Porsche Cayman GT4 test on the Nordschleife

Achim Hartmann
Porsche Cayman GT4 Supertest
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G sensed pulse rate: 200. Just at this moment when the Porsche Cayman GT4 rushes over the T13 section, resonates much more than just the wonderful boxer saws. I admit it openly: euphoria suddenly turns into pressure. Andy Brehme must have felt something similar in the 1990 World Cup final at the penalty spot. While it's nowhere near as big as a world title, the two possible scenarios are similar to back then - either failure or a pat on the back. 4.38 p.m., starting shot for my first super test time lap on the Nordschleife. The fast lap has to be right, otherwise the track is fully booked until after the editorial deadline.

Long waiting time for the long-awaited mid-engine athlete

Now a new chapter is dawning in the supertest. One could simply say banally: 'Horst becomes Christian.' But before we give full throttle together, let me address a few words to my predecessor: Horst, it was you who brought me to sport auto . I am very grateful to you for this dream job. I treat your Supertest era with great respect, but what else should I have answered when asked whether I want to continue this unique test format? What more beautiful things can happen to a die-hard Nordschleife fan!

But before things get serious on the Nordschleife, we'll go back to the beginning of the first Supertest protocol according to the new era - March 30th, collection in Zuffenhausen . The Porsche Cayman GT4 achieves the first wow effect with its compact and muscular appearance. Finally the mid-engine sports car is here that we had to wait so long for.

'We didn't have the capacity so far, so the main focus for the GT models was on the 911, but there was no stable management involved' says Andreas Preuninger, Project Manager GT Models at Porsche, why there has never been a Cayman with a GT abbreviation. Ten years ago, when the first Cayman series was presented, it all somehow sounded different. 'We paid close attention to the positioning between the Boxster and the 911,' said the then Porsche boss Wiedeking.

Porsche Cayman GT4 only manual switch

Now end the discussion about whether the Cayman is so far couldn't, didn't want to, or wasn't allowed to - open the GT4 door and thread it into the optional full bucket seats that come with yourCarbon fiber optics and the perfect side support ensure a déjà vu experience. Both the seat shell and the height adjustment come from the large mid-engine brother, the 918 Spyder. Compared to the standard Porsche GT4 sports seat Plus, the 15.5 kilo full bucket seat saves around nine kilos.

Keyword weight: With a full 54 liter tank, the Porsche Cayman GT4 weighs a little less than 1,379 kilos its smaller siblings Cayman S (1,402 kg) and GTS (1,413 kg). The latter, however, also appeared on our test scale with a standard 64-liter tank and optional PDK. It remains a little secret why the 64-liter tank is not installed as standard in the Porsche GT4, but can only be ordered as a free option 085. A clever trick to improve the weight balance? No matter, every kilo saved helps for the race track excursion.

If you have 7,318.50 euros left, you can lighten the Porsche Cayman GT4 by another 8 kilos with the optional ceramic brake system, even though the optional brake has larger brake discs than the standard brake. Weight fetishists can also order the free options 609 (no CDR audio system) and 574 (no air conditioning). The former saves 6 kilos. 17.5 kilos are saved if only a heating and ventilation system is installed instead of the standard manual air conditioning.

The Porsche Cayman GT4 saves itself the most emotional 20 kilos by using the same as with all other mid-engine Reptiles do not use the dual clutch gearbox optionally available - the GT4 is only available as a manual switch. This is what love looks like at first sight. We had feared that this emotional old-school transmission would become completely extinct in the GT models. Or are we just unconsciously saying goodbye, and the Porsche Cayman GT4 is the last GT-Porsche with manual gearbox?

3.8-liter from the 911 Carrera S in the Cayman GT4

'No, definitely not! In terms of development time and of course for financial reasons, we have not been able to offer two transmission variants. That is why we are concentrating on the higher-performance system with the GT3 , which is still 100 percent PDK. The 911 GT3 has a lot more competitors in its segment than the GT4 now. Therefore, we can afford a few tenths that we lose through the manual switch and give the driver full maturity In the long term, it is our clear goal to enable the GT cars to choose between two transmission variants, 'explains Andreas Preuninger.

