Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS: Pushing the boundaries of street legality

Just unconventional: Why not use the top boxer engine of the 911 in the mid-engine of the Cayman? Simple idea, elaborate execution. This resulted in a Porsche of historic magnitude. David Staretz has driven this ultimate super Porsche for us.

  • Text
    David Staretz
  • Fotos
    Matthias Mederer · ramp.pictures

"Now, let's do something truly ingeniously simple: We take the naturally aspirated boxer engine from the 911 GT3 RS, this 520 horsepower powerhouse, and place the engine, along with its gearbox, upside down in the 718 Cayman. Then, nobody will really call it a Café Racer anymore!

This might have sounded similar to the initial fundamental idea behind the 718 GT4 RS, and yes, it is of compelling sophistication! Even better: it worked out entirely. The car stands there, so earthbound muscular, so mass-centralized and composed, that one might think Porsche has been reinvented at its core.

Of course, in the reality check, there are many small problems to overcome and complications to tackle before reaching true simplicity."


1/3
»Der Wagen steht da, so erdverbunden muskulös und in sich ruhend, dass man denkt, Porsche sei im Wesenskern neu erfunden worden.«

"For instance, they used the transmission gears suitable for the 718, but oops! Since everything was installed upside down in the car, it resulted in seven reverse gears and one forward gear. So, they had to add an extra gear to reverse the entire sequence. However, the 718 gearbox couldn't withstand the hours-long Weissach endurance test at its new 9,000 RPM redline. Hence, they had to engineer a pressure lubrication system for the gearbox's main shaft, requiring considerable engineering effort. And as if that wasn't enough, it was necessary to conduct a separate crash test for the new detail to ensure no leaks or potential oil splatters occurred. This gives us an insider's view into the challenges of automotive engineering at the highest level.

It's therefore not surprising that the power dropped by 20 horsepower to 500 horsepower, which, according to project leader Markus Atz, has no model-political reasons but is based on the necessarily lengthened exhaust pipes crossing over the rear axle. 'Naturally aspirated engines are sensitive to such changes,' says the Swabian."

"Those who don't feel like strapping in can just pull on the automatic belt. Keep it simple!"

"A toast to the sensitivity of naturally aspirated engines! Here, where the engine can warm up at ideal temperatures, the air is still fresh like summer, the six-cylinder boxer engine breathes particularly deep. The vibration at idle, the barely perceptible oscillations of the red needle at 850 RPM, the restrained yet menacing sound that urges caution but doesn't reveal what it's truly capable of when revved high. When only helicopter-like music bellows, that insane overlapping of frequencies and interferences, the sound transforms into a sensation of pain. A kind of pain one would endure until the fuel runs out or the racetrack closes. Just before that, the Porsche team was 23 seconds faster than its predecessor on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Easy going.

The combined best components seem tailor-made for each other. A Porsche has emerged, as Dr. Ferdinand would have appreciated it—light and compact, balanced with a low center of gravity thanks to its mid-engine placement, as reliable as a Porsche, and as close to a racing machine as something still roadworthy can be."

David Staretz

David Staretz

Freelance Author
David Staretz, born 1956 in Horn. Since 1976 editor, then chief editor of Autorevue. Since 2000 freelance author: car tests for various magazines, writes and photographs travel reports and artist portraits. In his gallery, Kontor Staretz, he builds kinetic objects and puts them on display to amuse passers-by. In 2004, the book Lenk mich doch! Geschichten rund ums Auto was published by Deuticke.
rampstyle #25 Keep It Simple and Smart

rampstyle #25 Keep It Simple and Smart

Wir erleben unsere Welt nicht nur als ziemlich kompliziert, sondern auch als äußerst komplex. In komplexen Systemen ist alles unvorhersehbar. Und wir sind mehr oder weniger fröhlich mittendrin.

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