Review: Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport

Review: Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport
Review: Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport

A racer with an auto gearbox? Let’s have a go

For most drivers a Porsche Cayman GT4 would be all the car they could possibly imagine – and manage. Even on the track it feels fierce, harsh and raw. The 3.8-litre flat six is extremely loud, and can be wailed rapidly up and down thanks to the short-throw six-speed manual gearbox. The PASM damping is so firm and intense that you don’t need it in Sport mode, even on the track unless you’re a bit of a hero. Surely this is all the Porsche Cayman anyone would need?

At the top of the racer list something like a Porsche GT3 R would cost you about 429,000 Euros, so by those standards spending about £81,000 on a Cayman GT4 Clubsport in ‘track day’ specification doesn’t look too bad. For that you win and lose. You win by getting a full rollcage, 911 GT3 Cup front suspension and the PDK auto transmission. You lose about 40kg, thanks in part to much of the interior being slung out.

The auto box sounds a strange choice at one level, but that’s where motorsport is, and it’s a whole lot cheaper and easier on the car than a full sequential gearbox. When the red mist descends you’re not going to be over-revving that flat six, nor locking it up by ill-timed shifts. It looks like a lot of track-day racer for your money but there have been some economies – there are steel brakes on five-stud hubs with 18in wheels for example.

On the move, this feels like a serious bit of kit. The dash has some dials you need to understand, like the ones confirming ABS and suspension. On the day we had it clicked for warm slicks and a dry track. Happiness and tension in equal measure. The first thing you notice is how that gearbox rushes through the gears with nary a pause, smoother and faster than most drivers could emulate. It means you can shift mid-turn without upsetting the balance, even though the suspension felt so hard it was almost unsettling on some sections.

Actually this track car was probably easier to drive than the road car. It felt refined, direct and connected, even more than the impressive standard Cayman GT4. This really would be a good and large jump for anyone who wanted to have a dedicated track day car. But it doesn’t stop there. You can go even higher, even more extreme.

For another 30,000 Euros or so you can add the initials MR. Race experts Manthey Racing lend their initials to a car that has had another 40kg stripped out of it thanks to things like polycarbonate instead of the glass, carbon doors and more. This is the level where you can add CAN data logger, fast fuel fillers and more. It’s for serious drivers only.

You’ll be reminded of that the first time you go for the brakes. There is no space for a servo so you need to hit that pedal harder than you’d imagine for the first few laps. Welcome to the outer edge. But this is set up for endurance racers and so it feels more compliant, more kerb-friendly than even the standard car. Let’s be honest, you’d need to be a pukka racer to really start exploring those edges to find out where the other improvements are, and a few laps simply wasn’t enough for this writer to uncover all the glories hidden.

But there’s no doubt if you want to race a Porsche then one of these will make you the best you can be, whether that’s at full race pace or at a full-on trackday. And it reminds us, yet again, that the Porsche Cayman GT4 is a pretty epic place to start – and, for most people, to finish.

Engine: 3,800cc flat-6
Transmission: 6-speed PDK rear-wheel drive, limited-slip differential
Power (hp): 385@7,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 310@4,750rpm
0-62mph: N/A
Top speed: N/A
Weight: 1,300kg DIN (Clubsport)/c. 1,262kg DIN (MR)
Price: £81,000 (starting price for basic GT4 Clubsport; UK race ready car with fire extinguisher system, 100-litre fuel cell, Recaro seat, air jacks and air conditioning from £95,300; MR package additional and according to options; all prices +VAT)

Engine: 3,800cc flat-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive, limited-slip differential
Power (hp): 385@7,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 310@4,750rpm
0-62mph: 4.4sec
Top speed: 182mph
Weight: 1,340kg (DIN, without driver)
MPG: 27.4mpg (NEDC combined)

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