Porsche Cayman GT4 with Fabspeed Race Headers Screams Out a Memorable Drive
23 March 2017, 22:10 GMT · BY ANDREI TUTU
Not all that many people feel the need to improve a Porsche Cayman GT4, but, for those who don't belong in this category, it's reassuring to know that the aftermarket offers tons of solutions. The majority of GT4s drivers who take their Porschas down the tuning route do it for aural reasons and one of the most vicious-sounding setups out there comes from Fabspeed Motorsport.
The Pennsylvania-based developer offers multiple exhaust setups for the Neunelfer-engined Cayman and we're here to talk about the most extreme. This features a set of race headers, along with a vavletronic exhaust and we'll start with the first piece of hardware.
The catless long tube headers mean this setup is destined for play outside public roads. The goodie also works as a brief trip to the gym, for instance delivering up to 18 hp and 15 lb-ft of twist at 6,300 rpm. as for the low-end gains, the most impressive values come at 3,700 rpm, adding 27 hp and 38 lb-ft of torque - note that all these values are measured at the wheels, so they're between 10 and 15 percent greater than the crank horsepower numbers that are usually used to describe outputs.
On the weight reduction from, the custom setup is 10 lbs friendlier to the scale than the one it replaces and this is also a good moment to mention that the system is built of stainless steel.
All the tech details mentioend above are fine, but there's nothing like real-world experience to showcase the sharper attitude of the Porsche Cayman GT4 mentioned here.
And that's exactly what you'll find in the piece of footage below. This clip delivers a sweet GT4 drive, albeit one that takes place on the street.
However, note that the valvetronic muffler means that, at the touch of the button, the driver can make this mid-engined Porsche less of a screamer.
Out of the box, race drones are capable of speeds up to 75 mph and high-end, professional versions can exceed speeds of 100 mph. Add to this the fact that they have the instant on torque of 4 electric motors and they actually could compete with the likes of a 718 Cayman when it comes to acceleration!!
Since it's now spring, we decided to have a bit of a freshen up and bring a more collegiate feel to the website with a new theme applied across the website and a few other more modern touches. So we can now unveil the new look CaymanOC.com website!
The main change is the landing page is no longer the forum, but a page of articles which so far have been populated by a few of our stories and with the help of Beanoir's blogging. We'll continue with this and if any members feel they would like to submit any articles for the home page then please send them to any member of Staff and we will have a read and stick it up for the world to see.
For those of you who use a mobile device to view and use the website and forums, you should find there is a big improvement in the way it works too - I certainly have.
The forum retains the same structure and is easily located on the navigation bar at the top of the page. Thats about it for now, but should anybody have any issues then let myself or @Andy know and we'll try and help your out (again website only please - we charge for health and relationship problems.
A fitting description of the Alps, the remainder of our time in the region took in some of the highest roads in Europe including a heady climb to the Col de la Bonette at c.9,800ft, here the air was thin, the landscape yet again baron passing the tree line and any relevant greenery and leaving it below us. The roads here are bereft of any safety barriers but what they lack in safety they more than make up for with driving thrills, long winding well sighted corners spread so enticingly over the landscape, pure heaven!
Heading further south in the latter part of the week saw the Alpine scenery change as a reflection of the more arid weather and here we find ourselves following part of the infamous Route Napolean and just spitting distance from the delights of the Côte d’Azur. Lower altitude means less ear popping and higher temperatures bringing with it some interesting textures and melting tarmac offering some obscure cornering dynamics, all part of the ride.
As our route turns north towards Dijon and beyond the roads flatten out somewhat and threat of the week drawing to an end. Not before a stop at the old Grand Prix straight at Reims though. Parts of the old Grandstand and buildings still proudly either side of the road emblazoned with the original sponsors. Even though a public road now runs arrow straight through where the track once was it still has plenty of nostalgia and air of days gone by, you can almost see the tail of Juan Fangio’s Alfa 159 disappearing down the track an image only partially deformed by the rising heat…today I watch a modern duo, Ferrari F430 and Mercedes C63, not a bad combo though I guess.
The return to UK soil has never felt like such a drop, and it literally is given where we’d been less than a day or two ago. Our week covered such a variety of landscape, plenty of terrain to keep even the most demanding of drivers and cars on the edge, the Alps really do offer some of the best driving roads in the world. Not only was the driving superb we were also in the company of 20 other amazing cars from all walks piloted by some great people. As for the Cayman, well 2,500 miles takes its toll. But now tucked up in the garage waiting for a replacement windscreen, I can’t help feeling she hears the jingle of car keys each trip out, the sign of a return to foreign shores to stretch her legs. We will return.
