In 2009, podium finishes in both sprint races and an enduro victory by Gehani in Savannah were followed at Daytona by a sprint race victory and another enduro win. Gehani missed the fourth and final weekend of the 2009 Cayman Interseries at Sebring, but he amassed enough points in three events to be declared the inaugural season champ. And as the season progressed, the field sizes expanded from four in Atlanta to the low-teens by the year’s end.
Barnaba is enthused not only by this growing interest but by the reliability of the cars throughout the year. “Collectively, we put probably 35,000 track miles on the cars now and there have been zero mechanical failures,” he says. “For us, it’s been normal consumables: tires and brakes.” Then he starts glancing around for a piece of wood to knock on.
Still, the development season uncovered a few areas for improvement. Notes Gehani: “Porsche’s limited-slip differential was definitely not enough for track conditions. There was too much wheel spin in some corners. And when we went to Daytona, we found some PSM issues. The computer thought the car was flipping upside down on the banking and would throw us into limp mode.”
Ten 2010 Interseries-spec Cayman Ss will be built prior to the commencement of the 2010 season with, Barnaba hopes, an additional ten by mid-season. These will include a new limited-slip differential, updates to PSM, and revised brake ducting. The three-part upgrade package will also be fitted to the 2009 cars as a one-time update to bring everything to 2010 specifications. The specs will then be frozen for the year to help contain costs.
On that front, Barnaba reckons that a budget-minded competitor can look to spend between $4,000 and $6,000 on the low end for a race weekend. Those looking for a full-service “arrive and drive” experience, complete with pro coaching as offered by Napleton, might be looking at $8,000 to $10,000 per weekend.
Compared to the $20,000 to $25,000 being spent by many amateur competitors in the IMSA Patrón (GT3) Challenge, the Interseries’ cost-conscious aspect is clear. And that doesn’t even include the fact that a Cup costs twice as much as the Cayman and is far more expensive to maintain. Says Barnaba: “If you break a Cayman axle, it’s not $3,500; it’s about $350. Even if you blow a motor, it’s eleven grand to replace it…” Outright, a GT3 Cup motor runs about six times that much.
Yes, the Patrón Challenge puts the strength of IMSA behind the series and brings more attention to the competitors, but Barnaba is looking to address that as well. Beyond running with just HSR in 2010, the Cayman Interseries has inked to run in support of Grand-Am at Watkins Glen. New Jersey Motorsport Park is a hopeful addition, and a shared weekend with SCCA Pro’s World Challenge series is in the planning stages. With field sizes expected to grow into the 20s — “I think we’ll see 25 cars at some events,” says Banaba — it’s a series worth watching.
“It’s fun, it’s easy, it’s cost effective,” adds Baldwin. “I don’t know what we’re missing in this equation.” And if it continues to grow, that streak of gold with bold red script on the hood you see at a track in 2010 just might be Miller Time.