Video: Showy Porsche Cayman Struggles With Mini Cooper At The ‘Ring

Mr. Showdown911 is still making life difficult for starry-eyed amateurs who join up for a Touristenfahren track day at the Nordschleife. He’s known for being flamboyant behind the wheel of a 911, and taking ?t=2m4s”>plenty of risks around unaware novices. In this video, he’s been lent the keys to a Cayman S with what sounds like a modified exhaust, and he’s much neater than he normally is in a 911. That said, the Cayman is still quite nervous at speed, and Showdown’s no stranger to correcting cars mid-corner like Ayrton Senna. He’s also got a brave passenger smiling away as he shows a well-matched Mini Cooper JCW the quick way around the Green Hell, though he’s never quite able to streak away.

What’s immediately apparent is how the mid-engined platform and the torque of the Cayman gives it an edge in medium-speed switchbacks, where the rear tires gladly follow the fronts, which aren’t dual-purposing unlike the Mini’s. That six-cylinder and its position allow it to rotate easily at lower speeds.

That mid-range grunt helps the Porsche off of slower corners, but once the Mini gets into its stride it seems eager and almost unchallenged at speed. More manageable into quicker corners and able to brake much later, the little British bull terrier looks like the fighter that’ll last ten rounds. If its braking ability into Aremberg (2:03) is anything to go by, it’s obvious the Mini can make up huge ground when it comes time to apply the binders. However, hard-braking zones aren’t as frequent on the Nurburgring as he might like.

In the braking zones, the Mini's weight does it huge favors.

In the braking zones, the Mini’s weight does it huge favors.

Even when scything through traffic—where the torquier Porsche should have the clear advantage—the Mini does a fabulous job of keeping in touch. Where it seems to have the strongest advantage, however, are in those quick corners where there’s a little wiggle room for throttle control. Most drastically at 5:02, the Mini can close the gap when Mr. Showdown slides through Klostertal. In contrast, the Mini looks collected; hardly breaking a sweat. It’s in these quick sections that the Mini brakes far less and looks more composed on the way in; it’s not as nervous, is more willing to change direction, and the body movements seem better controlled. It’s then Showdown’s passenger gives him a worried look to check whether he’s overdoing it or not. Maybe she’s just amused.

Showdown's friend gives him a worried glance.

Showdown’s friend gives him a worried glance.

At the point-and-squirt corners, the Porsche looks as quick as the Mini if not quicker, but where the driver needs to carry a frightening amount of entry speed and manage everything mid-corner—where the cornering process isn’t as certain—the Mini simply has the edge in stability, and in those corners, little sashays and wiggles from a nervous rear cost lots of time, prevent the driver from getting on the throttle cleanly, and wear the tires prematurely.

It’s a closely-matched battle between two cars with very different layouts, different strengths, and different weights. Nevertheless, the people piloting them are able to show the characters of their cars in detail.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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