Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport 2017

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You and I already know the road-going Porsche Cayman GT4 is one of the finest sports cars money can buy. Or rather could buy, if it wasn’t sold out. So logic dictates the Clubsport, the GT4’s racing alter-ego, could be about as fun as driving a car gets.

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Eligible for a variety of racing series around the world and aimed at private buyers and teams alike, it’s a track-only twin to the road car. And twin really is the operative term; it says much for the standard GT4’s inherent track-readiness that the road-to-race conversion job list for Porsche’s engineers wasn’t a long one. Other than a raised oil level, the engine’s completely untouched, so it’s the same howling 3.8-litre 380bhp naturally aspirated flat-six we know and love. The purist-friendly GT4 road car is manual-only, but racing drivers don’t care about tactility or involvement when shift-speed is king and a missed gear can mean missing a race win, so the Clubsport is PDK all the way.

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Any doubts about the seriousness of the racing proposition end here. You do get air-con though

Just as the GT4 road car’s front axle is nicked from the 911 GT3, the Clubsport takes its front suspension from the 911 GT3 Cup race car, but other than a broader lip on the rear spoiler, the bodywork’s more or less untouched. Roosting on its air jacks here in the Lausitzring circuit’s garages, fat slicks filling its arches, it looks delicious.

Thread yourself through the rollcage and you’ll find yourself sat inside the Cayman’s body-in-white, with a few disembodied pieces of switchgear floating surreally in the otherwise naked interior; electric window and mirror switches, air-con controls (not a sop to comfort, a must in long endurance racing stints), and the Cayman’s regular instrument panel, forlornly displaying a warning from the tyre pressure monitoring system nonplussed by the slicks.

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Much of the weight saving’s undone by the reassuringly beefy rollcage, so the 1300kg Clubsport weighs only around 40kg less than the road car. It’s so much more agile, however, you’d swear it was half the weight. With the help of the slicks and a clever 12-stage ABS system, you can leave your braking impossibly late, waiting until you’re practically in the corner before you punch the pedal, and when you turn in, the tyres bite and bolt for the apex where the road car scrubs into gentle understeer.

Proof as ever that a road car, even one as hardcore as the GT4, will never pass a fitness test against a racing car. The street car sounds the more sonorous of the two, the racer losing a little of that yowling tone in its journey around the sparse interior. It’s thrillingly savage from the outside though, six very angry-sounding cylinders reverberating around the empty grandstands and intermittently yelping as the revs flare automatically with every downshift.

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Less expensive than a bespoke racing gearbox but still effective on track, the PDK ’box fits perfectly with the Clubsport’s target audience of novice to intermediate drivers. As does the car itself; friendly but thrillingly agile on the limit, it’s every bit as much fun as you’d imagine. To race one for real, dicing with swarms of rival GT cars, must be heaven itself.

SPECIFICATIONS


Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport

porsche-cayman-gt-4-8Price: £81,000 plus VAT (in non-race ‘trackday’ spec)
Engine: 3800cc 34v V6 flat-six
Power: 380bhp @ 7400rpm
Torque: 310lb ft @ 4750-6000rpm
Transmission: six-speed PDK, limited-slip driff, rearwheel-drive
0-62mph: 4.4sec
Top speed: 180mph (est)
On sale: Now

VERDICT 5/5

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Anybody who has raced, or dreams of racing, wants one

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