Sleeper sweeper: 2019 Porsche Cay­man GTS

Motor Trend - - 2018 Best Driver’s Car - Jonny Lieber­man

“We’re only bring­ing one Porsche,” said a vil­lain who shall re­main name­less dur­ing the plan­ning process for Best Driver’s Car. Just one? Are we nuts? Last year we brought two of Zuf­fen­hausen’s finest—718 Cay­man S and 911 Turbo S—and they both wound up on the podium, sec­ond and third, re­spec­tively.

This year, the Porsche of­fer­ings looked even stronger. Just look at the 911s: GT3, GT3 with a man­ual, GT3 Tour­ing, GTS, 911 T, and the ma­chine we ul­ti­mately set­tled on, the track king GT2 RS. We could have even brought along the new Panam­era Turbo, and I prom­ise it would have placed mid­pack. Then there’s the case of the nearly for­got­ten Cay­man GTS.

This GTS, like all Porsche GTS mod­els, is a sim­ple for­mula. Take a bunch of things that are op­tional on other trims (PASM, torque vec­tor­ing, Sport Chrono, 20-inch wheels, the sport ex­haust), in­clude them as stan­dard equip­ment on the GTS, then add power—in this case 15 hp for a healthy 365 horse­power. Should you opt for the PDK trans­mis­sion, it makes 317 lb-ft of torque. (The man­ual GTS stumps up 309 lb-ft, just like the Cay­man S.)

We used the $91,490 Cay­man as a sweep car in be­tween runs of Route 198—to en­sure the CHP road clo­sure was in full ef­fect and no civil­ian cars were lin­ger­ing at vista points. We also needed the Cay­man for an up­com­ing Head 2 Head episode we were film­ing.

I made the ter­ri­ble mis­take of driv­ing the Cay­man GTS both on Route 198 and around La­guna Seca. At La­guna Seca, I re­mem­ber con­stantly catch­ing the poor Stelvio in front of me—and I had a pas­sen­ger. Randy Pobst also drove it for kicks, and the GTS was more than a sec­ond quicker than last year’s Cay­man S, 1:38.79 ver­sus 1:40.05. And com­ing down 198, I dis­tinctly re­mem­ber think­ing to my­self, “fourth place.” Con­sid­er­ing this year’s podium, that would be an honor­able fin­ish.

I’m not nec­es­sar­ily say­ing we brought the wrong Porsche. I’m just re­stat­ing what I told our name­less vil­lain: We should have brought more Porsches.

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