The Porsche Cayman doesn’t often get the spotlight when its rear-engined sibling is in the room, but that might be for a very specific reason. Though rear-engined cars have their advantages and are exceptional from apex to exit, the balance of a mid-engined car is perhaps the best all-around design for a road racing machine there is. And if Porsche were to upset the hierarchy by sticking a truly fearsome engine in the Cayman, some traditionalists’ feathers might get ruffled.
So, when a garden variety Cayman is equipped with a powerplant that puts it on par with its big-bore brethren, we’re able to witness just how capable and—dare I say it—friendly this platform can be.
Showcasing the Wares
John Tecce, IMSA racer and owner of BGB Motorsports, used this Porsche Cayman to help demonstrate what a realistic product from his stellar team would look like. “We wanted this car to be a completely streetable track car; a cage, coolers, suspension, brakes, aero, air conditioning—you name it. Few cars this fast can haul themselves to the track,” Tecce proclaims proudly.
This project, now fondly referred to as “Colonel Mustard,” began with a basic 981-generation Cayman, complete with a standard 3.4-liter engine and PDK transmission, then turned it into a car which can run alongside a current 911 Cup car. Now, the stroked and bored motor displaces 4.2 liters. The added urgency doesn’t diminish the motor’s ability to rev; the clock still turns to eight. Along with a searing top-end and the right stacking of gears, Tecce and this humble street car can hound the bigger, more powerful, race-specific machinery along Daytona’s banks.
Interestingly, the mill doesn’t need an entire parts catalog to go this quickly. The current engine began as a Cayman GT4 engine—the one which displaces 3.8 liters—and was fitted with the intake manifold, cams, and heads from the contemporary 911 engine, the 991.1 X51/GTS. “We wanted to keep this as close to OEM as possible,” he adds.
The Ideal Powerband
Along with CP Carillo rods, MAHLE pistons, a COBB Accessport ECU, and BGB’s custom flash, this engine makes 460 horsepower at the rear wheels on a Dynojet. Just as importantly, it makes a broad and usable powerband; peak torque of 340 lb-ft is made at just 3,500 rpm, which it carries all the way to 7,000. The way this car leaps off of Daytona’s hairpins is testament to this engine’s tractability.
Of course, it takes traction to make good use of that tractable engine. The midship balance aids in pushing the driven wheels into the pavement, as does the PDK-specific LSD which BGB developed with Guard Transmission. On top of that, Tecce fitted it with Tarret swaybars, MCS triple-adjustable coilovers, and a set of Pirelli racing slicks. Without a doubt, traction is one of its strong points—but only one of them.
That torque is just as useful—maybe more so—through the technical sections of Sebring (above).
A Few Other Touches
That grip, torque, and reflashed PDK software mean it accrues a lot of speed when it’s given time to stretch its legs. Along Daytona’s banking, it just nudges 180 miles an hour, and often does so without the benefit of a tow. Therefore, some stability and power while stopping are musts.
When it comes time for Tecce to decelerate, he relies on an in-house big brake kit, which consists of a motorsports-oriented hat and disc assembly; 997.2 GT3 six-piston calipers; and a milder, endurance-oriented pad from Friction-One. “Designed for IMSA racing, these pads are much less aggressive and do not trigger the ABS like so many do—especially when you factor stickier tires into the equation,” Tecce adds.
Additionally, it’s clear that the car’s balance makes it reassuring when slowing from high speeds—mid-engine layouts are nice for so many reasons, aren’t they? It’s a shame the pecking order at Porsche is established the way it is, but fortunately for us, there are guys like Tecce.