Turn the ignition key to the left, press the clutch pedal and engage first gear in the super test. Terrific, let's finally get the left leg back from retirement or release it from the ABM measure as a left-hand brake in the automated age.

Meanwhile, the 3.8-liter from the 911 Carrera S massages the back an old friendthe neck hairs. Acoustically, the boxer concert thrown through the standard sports exhaust system does not reveal that only 385 hp are attacking here instead of 400 in the heart donor. 15 HP is lost in the intake system and through the longer exhaust.

Porsche Cayman GT4 with robust gear shift

Not worth mentioning. We are more concerned with the question of how long we can still enjoy this naturally aspirated engine rattle, the jagged throttle response and this revving. The Porsche Cayman GT4 may be the last Porsche GT sports car with a vacuum cleaner. 'I can certainly say no. A high-revving naturally aspirated engine is what customers want from us in a GT car. We are going further in this direction, but there will perhaps be GT vehicles with turbocharging again. The dual one System with vacuum cleaner and turbo worked for us and will continue to work ', reassured GT project manager Preuninger naturally aspirated engine fans.

Turn up, shift quickly: the non-slip Alcantara aluminum gear lever dances through the precise alleys with a click. A reinforced variant of the six-speed transmission from the GTS is used for use in the Porsche Cayman GT4. The gear ratios remained identical, but the feedback from the gearshift is much more robust.

Apropos robust: On page 107 of the operating instructions, under the heading 'Development philosophy', you can read lines that bring tears of joy to the eyes of the sports driver. 'During the development process, if a compromise is found between sportiness and comfort, in case of doubt there is a tendency towards sportiness. This can result in the following comfort restrictions: Brakes squeal with light pedal pressure shortly before stopping, rougher engine running in the speed range 3,000 rpm, cracking noises in the area of ​​the front axle coil springs, very low vehicle position due to aerodynamics with restrictions in terms of ground clearance. '

GT3 components for that Fahrwerk

Thank you Flacht, we like this route! Incidentally, all mechanical noises are confirmed by S-GO 1204 and cause tingling even at speed on the street in view of the expected lateral dynamics.

ESC + TC off, damper button pressed - ready to race in Hockenheim. On the short course, not only is the two-stage PSM deactivated, but the standard adaptive dampers are also directed into the sporting position. Due to the tight damper setting of the chassis, which is peppered with numerous GT3 components, the Porsche Cayman GT4 filters out body movements in the limit area more actively than its Cayman brothers S and GTS. The GT developers also drove the mid-engine device almost completely out of the sometimes very noticeable susceptibility to load changes. With highly precise steering and almost neutral self-steering behavior, the GT4 storms with largely easyThe ideal line for controllable driving behavior.

Pressing the damper button also tightens the steering forces of the electromechanical power steering. Even in the normal position, the GT4 steering scores with more robust steering forces and provides more honest feedback than the Cayman steering in the S and GTS models, which sometimes run much too smoothly and almost synthetic at the limit.

The rear axle of the rear-wheel drive vehicle shines with impressive traction under load. The force is distributed via the mechanical transverse lock belonging to the torque vectoring function (PTV). On the front axle, however, a very slight power understeering becomes noticeable under load, but this can almost be prevented by air pressure corrections.

Porsche Cayman GT4 extremely fast on the Nordschleife

With a lap time of The Porsche Cayman GT4 outclasses both the S model (1:14.1 min) and the GTS (1:12.8 min) in 1:10.1 minutes. What was suspected in advance has now become a certainty: The Extreme Cayman beats the now almost legendary Supertest 911 Carrera S (1:10.4 min), whose performance none of the later Carrera S test cars ever confirm again could.

