On start-up the engine doesn’t sound much different than any other flat six with an aftermarket exhaust, but the stiff clutch pedal and firm bite from Vision’s custom-made clutch and pressure plate indicate there’s something special going on. The flywheel is a single-mass unit from Aasco.
Dement said they retained the stock cams because more aggressive profiles would have hurt low-end torque. True to his calculations, the engine is as tractable down low as a stocker yet delivers more torque than a standard 3.4-liter.
The Garrett GT4094R comes on early and builds rapidly, propelling the 3100-lb Cayman with effortless gusto. At just 3000 rpm, over 310 lb-ft of torque is already being sent to the wheels, and at 4000 rpm there’s over 450 lb-ft available before 533 lb-ft of twist peaks around 4700 rpm. Raw horsepower takes care of the high end of the rev range, climbing to a peak of 576 whp around 6900 rpm.
Serious motivation is right now! Even part-throttle response is enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up—and then faint dead away. Every jab of the pedal is met with an exponential return of forward thrust. Step on it a little further, and the turbo groans as it winds up for the huge rush of power that compresses the rear suspension and hurtles the horizon at the car with frightening velocity.
After running through the rev range a few times, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a car I recently drove, a modified 997.2 with 650 hp. My impression was confirmed when I looked at the power-to-weight ratio: Blockus’ Cayman compares favorably to a GT2 RS. It’s 50 lb heavier but also is 50 hp stronger.
The Cayman’s extra power never overwhelmed the chassis. No wiggling or squirming, even under the most intemperate acceleration. A Guard limited slip differential helps distribute the power efficiently, and a set of TPC Damptronic coilovers (that retain PASM functionality) assist in the exquisite control of the chassis, aided up front by a TPC anti-roll bar, Anze front toe links and RSS lower control arms. The rear links are from TPC, the rear anti-roll bar is by Tarrett, and the entire chassis has been stiffened by a Heigo roll bar.
The result is steering that’s beautifully direct and perfectly weighted, and the car turns in exactly as you’d want it to. There’s also plenty of that steering feedback so coveted by Porsche enthusiasts.
The tires are BF Goodrich Rivals— 245/40-18s in front and 295/35-18s at the rear—and they’re mounted on OZ Racing Alleggerita HLTs (8.5×18-in. front; 10×18-in. rear). The configuration keeps the car firmly planted to the asphalt, even at cornering speeds that questioned my sanity. My inner skidpad suggests there’s easily over 1.0g of lateral grip available, so both tight turns and long, fast sweepers are easily disposed of in the fluid motion of a tightly balanced car. A slight bit of understeer tells you the BFGs are about to exceed their slip angle, but equilibrium is easily regained by reigning back the throttle.
The car’s high-speed stability can be attributed in part to the Getty GT carbon-fiber rear wing and ducktail spoiler out back and the subtle Cayman R front splitters and custom center splitter.
Scruffing off speed up front are 997 GT3 calipers, AP rotors and Pagid Yellow brake pads; the rears are Girodisk rotors squeezed by Pagid Yellow pads and stock calipers. To keep them cool, air is fed to the front rotors through GT3 brake ducts; the rear brakes get air from 997 brake ducts. The pedal is firm and direct, and the system responds with a linear progression toward lock, but the pads seemed to need a lot of heat operate at peak efficiency.
I drove this enhanced Cayman on one of its first shakedown drives after the second round of ECU tuning and before Blockus would let it loose on the track. Based on this early driving impression, it’s safe to say he’ll still be seeing the back ends of his 911 competition, but this time when he’s coming up from behind to put them another lap down.