PORSCHE PREPS R-GT CAYMAN RALLY CAR
Currently just a concept, could become a full-blown competition car
The wait continues for official news of Porsche’s follow up to the smash-hit 981 Cayman GT4. But the old model isn’t quite dead. Porsche has revealed what it is describing as a ‘concept study’ rally car based on the original GT4. We give you the Cayman R-GT Clubsport.
The starting point for the new concept-cum-racer is the Cayman GT4 Clubsport circuit car. That variant has been campaigned at clubsport level worldwide since the 2016 season and is powered by the same 385hp, 3.8-litre flat-six engine as the GT4 road car. However, the GT4 racer differs from the road car courtesy of its dual-clutch PDK transmission, with shift paddles on the steering wheel. The road GT4 was available only with a manual gearbox.
For rallying, full underbody protection has been fitted to the GT4 Clubsport. An energy-absorbing foam element, as used in WRC cars, has been mounted in the doors. As we go to press, the Cayman RGT is due to run as a course car at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland with Porsche- retained pilot Romain Dumas behind the wheel. Dumas, of course, won Le Mans with Porsche in the 919 Hybrid in 2016 and has an extensive CV full of successful drives in 911-derived race cars. Indeed, Dumas’s rally engineering company RD Limited has reportedly handled the competition makeover, turning a GT4 Clubsport circuit car into a rally weapon.
Group R-GT, of course, is an official FIA class for GT cars in rallying. R-GT cars compete in the FIA R-GT Cup, which takes place on Tarmac rounds of the ERC and
WRC, including Rallye Monte-carlo, Ypres Rally, Rallye Deutschland, Rallye International du Valais and Tour de Corse. The R-GT regs were first introduced in 2011. However, since 2014 technical passports for individual vehicles have been available, meaning homologation for specific car models is no longer a requirement.
In 2015, the first year of competition, François Delecour snatched top honours overall in a Tuthill-prepared Porsche 997 GT3. Ever since, it’s been the roaring GT3 that’s defined the class and provided a compelling alternative to the hatch back based WRC cars. Fiat has since entered the class with the Abarth 124 R-GT. Other models to have competed in the class include the Lotus Exige R-GT.
“We’re looking forward to seeing how the rally world responds to our FIA R-GT concept study,” says Dr. Frank-steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars. “I would like to invite every interested driver and team principal to visit the service park and take a close look at our rally concept car. Based on the feedback and the interest from potential customers, we will then decide by the end of the year whether we’ll develop in the mid-term a competition car for nearstandard rallying based on a future Porsche model.”
It’s not therefore certain whether the Cayman R-GT will make the transition from fully working concept to full-blown competition car. However, if it does, we’d expect it to be based on the upcoming new GT4, based on the newer 718 chassis. For now, Porsche hasn’t confirmed the existence of a new GT4 explicitly. However, Porsche motorsport reps have discussed the introduction of a new GT4 racer in some detail and indicated that it will have additional power thanks to a new spec of road engine.
Currently, the smart money is on a new naturally aspirated 4.0-litre motor that shares its swept capacity and perhaps some parts with the latest 911 GT3, but falls short of delivering the full 9000rpm and 500hp experience. An output in the range of 420 to 430hp is probable from the new flat six. Essentially the same engine will also form the basis of a new Boxster Spyder. However, given all existing 718 models currently run flat-four engines and have been promoted heavily courtesy of links to the classic 718 racer of the 1950s and 1960s, also powered by a flat-four engine, it’s not clear whether the 718 branding will be retained for the GT4 and Spyder specials.
A Cayman R-GT rally car? Now that’s something we’d like to see rallying competitively. At present it is due to run as course car on the ADAC Rallye Deutschland, driven by Porsche works driver, Romain Dumas