This hillbilly hauls ass. That he sees the 2006 Carrera S he drives as little more than a tool is evidenced by the fact that most of its Basalt Black panels have been repainted, the result of a few unintended bumps along his road to becoming a better driver on track.
If Jared Cullop sounds different than the average new 911 buyer, that’s because he is. When he isn’t driving his blacked-out 997S on track, he’s running his favorite back roads in the South, a legendary group of curves known as the Tail of the Dragon…on slicks. I like him already.
“The first thing you need to know about me is I’m a redneck,” chuckles Jared. “I’m not used to cars like this. Heck, where I grew up, folks are proud to have runnin’ water!” Then, in his early 20s, he was selling boats for his uncle when a customer took a liking to him. Today, he’s a partner in a medium-sized company that does design consultation, marketing, and sales for resort communities. In his spare time, Jared is into turbo-diesel pickups with 1,000+lb-ft of torque, a Datsun 240Z resto-rod, and this Porsche.
“My friends look at the sports cars and think I’m crazy,” offers Jared. “But I always liked ’em.” He’s been a fairly quick study. He can turn a 2:08 on Virginia International Raceway’s full course in his heavily modified 997S, this despite its air-conditioning, full interior, and monster sound system. Synergy Racing, the shop that set Jared’s 997S up, is sure there’s a 2:03 in the car. To put these times into perspective, Synergy Racing’s Koni Challenge 997 Carrera Ss — race cars with full cages, interior-delete, and no A/C — turn 2:05s.
Jared has shipped his 997S to California for a road test we set up for three “non-GT” Porsches. GT2s and GT3s are nice, but Porsche doesn’t build many. So, curious to see how “regular” Porsches might benefit from aftermarket attention, we invited a modified Cayman S, Carrera S, and Turbo to a two-day comparison on our North Test Loop. With mid- and rear-engines, rear- and all-wheel-drive, and normally-aspirated, supercharged, and turbocharged flat sixes, it promised to be an interesting couple of days.
Then things went sideways. Originally, this was to be an “East Coast tuners meet West Coast roads” story, but two shops backed out — after Jared’s car was on a truck. Fortunately, finding two last-minute stand-ins wasn’t all that difficult. Bay Area tuners S Car Go Racing and SharkWerks answered the call, sending two cars that would make for a study in contrasts.
On the heavy-weight side is S Car Go’s turned-up Turbo, a 3,486-pound bruiser batting with a claimed 620 bhp and 600 lb-ft of torque — 140 bhp and 98 lb-ft more than stock — so long as it’s guzzling 100-octane premium. The added power comes courtesy of S Car Go’s aluminum intake plenum, a 997 GT3 throttle body, Blown Six intercoolers, S Car Go headers, modified VTG turbochargers, a re-baffled stock muffler with 200-cell race catalysts, and a Protomotive engine-management reflash. The engine modifications added up to $21,000; another $3,000 bought a GT3 RS flywheel and GT2 clutch pack.
S Car Go deemed the factory ceramic-composite PCCB brakes sufficient, but firmed the chassis up with Bilstein B16 Damptronic coil-overs. These work with the Turbo’s PASM system, allowing the driver to stiffen their settings at the touch of a button. ERP rear toe links with bushings, a carbon-fiber strut brace, and GT3 anti-roll bars round out the chassis mods. Installed with alignment and corner-balancing, the suspension came to $6,500. The 19-inch Dymag wheels, with carbon-fiber rims and magnesium centers, cost a cool $12,000 and shave 29 pounds of unsprung rotational mass.