Sunday still happened yesterday, I realise I didn’t update my blog but there are a number of reasons for this, of which I will enlighten, but let me begin with yesterday morning.
We awoke early in our hotel just outside of Strasbourg, a place that always conjures up mental images of spy novels, but on this morning there were no secret rendezvous with covert operatives, this particular morning I was welcomed by a dawn chorus of several angry sounding Mezger derived flat sixes set against a backing track of baritone AMG V8s finished off with the the whine of lotus superchared engines and a glorious Ferrari V8. This was the transition day from the flat lands of the west of France, through the Schwarzwald in Germany, into the Swiss alps, Italy and back to Switzerland.
Already we have experienced a kaleidoscope of scenery and roads, from the plush rolling hills and forests of southern Germany to the polar opposite baron landscape at the top of the Stelvio Pass, over 9,000ft up. Now the latter was the end of the day on Sunday, and after 300 miles odd of driving across several countries, the 48 hairpin bends laced across the side of this particular mountain in Italy was quite literally an ‘assault’ both physically and mentally, especially when the task also involved trying to keep pace with a 997 GT3 and 997 Turbo. All I can say is the R performed, keeping me in check at every turn and keeping the jaw drooping view down the mountain side just a view.
Setting off this morning involved more of the same, taking in Lake Livigno and St Moritz on the way to Julier Pass, followed by San Bernardino, Susten, Grimsel, finally arriving at our hotel at the foot of the Furka pass…I forget how many borders we’ve crossed, I don’t know what language to speak anymore, what money they accept in the country that i’m in or even which country that is…we’ve covered 1,400km so far, the Cayman is fine (if a little less rubber adorning her rear tyres) but as for me, I need some sleep!
The rays of the shy British sun hit me as I walked out to do the last bits of luggage loading this morning. Two boots is a great aspect of the mid engined Porsches and really helps on long road trips like these.
With the prospect of ‘Operation Stack’ threatening to impede our journey to Kent this morning I thought I would take my mind off the idea and allow it to wander through some of Mel Nichols inspirational journalism, a true craftsman with words and rather appropriate.
On the eve of leaving for deepest Kent as the meeting place for those who we will be traveling with across the Channel at dawn and on into France for the first leg of the “Alpine Assault”. 8 days, 1,500 miles and 5 countries during which we’ll experience some of the greatest driving roads and highest paved mountain passes in Europe.
The car is ready, appended with stickers and gadgets to aid our way through various continental jurisdictions.
Our choice of chariot...the Cayman R
When I saw this incident I had mixed opinions, a kind of yin and yang moment as I tried to decide whether fate had dished out a cruel blow or whether the much fabled god (of whatever flavour you believe in) had tried his hand at a spot of natural selection in the motoring universe by weaning out that which is clearly too accomplished and therefore at distinct advantage to lesser metal.
So as you can see, said Caymans were not all travelling independently in some high odds scenario, they were in fact in transit probably on their way to some patient waiting owners to be. You can imagine the call from their local OPC now..."vee are very sorry Mr Herr Flick, but your Porsche GT4 has been involved in an incident vith 6 usser Cayman GT4s" You'd expect this to be some prank type TV programme fronted by Jeremy Beadle with that kind of news, but no this actually happened...in Germany!
GT Sprint reported the facts as
I'd say, some donkey has helped to inflate even further the already ridiculously over-inflated prices of part worn Cayman GT4s by knocking 7 off the limited number of available cars to the desperate over-paid public.
Feast your eyes....
Recovering from the remnants of a nights sleep that resembled more of the type of nap one has on a commuter train and largely caused by the sudden onslaught of the British summer, i’m making progress up the A1. I’m on my way to what promises to be an interesting day courtesy of an invite by CAR Magazine to assist with their first drive and review for the new Porsche 718 Cayman. My condition will be improved I decide by adding fuel to both mind, body and car so afford myself a brief stop, however as I jump back in, one large Cappuccino richer I realise my mistake; the car is not equipped to handle such luxuries, i’m in the Cayman R and it doesn’t do cupholders. Still it should prove an interesting comparison for the new kid on the Porsche block whether that was the true intention of the day or not.
Arriving at Rockingham Speedway at the scheduled 8:30am (for breakfast) I soon realise that media types clearly don’t wear watches and I mill about for another 15 minutes, taking in the sites of what turns out to be a hive of non-activity, it’s dead here. The odd mutter of an F3 car engine in for testing in one of the many pit lane garages breaks the silence occasionally, but gazing around the bowl like stadium it’s a strange sensation if like me you rarely visit a race venue unless for a race meet. Eventually my hosts arrive, as do the other subjects of the test being a current generation Audi TTS owner and somebody who I already know from the Cayman Owners Club as the owner of a 981 Cayman . Theres also two rather smart looking Porsche reps, donned in corporate uniform who it turns out race Porsches for a living, Charlie Eastwood a scholar driver in the Carrera Cup and Paul who now earns a crust convincing us that the latest incarnation of Porsche's car is better than the last, we’ll see.
