Tag Archives: event

Cayman R and 911 SC Comparison

After supplying OPC Kendal with my fully restored 911 SC for the launch event of the new 991 series 911, the ever helpful Simon Parker offered me the loan of a new Cayman R for the duration and very kindly had the tank brimmed to the top.

911 SC

Now, seeing as I live up in Carlisle, which is around 50 miles away, my car will be away until Wednesday the 14th so I’ve got a bit of time to get to know the car.

The car is black with silver proto stripes and fitted with a rear wing, lightweight 19″ alloys in silver, lightweight bucket seats, sports chrono, sat nav and that’s about it I think.

First impressions? What a car!

For all my air-cooled passions, I’m still a guy who very much appreciates the modern stuff, as I’ve said a few times the Boxster Spyder is probably the best suited car for me that Porsche make today and a lovely looking thing it is. What, with my love of track days and ring trips can the Cayman be even better?

Bringing it home over the A6 the car instantly gives confidence; the road is a mixture of tight and twisty with some epic 4th gear sweepers to really get you in the mood. Over a sharp summit there was plenty of snow around so we weren’t fully on it being 2.5 degrees outside with wet and greasy tarmac, but the wider footprint of the Cayman over the 911 certainly gives it that planted feel.

It’s plenty powerful enough, especially after getting out of a 204bhp 911, it feels pretty light on its feet for a modern car. Coming from the none assisted steering of the 911, that I still haven’t fully gelled with yet, you tend to turn in more than you need! I’m not sure if the sport button alters the power steering as well as the throttle response but it’ll just take a bit of getting used to. The engine note is just sublime! No switchable sports exhaust on this one but unbelievably I don’t think it needs it. Yes I know they tune these things these days opposed to the equally sublime but plainly more mechanical sounding air-cooled engines, but they don’t half make a good job of it.

The lightweight buckets are superb but the misses doesn’t like them, also on pulling up at work a mate who was arriving had a sit in the car. Now Chris is a good 6 foot odd and built like a rugby player but he just couldn’t fit in them and his head was brushing the ceiling. He said it felt like sitting in a go kart, it just wouldn’t do for him at all (he drives an Audi s5 cab). Interesting considering all the internet waffle that says any Cayman R/Spyder/GT3 that doesn’t have the buckets isn’t a real Porsche!

Other negatives? The wing mirrors seem comically huge! They obviously give great rearward vision, surely their point after all, but they create a massive blind spot at front quarter, the steering wheel seems to be way too thick, which reminds me of my old CSL but most annoying is the secondary ride quality with those 19″ wheels. Even on smooth roads the car seems to pitter patter over every tiny imperfection and on local roads I wasn’t even aware that there were any. This was probably exaggerated by the hard cushions of the bucket seats.

Let’s not dwell on the minor imperfections and to be fair every modern car has sprouted massive wing mirrors & wheels these days so it’s a little unfair to single out the Cayman for these.

I’ve got a brand new Porsche I could never realistically afford and 3 full days with the north’s best driving roads. Epic.

Cayman R
Cayman R
Cayman R

Stats (SC figures first):
Engine: 3.0L flat 6, 204bhp. 3.4L, 325 BHP
Performance: 0-60 in 5.7 and 146 mph. 0-60 in 4.7 and 174 mph (Cayman R with PDK)

Le Mans Camping Road Trip

It’s 3 days on from Le Mans 2011 and I’m still recovering… but, would I do it again?! Of course!

Here’s what we did – As a team of 7 and joining a close friend for his stag do, we hired a motor home from Just Go at a cost of £800 for 4 days, which was collected on the Thursday prior to the weekend. Departing from Folkestone via the Channel Tunnel at 10:20, we had an entire carriage to ourselves with room to spread out and have a game of rugby.

Euro Tunnel Rugby

The drive down in the motor home took a little longer than expected and we arrived at our first traffic jam on the way into Bleu Nord, via Arnage and the infamous ‘burn-out’ roundabout.

Route to Le Mans

Pitching up at Beausejour around 18:00 with a couple of short stops and traffic jams on the way (didn’t feel that long due to us gawping at the number of classic Porsches, Ferraris and Astons), we found a quiet spot inside the track about a mile from the 2 chicanes before the main grandstand.

Le Mans Campsite

Unfortunately there was no qualifying to watch on the Friday, so we wandered up to the roundabout we’d heard so much about. Years ago, talented drivers turned up in Ferrari’s and Porsche’s and drifted around the roundabout. This year it was a bit more Honda Civic with fwd burnouts but every now and again something interesting turned up. There were French riot police on stand by and some very loud bangers and fireworks going off. This was entertaining on a boys trip for a bit but we would have much rather seen some more exotic cars turning up and the drivers not to feel threatened by drunk yobs standing in the road shouting ‘gummi gummi gummi’.

Le Mans roundabout

The 24 hour race started at 15:00 on the Saturday and we made our way over to the start of the 2 chicanes. Seated by a large crowd of Danish supporters for Tom Kristensen in the Audi, we felt in good company. Within a few laps of the race, Tom pitted and Alan McNish took over and we heard the news on the Le Mans radio station (91.2) about the crash. The radio coverage was a must if you aren’t within site of a TV or in the grandstand.

Everyone was in agreement that the Corvettes sounded incredible but you can clearly see the speed the GT cars have to scrub off pre-corner apposed to the full on Le Mans racers such as the Audi and Peugeot, however these cars sounded like hoovers and the GT cars were more exciting for the spectator.

In the evening we ventured out under the bridge, past Arnage and followed the general direction of traffic. On route, 5 out of the 7 of us fell in ditches due to no lights beside the road and possibly, slightly alcohol related, but hey, it was a stag do. The sharp right hander we ended up at next to the track was awesome. Witnessing the cars on full throttle from the Mulsanne straight, into a chicane, back on the power and through a fast right hander was exhilarating and this must be the best spot. The Corvette made my insides shake from the volume and the bass – I’m still looking at second hand prices of the Z06 and maybe Fast German could be expanded to include the Astons, Corvettes and Ferraris of this world.

Le Mans Lights

Le Mans Night

Le Mans M3 Crash

3 solid days of drinking, eating burgers and listening to Le Mans noise and I’m shattered. A long drive home and thanks to the UK for closing the M20.

Just Go Motor Home

That was good fun getting a 7ft 6 motor home through country roads. Fantastic pictures provided courtesy of James Lipman and unfortunately I can’t post the more stag related ones :-).