better in all aspects of driving and it’s hard to pinpoint a drawback. Braking, corner exit traction and of course turn in are all improved. The best thing of all is that the geometry is able to remain unchanged and a unique feature of the Trofeo R is they do not need extreme camber angles to work effectively, allowing a hassle free universal wet and dry weather setup. Less time on the tools means more time in the seat, and that can only be a good thing.
With a little weight taken out and considerably more chassis performance it might be time to turn my attention to the most obvious area to upgrade, the engines performance. I’ve managed to fend off the urge until now but there’s only so long a man can go until he breaks, plus it would be a shame not exploit that new found grip…