The order of the day is slow, painfully. But thats ok, the guys are an interesting bunch and some amusement can be had watching photographers dance around at the order of art directors and unaccustomed car owners awkwardly holding poses waiting for nature to create the perfect backdrop or lighting conditions…but I was soon to realise this wasn’t the hardest part of the day.
The real subject of the day is the new 718 Cayman, we have the privilege of being in possession of one of only 2 Porsche press cars in the UK right now and its the S version (2.5L). For those that have been on leave from the automotive universe for the last 12 months, the 718 is the next generation of Cayman and Boxster, conrtary to what Porsche claim cosmetically it’s a facelift of the 981, the interior is a facelift of the 981, the engine however is not a facelift of anything that Porsche has produced for a long time. The already infamous new engine is a turbocharged flat 4 cylinder unit, so more of a frankensteins’ monster than a facelift.
The CAR journo wants the Cup driver in the car for the first action of the day, the photographer can rest for now, time to drive this thing. I’m up on the roof of the pit garage we’ve made home for the day, the F3 cars have retired to their garages and we have the whole of the track to ourselves. At this point i’m not entirely sure what I expected, but the noise that breaks the earie silence that has fallen on the stadium is a deep, burbling off beat noise that sounds like the idle of a Subaru Impreza complete with boy racer exhaust only it’s coming from a Porsche. The car leaves the pit and enters the banked curve of the track and as the revs build the hard of sight would tell you they’re watching a Moto GP practice session. Long has the sound of a flat 6 been the signature of a Porsche sports car but this is the future now. With this unfamiliar noise as the backdrop Paul joins me and very commendably starts explaining that emotion is not just about the noise of the car’s engine, he’s right of course but it’s still the beating heart of any sports car and i’m not entirely sure there are are any other endearing features of the car that compensate for such a loss. “So, have you driven a 987?” I ask him, "no" he responds "only the current models really".
It’s my turn for a lap…I jump in. I didn’t like the feeling of the cabin in the 981 generally I find it too big and the raised more forward positioned gear lever (this car i’m pleasantly surprised to find out is a 6 speed manual) I find a bit awkward and the 718 is no different. The car is in ‘sport+’ mode, I have no time to acquaint with the cabin, it’s adorned with switches so I adjust the seat, select first and head for the track…the throttle is not as responsive as the R, a blip on the downshift into the first corner and it responds in a lazy way and lacks the usual zing, contrary to what i’ve read elsewhere but in my opinion this is a noticeable change. Through the corners the car is familiar, the balance is there and the steering which Porsche has changed with a 10% quicker rack and reintroduced the larger steering wheel means there is an improvement on the 981 for feel but it still isn’t tugging at my fingers in the same way as older generations. Power early mid corner and it has plenty of grunt and movement, the dynamics of the car are good, relatively unchanged apart from perhaps a slightly stiffer ride than the 981 thanks to recalibrated dampers and stiffer anti-roll bars. The factory dialled in under-steer is there as always but the car is easily adjustable and will pivot, it’s still a Cayman.
A quick track test done I walk over to see the Porsche guys demonstrating another 718, this one a Boxster with the Audi TTS driver in the cabin. Jumping out of the car he turns to me “great noise isn’t it” exclaiming with excitement. This is telling of the glut of Porsche’s target audience now. Inside I’m dying.
Is it fair to compare the 718 with a car one generation removed, probably not but some 987 owners will no doubt be waiting for the new offering and considering a trade up, having skipped the 981.
The afternoon brings the chance of an extended road test. It’s a low seating position in the new cars, which is welcome, but extremes of the car feel just that bit further away, passenger not as close. The engine would feel similarly remote I’m sure if it wasn’t for the fact the engine and exhaust note weren’t so annoyingly in your face, souding almost synthetic from inside the cabin.
