The crew at Napleton soon busied themselves transforming each new road car into a race car. Out came the interior; in went a full cage, Cobra Sebring race seat, Schroth five-point harness, eight-nozzle remote fire system, and a Momo steering wheel on a quick-release hub. The suspension was modified to include JRZ RS Pro dampers with Hypercoil main/ tender springs, solid spherical-bearing mounting plates, three-way adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars utilizing heim-joint droplinks, 997 GT3 lower control arms with solid bushings, adjustable front caster bars, spherical-bearing tie rods with bump-steer ends, and rear toe links with bump-steer adapters.
Brakes remain stock but for Pagid RS29 pads, racing fluid, and stainless-steel lines to ensure a firm pedal in tough racing conditions. Cooling is via GT3-style ducting up front and NACA ducting in the rear. Air flow around the car is managed by an Interseries-spec front splitter and an adjustable GT3 Cup-like rear wing. The engine, transmission, and ECU remain “sealed” against tampering, but a spec muffler replaces the delivered unit and an additional center radiator is installed to help keep the 3.4-liter six cool.
The goal is a spec series in which the driver is the lone determining factor, so no additional modifications are permitted. The turn-key race cars can be purchased from Napleton for just under $92,000, and a parts “kit” is in the works. The only items necessary to make a car race-ready include competition wheels, Hoosier R6 DOT racing tires (245/35 up front, 295/30 rear) an optional (but recommended) data-acquisition system, and a historic Porsche livery. “We even throw in a free tank of gas,” chuckles Barnaba.
Riding with longtime pro driver Jack Baldwin — whom Gehani refers to as the “series competition mentor” — for a few hot laps, it’s interesting to experience a Cayman S that has most of its civility removed. Most notable are the sounds. The song of the flat six resonates through the cabin as sheet metal seems to hold its tune. And that’s capped by a distinct, mechanical whirring of the gears in the upper octave range. Unexpected is the suppleness of the ride. Sure, it’s stiffer than stock — but it’s much more compliant than, say, a GT3 Cup.
“It needs to be forgiving and easy to drive for these guys,” explains Baldwin, who adds that most of the competitors are still fairly new to the track and very new to wheel-to-wheel competition.
Gehani pilots the Porsche-Salzburg-liveried Cayman, inspired by Porsche’s first overall winner at Le Mans. While he won’t soon be mistaken for 24-hour victors Richard Attwood or Hans Herrmann, he’s shown formidable aptitude behind the wheel, showing well at Road Atlanta and running at or near the front as the Savannah weekend progressed. He’s quick to point out that the series is as much a classroom as it is competition.
Stroll through the Cayman Interseries paddock compound, and you’re likely to see Baldwin leading a discussion on avoiding trouble during race starts and restarts, or an AIM representative teaching competitors how to analyze track data and leverage that to improve lap times. “Jack even walks the track with us,” adds Gehani. “He’ll stop and say, ‘Look at this; this corner is off-camber. Look at that; you don’t want to hit that rumble strip.’ There’s a lot of time and effort spent educating us.”