The Porsche Cayman has always had a dear spot in our hearts. In another life, I was an engineer at a large OEM and we were doing benchmarking testing for our next generation of sports car. We benchmarked many different sports cars in the market segment that our upcoming new car was supposed to live in and the one car that stood out among the others as having the best handling was the then new 987 Porsche Cayman. It became the handling target benchmark for the new car and try as they might, the engineers could not get the prototype to match it. We suppose that the fact that the Cayman was a mid-engine car with close to ideal weight distribution might have had something to do with it. The Cayman has a very nimble feel and close to a neutral balance which made the other sports cars feel clumsy. Unfortunately, Porsche outfitted the car with the awful M96 engine which we wrote about its shortcomings which hampered the car. However, in 2010, the Cayman S was available with the excellent direct injection 3.4-liter flat-6 9A1 engine as well as with the fast-shifting, dual-clutch 7-speed PDK transmission. This is one of our favorites variants of the car.
Now as time goes on, these once fairly expensive cars are becoming more affordable on the used car market and they have a fairly large aftermarket of pretty decent parts. Of course, being Porsches, a lot of the performance parts available are sorta douchy boutique parts that are expensive yet give questionable improvements in performance. So instead of looking at what is popular on the forums, we turned to our friends that race these cars in POC, NASA, SCCA and IMSA for advice. We also had a request to build a special Cayman for one of our friends. Her requirement was that she was currently using her 987 Cayman S as a casual track day car but wanted more. She currently also owns a 991 GT3 but did not necessarily want to push the limit and refine her driving on such an expensive car. She decided to turn her 2010 Cayman S into a devoted track day car. One of her requirements was that the car had to be driveable on the street if only to drive to and from the track. She lives in a nice beachside apartment that didn’t have room for a truck and trailer that she would need if her car was a pure race car.
So our orders were simple, build a streetable track car with as few compromises as possible! Our kind of project! We are going to be using parts from Tarett Engineering and KW suspension to put together a suspension setup very close to what a Porsche Cup car uses and what was also used in World Challange and Grand-Am racing on this chassis.
One of the best dual-purpose suspensions with a great deal of flexibility is the KW Clubsport. The Clubsport has independently adjustable compression and rebound damping. The damping adjustability range is wide which means that you have some leeway to change spring rates, handy with a track car. Having double independent adjustment gives a lot of flexibility to tune the car to driver preference and different variables such as tire combinations and different tracks.
The KW Clubsport has features that also lend itself well for street use. The shock body is made of corrosion resistant stainless steel. The spring perches are also made of stainless clad in self-lubricating engineering plastic. No matter how wet or salty the environment you won’t suffer from seized spring seats or damping adjusters. The anti-corrosive construction is one of the reasons why KW Clubsports have a limited lifetime guarantee.
The front struts have spherical bearing equipped mounts. This gets rid of the stock rubber mounts. Since the upper mounts on a McPherson strut suspension car controls a lot of the geometry, namely camber it is important to get rid of the flex so the geometry will stay true under heavy side load. With bearings, there is no flex. The compromise is more interior noise and vibration but hey, this is a track car! The Clubsport upper mounts do have some concessions for street use as the corrosion resistant bearings are completely sealed against moisture and dirt. This is unheard of for race style upper mounts.