Being familiar with the Cayman the car is easy to drive, the steering feels better weighted on the road and the stiffness of the ride feels just one notch shy of the Cayman R (this 718 has the optional 20mm lower suspension) but thats ok. Sports+ mode switched on and the throttle is a shade more sensitive but not as alert as I’d like. Brakes on this 2.5L model are borrowed from the 911 and feel typicaly Porsche with not too much servo but plenty of bite when you want it and some improvement in feel over the brakes in the R in fact when braking more meaningfully. As the country roads open up I get the chance to wake it up, the wave of torque from low down makes me chuckle at first, but such an unfamiliar feeling in a car I was almost beginning to feel familiar with, and once again the noise that accompanies low revs and full throttle is a deep and unfamiliar note. A few more sinuous miles and it’s clear that if you drive the car on the boil and with the revs rather than using the low end torque, the experience improves both in the way the engine responds and also the way it sounds. Whilst the engine quite impressively for a turbo charged unit pulls to the redline quite happily, that line is nearly 1,000 revs lower than in the flat 6 equipped Caymans. The character of the engine when driven to the higher rev ranges is strange, you don’t enjoy the sense of the engine actually getting there and the car making progress even though it clearly is, the sound is out of sync with the engine and maintains an almost linear level of aural feedback. The hairs on my neck haven’t woken up at any point on this drive, and not for want of me trying.
Pulling back up at The Speedway, I sit in the car and observe my surroundings, it is a nice car that much is certain, the buttons a bit fiddly maybe, and I’m not a fan of the overly complicated steering wheel with its selector dial but the PCM screen is a great improvement and very much up to date with its sleek edge to edge glass and smartphoneesque gesture control. Pondering further I find myself wondering that given the engine’s character, more high tech functional and roomy cabin it would be a better package equipped with a PDK gearbox and prove to be a very accomplished middle ground between a GT car and 2 seat sports car.
The 981 was a good car, it was a complete package, both dynamically and aesthetically although middle aged spread was creeping in a touch compared to the 987. The 718 maintains some of the same elements of the 981, and improves in some areas but loses out in a material way with the engine. I have said before that Porsche crossed a line with the 981 and probably more so with the 991, the cars gained too much in size and the driver’s interface with the car and the road was diluted that bit too far. The 718 has taken away more from the driver now and not given enough back to compensate for losing the soundtrack that is the soul of a Porsche.
I found it a hard day as a Porsche enthusiast, experiencing the new incarnation of a car that has delivered so much pleasure in several guises over the years become even less exciting and fun, a word that I find is rarely used these days to describe modern Porsches. The CAR journo admits to me he’s got a tough job, but assures me the car grew on him over the last 48 hours but I still maintain its left me feeling cold. He was interested to understand how the 718 compared to an older car, a 987...shock or sympathy or maybe both force my car keys into his hand “go decide for yourself”.
Story: Nick Cole
Photography Nick Cole/James Lipman
The bold claim from Michelin on the launch of their new tyre is they expect the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S to be "one of the most successful sports tires ever designed by Michelin for the general public."
A tyre that is designed for sports cars and high performance saloons, we are also told that the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S offers "unparalleled driving pleasure thanks to its exceptional steering precision and directional stability. It provides maximum performance and safety on all surfaces due to its optimized tread footprint which grips the road in all situations, even the most extreme."
The new Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S replaces the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, and are available from all the major tyre retailers as of this month. The new tyre is available at launch in 34 sizes for 19 and 20 inch wheels. The outgoing MPSS was already an exceptionally well rated tyre by many and a firm favourite across the Cayman and Porsche fraternity, so the replacement certainly has a lot to live up to.
Tyre Sizes (at launch)
The PS4S' dual compound technology benefits both the tyre's wet and dry surface braking performance. The outer tread uses a new hybrid compound that promotes grip on dry surfaces while the inner part uses a new compound that contains silica combined with elastomers that give the PS4S to superior performance in wet conditions.
Tests performed by TÜV SÜD in June and July 2016 show the PS4S having a shorter stopping distance than five of the obvious premium competitors on both dry and wet surfaces.
Tyre longevity was evaluated by DEKRA Test Center, using 255/35-19 96Y XL PS4S tires. These tyres were the only one to last longer than 50,000 kilometers (31,068 miles). The PS4S reportedly achieved a mileage of 52,032 kilometres (32,331 miles), a distance exceeding that of its nearest rival, the Pirelli PZero Nero GT, by 2,602 kilometers (1,616 miles).
The TÜV SÜD testers also found that the PS4S delivered the best lap time on a 2.6 km (1.6 mile) circuit, completing the course 0.40 seconds faster than the nearest competitor and 1.39 seconds quicker than the slowest.
According to Michelin, the Pilot Sport 4 S also "passes a new milestone in terms of reducing road noise, while providing good levels of driving comfort." Other bells and whistles include a velvet-like sidewall relief, like that seen on the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, as well as a wheel protecting design.
An interesting video about the new tyre hosted by the guys at Engineering Explained is well worth a watch...