Go­ing for broke

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - IMPRESSIONS -

ORSCHE’S lat­est Cay­man GT4 is a compact two- seater coupe with a large GT- wing at the rear, gap­ing front air in­takes, side- blades to ram air into the mid- mounted en­gine’s in­take and large cross­drilled disc brakes – all of which add up to a sports car seem­ingly more bred for the track than for the streets.

We find our­selves at the Sepang In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit get­ting ready to have a go in this visu­ally cap­ti­vat­ing Porsche that has come into ex­is­tence af­ter hav­ing bor­rowed from the parts- bin of the com­pany’s favoured 911 fam­ily – the Car­rera S, GT3 and even the 918 Spy­der.

It’s been dressed in Rac­ing Yel­low for this par­tic­u­lar track day and might we say it’s a real stun­ner.

The GT- wing, made of car­bon fi­bre re­in­forced poly­mer ( CFRP), is prom­i­nent at the rear and with the ca­pa­bil­ity of lap­ping the in­fa­mous Nür­bur­gring Nord­schleife in 7 min­utes and 40 sec­onds; it was hard to hold back the en­thu­si­asm.

Priced from RM840,000, the Cay­man GT4 uses the same en­gine found in the Car­rera S, only its 3.8- litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated flat- six en­gine that’s been turned 180 de­grees just to ac­com­mo­date the ex­haust and fuel feed and then mated to a six- speed man­ual trans­mis­sion for some three- pedal fun.

The throaty en­gine feels free and will­ing to rev up to­wards its 7,800rpm red­line, ever want­ing to un­leash all its 385hp at 7,400rpm and 420Nm of torque from 4,750 to 6,000rpm that’s sent to the rear wheels to help it reach 100kph from stand­still in 4.4 sec­onds be­fore top­ping out at 295kph.

The Cay­man GT4 on track came with the op­tional ana­logue- dig­i­tal timer that’s part of the Sport Chrono Pack­age and a rollover pro­tec­tion cage at the rear of the cabin from the Club Sport Pack­age.

Fur­ther­more, the seats have been up­graded to the one- piece ( fixed- back) bucket seats with ex­posed car­bon weave fin­ish adopted from the 918 Spy­der and up­hol­stered in black leather and Al­can­tara cen­tre – al­low­ing the match­ing body colour stitches and GT4 logo to stand out.

To heighten the fun, it also came with a set of op­tional cross- drilled Porsche Ce­ramic Com­pos­ite Brakes ( PCCB) 410mm- front and 390mm- rear and matched with yel­low alu­minium six- pot ( front) and four pot ( rear) cal­lipers – which is the same upgrade set up used in the 911 GT3.

It would be a slow and calm drive down to the end of the pit lane where we’d come to a com­plete stop and en­sure that the en­gine, sus­pen­sion and ex­haust were set to Sport mode.

A quick thumbs- up from the “gate- keeper” and it would be a full- throt­tle ex­pe­ri­ence down the straight to­wards turn one and two as we rev­elled in the en­gine’s sonorous notes.

The stiff bucket seats not only kept us prop- erly in place, but also al­lowed us to tell how much the car was yaw­ing via our pos­te­rior.

In short, there’s plenty of in­for­ma­tion reach­ing the driver from the get go, from each of the wheels’ trac­tion to how the car’s 1,340kg of un­laden heft trans­fers from aft to fore un­der heavy brak­ing, abrupt ac­cel­er­a­tions and head­ing into cor­ners.

In essence, the car sim­ply keeps the driver con­nected to how it re­acts to driver in­puts over a given road sur­face.

And to help man­age the tyres, the car was also in­stalled with an op­tional tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem that shows ( in real- time) the pounds per square inch ( PSI) for each tyre.

We found that even with the track’s sur­face tem­per­a­ture ap­proach­ing the 50- de­gree Cel­sius mark, the 245/ 35 ( front) and 295/ 30 ( rear) Miche­lin Pi­lot Sport Cup 2 tyres on 20- inch wheels didn’t lose too much of its per­for­mance.

Un­der hard brak­ing, there’s never a slip­pery sit­u­a­tion – even with Mon­sieur Biben­dum ( Miche­lin Man) prob­a­bly at its melt­ing point.

While still on our hot laps, the car’s elec- tronic driv­ing aids were still en­gaged and lacked any form of in­tru­sion, but still al­lowed for some tyre slip­page to oc­cur that was just enough for a good level of driver en­gage­ment.

As for old- school track go­ers who revel in the use of all three- ped­als and take pride in their skills of left- foot brak­ing and heel- and­toe tech­niques, the Cay­man GT4 sim­pli­fies ev­ery­thing to help max­imise at­ten­tion on driv­ing the car and shift­ing the gears in­stead of wor­ry­ing about the “foot- work” all the time.

The trans­mis­sion is a won­der­ful short- shift­ing six- speed man­ual that pro­vides a crisp en­gage­ment into each of the six gates that’s cou­pled with a lighter than ex­pected clutch and down­shifts are be­ing greeted with an au­to­matic blip of the throt­tle ( only in Sport Mode). The Porsche Torque Vec­tor­ing ( PTV) sys­tem, which uses a me­chan­i­cal dif­fer­en­tial lock, cou­pled with the never- wants- to- fade PCCB brakes en­sures that the front and rear are kept very well in check.

At times we may lock one of the front wheels mo­men­tar­ily, but the anti- lock brak­ing sys­tem is quick to re­lease it and en­sure op­ti­mal brak­ing is pro­vided with­out desta­bil­is­ing

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