Change of scene in the super test on the Nordschleife. As early as the Hatzenbach section, the Porsche Cayman GT4 makes it clear to its driver that there is absolutely no reason for the aforementioned nervousness on its first super test time lap. Sweaty hands? Poisonous mid-engine tail swings? Oh, you can tell immediately in the super test of the Porsche Cayman GT4 that it had a lot of fun on the Eifel roller coaster during its development time. Regardless of whether it is jumps, high-speed sections of the route or fast changing bends - the neutral suspension setup makes the wing Cayman super-fast on the Nordschleife without driving your pulse to unhealthy heights.

The Porsche Cayman GT4 is different from Hockenheim overdamped with the tight damper setting on the undulating Nordschleife surface. If you are not into unintentional jumping, you should keep your fingers off the damper button on the ring and use the normal position.

The tendency to understeer under load, which was already noticeable in Hockenheim, also fell on the Nordschleife during the training laps in the Easter tourist traffic up - here too, especially in tight curves that are driven through under load (for example Breidscheid on the bridge or the right uphill after the small plant garden jump).

Nordschleife hunt with a flat rear wing setting

Thereupon, driving dynamics engineer Jan Frank, who did the super test from Porsche, among others, reduced it -Side escorted, the vehicle height on the front axle by 1.1 millimeters. 'It's a world,' explains the head of GT chassis development. 1.1 millimeters, which make it clear what a precision weapon the GT4 is.In addition to the chassis change, there was also a fresh set of Michelin Cup 2 tires, and lo and behold - the tendency to understeer under load could be reduced to a very good level for the Nordschleife.

And that was already in Hockenheim The praised mechanical grip is joined for the first time in a Cayman model by aerodynamic grip. While the Cayman S still had lift on both axles at 200 km /h, the Cayman GT4 scores for the first time with downforce. The downforce values ​​can be varied using the adjustable rear wing angle (base position 5.3 degrees, performance 7.6 degrees) and two removable inserts in the front axle diffuser channels.

For the Nordschleife lap, S-GO 1204 competed without the diffuser inserts and, for high-speed reasons, with a flat rear wing position. By the way: the downforce on the front axle also varies with the choice of brake system. With the standard steel brake system, the Porsche Cayman GT4 generates more downforce on the front axle than with the ceramic brake, as the larger brake discs mean that less air can escape from the front wheel arches. With the inserts in the diffuser channels, a GT4 equipped with a steel brake system delivers five kilos more downforce on the front axle at 200 km /h than a vehicle with PCCB brakes. Without the inserts, the difference between the two brake types is seven kilos.

60 gear changes on the Nordschleife

Another interesting number for the ride over the Nordschleife? 60 gear changes could be counted on the fast lap. Due to the relatively long gears, numerous passages had to be driven through in second gear in order to chase the GT4 around the corner with enough punch. Ideally, the speed should not drop below 4,500 rpm, as the boxer only really heats up above this. On the racetrack, it would be interesting to use the lower gearbox from the basic Cayman.

Today, however, it is much more interesting when the stopwatch stops after the Nordschleife lap. Test and development driver Timo Kluck set the Nordschleife lap time officially specified by Porsche for the GT4 at 7.40 minutes. The sport auto GPS measuring device reports two seconds more today. But don't expect the new Supertester to always come close to the times of the works drivers. The small delta today is mainly due to the very good drivability of the Porsche Cayman GT4.

Technology spotlight

On the chassis of the Cayman GT4, height, camber, toe and the stabilizers can be individually adjusted. The GT4 front axle was largely taken over from the Porsche 911 GT3. 'All the components from the GT3 fit into the bodyshell of the GT4 without any major changes. On the front axle we drive the 45 mm springs of the GT3. The Bilstein dampers also come from the GT3,but were of course voted differently. The top mounts and the uniball joints on the front axle could also be used, 'explains GT project manager Preuninger. The hardware of the power steering also comes from the GT3, but was completely recalibrated for GT4 use. The rear axle of the GT4 had to be completely redeveloped Instead of the 120 springs of the GT3, 80 springs are used here.

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