Earlier this month Porsche introduced the new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, a car that speaks to the core of the legendary brand’s motorsport heritage.
Shown for the first time in the metal since being announced globally last month, the Cayman GT4 Clubsport is now in its second generation, the first debuting three years ago without “718” script on its rear deck lid.
Unlike the previous version this latest GT4 Clubsport will be available in two trims, first as a “Trackday” model designed for “ambitious amateur racing drivers,” and the second as “a ‘Competition’ variant for national and international motor racing,” the latter being the spec model used for the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series.
Before delving into the differences, both cars receive a 3.8-litre flat-six “boxer” engine capable of 425 horsepower at 7,800 rpm, which is a 40-horsepower bump over its predecessor, while torque is up by 4 lb-ft to 313 at 6,600 rpm. Past model in mind, this is the first time we’ve seen a six-cylinder engine in the Cayman since the previous GT4 Clubsport left us and the new turbo-four was ushered in as part of the 982-generation update for the 2017 model year.
The new GT4 Clubsport engine, which requires a minimum of 98 octane Super Plus unleaded fuel, features a 12.5:1 compression ratio, integrated dry sump lubrication, racing-optimized water cooling with thermal management for the engine and transmission, four-valve technology with adjustable camshaft phasing and VarioCam Plus variable valve timing, racing-optimized Continental SDI 9 electronic engine management, and more.
Breaking ranks from the previous GT4 Clubsport, the short-throw six-speed manual will no longer be offered, with the only gearbox now available being Porsche’s dual-clutch PDK automated transmission featuring six gears instead of the usual seven, plus a reinforced dual mass flywheel, an electronic control unit optimized for racing, a mechanical rear axle differential lock that’s also been optimized for racing, and internal pressure oil lubrication with active oil cooling.
Other changes from the stock 718 Cayman include a lightweight spring-strut front suspension pulled from the 911 GT3 Cup; plus height, camber and track adjustable dampers front and rear; fixed shock absorbers with the Trackday car or three-way racing shocks with rebound and two-stage high- and low-speed compression adjustment for the Competition model; forged suspension links with optimized stiffness, double shear mountings, and high-performance spherical bearings front and rear; a three-hole design front anti-roll bar; an adjustable blade-type rear anti-roll bar, and five-bolt wheel hubs.
Those wheels are one-piece forged light alloys in a new “weight-optimized” design rolling on 25/64 front and 27/68 rear Michelin transportation tires, while Michelin also supplies the slick/wet tires that measure 25/64-18 up front and 27/68-18 at the rear as well.
Additionally, those wheels and tires frame a set of racing-spec brakes that include four multi-piece, ventilated and grooved steel rotors measuring 380 millimetres across, plus racing brake pads, aluminum mono-bloc six-piston front and four-piston rear racing calipers with “Anti Knock Back” piston springs, and a brake booster with the Trackday model, or brake balance adjustment via a balance bar system with the Competition version.
Making the most of all the performance upgrades is a lower unladen weight of just 1,320 kilograms; this despite the GT4 Clubsport’s robust safety cage (certified according to FIA Art. 277) that gets welded into place at the factory, plus the 911 GT3-inspired front spoiler and massive fixed rear wing.
On that note, the GT4 Clubsport’s body structure is formed from a lightweight aluminum-steel composite; its front hood and rear deck lid held in place by quick release fasteners; its roof fitted with an escape hatch (FIA Art. 275a certified); its FT3 safety fuel cell either measuring 80 litres (Trackday) or 115 litres (Competition) with an FIA-compliant “Fuel Cut Off” safety valve; its undercarriage either getting pre-installed mounting points for a three-piston air jack system (Trackday) or a factory-installed three-piston air jack system (Competition); while FIA-certified front and rear towing loops also get fitted to the outside.
Inside, the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport features a motorsport centre console with “enhanced functionality and adapted usability,” provisions for a safety net, and a six-point safety harness for its sole Recaro race bucket seat that offers fore and aft adjustment plus a padding system that’s adjustable as needed.
Of course, the key focus of the new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport was to improve its overall drivability with the end goal of quicker lap times, but interestingly Porsche didn’t forget about social responsibilities in its quest for less weight and stiffer, stronger construction. The result is the world’s first production racecar to ever incorporate natural-fibre composite body parts.
The doors and rear wing are made out of an organic fibre mix sourced from agricultural by-products, such as flax or hemp fibres, and Porsche claims the final product weighs about the same as the component would if produced from a carbon-fibre composite, while rigidity is similar too. Specifically, the new natural-fibre composite mix was used for the rear wing, sideblades, and “swan neck” mounts, while the doors were skinned in the sustainable material.
As noted earlier, the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trackday incorporates a more common fixed shock absorber design, plus ABS, ESC, and traction control assistance systems to allow for easier at-the-limit control, although take note that all of the above can be deactivated. The Trackday model also features standard air-conditioning and a handheld fire extinguisher, while, important for a non-road-homologated car, it can be serviced at all Porsche Centres, including Porsche Centre Vancouver.
The Competition model, on the other hand, will need its own team of mechanics, one of which will need to be experienced in adjusted its three-stage shocks, while it will be up to the driver to modulate the infinitely adjustable front/rear bias of the brake balance system.
The Competition model’s team will appreciate the shorter pit stops afforded by its integrated air jacks, and these won’t need to happen as often thanks to its larger fuel safety cell.
Additional safety features include an automatic fire extinguishing system, while its quick-release race steering wheel, gleaned from the 911 GT3 R, not only allows for a speedy escape if required, but can also provide for faster driver changes and plenty of adjustment possibilities.
The new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trackday model is now available from $216,500, whereas the same car with the Competition package starts at $242,000.
This said if something a little more down to earth sounds more appealing, the 2019 718 Cayman starts at just $63,700 in 300-horsepower base trim and can sprint from zero to 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds with its optional Sport Chrono Package, while a Sport Chrono-equipped 718 Cayman S can manage the same feat in just 4.2 seconds thanks to 350 horsepower. Lastly, the 365-horsepower 718 Cayman GTS lops another second off of the lesser model’s zero to 100km/h time, and keeps the price of entry well under $100k.
To learn more about the 2019 Porsche 718 Cayman, contact Porsche Centre Vancouver by phone at (604) 736-7911, or visit us in our showroom at 688 Terminal Ave, Vancouver.
Also, make sure to check out the following two 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport videos:
Perfectly Addicting: The new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport (2:02):
Setting a New Standard with the New Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport (1:23):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press
Photo credits: Porsche
Copyright: Canadian Auto Press Inc.
Date Posted: February 28, 2019