2015 Porsche Cayman Track Rocket
Thirty is a big deal as birthdays go. The problem is, by that age, you're at a point where if you want something special for it, you're usually on your own. You're too old for Chuck E. Cheese; too young for the senior menu at Denny's.
For Khoa Tran, turning thirty meant buying a 2015 Porsche Cayman S. It was a promise he'd made to himself while going to school. “It was a car I always wanted. I told myself if I can get one when I'm thirty, I will.” As you'd expect with someone who loves to go fast, he got to the finish line a little early, making the purchase at 29. The reason he'd wanted a Porsche wasn't just because he’s a speed junkie; Khoa wanted a car that cornered. Up until this time, he'd always been a VW/Audi guy. His car of choice being a S4 that he'd modified. It was great, so long as you wanted to rocket forward in a straight line. “So, I started test driving the Cayman. Within two weeks, I had both cars. Then I sold the S4 and have been daily driving the Cayman ever since.”
The battle plan for the Cayman was as straightforward as the car it was replacing: go fast and corner really well. Khoa went to a performance school with the car and that's where he found out just how far he could push the stock Porsche on the asphalt. He figured out what it could do, and it grew from there. Khoa looked into wheels, tires, suspension and power ugprades; all the building blocks a growing custom car needs. His research brought him to the car forums where he'd get advice, look at the cars others had created, and put together the puzzle he wanted to be his finished Porsche. “I met guys who were into Caymans and that were heavily into tracking their cars,” Khoa says. “They invited me to go with them. Now I go twice a month and we formed a group of friends that go tracking, and it snowballed from there.”
The Cayman was fun to drive before he'd made any changes. Now it's jet fighter at the track. Its 3.4L flat six powerplant got a Cobb Stage 2 kit, while Cargraphic race headers, a TPC GT3 center muffler conversion, and valveless CSF radiators sweeten the power upgrades. Additionally, Khoa used a PDK drivetrain to handle the load.
All of that was installed by Khoa himself. In fact, all of the modifications were his handiwork, including installing the Speedsport Tuning rollbar and Rennlide rear subframe brace. “Honestly, the Cayman is very easy to work on. Everything is very accessible.” Putting in the roll cage was the biggest challenge and it took the better of two days to get done, but he handled it.
Speaking of which, handling is his favorite part of Khoa's track machine: “I like the handling, the feeling. It feels super planted when you drive it. Everyone who drives it loves it because it does what you want to do. It feels connected to you; like your brain is connected to it.” Much of that is, of course, thanks to the new suspension. “I've been tuning the suspension for a year and I learned from scratch to see which settings were the right ones. Now I'm extremely happy with it. The car does what I want and doesn't surprise me.” Khoa's razor-honed handling comes about thanks to a JRZ RS2 coilovers with 700/800 springs, Tarett camber plate, RSS lower control arms and caster pucks, ERP front tie rods, TPC rear toe link, GT3 front sway, Tarett rear sway and Tarett drop links.
Dialing in the handling also meant the right wheels, rubber and stopping power to form the total package. Khoa chose Titan 7 TS-5 18-inch wheels with sticky Nitto NT01 245/40/18 275/40/18 tires. You might say he's happy with the new rubber: “My OEM tires had worn out. I got a set of wheels and NT01s— they were my first hard compound tires. When I took them on the track, I felt like I was a god! I really liked that the Nitto tires last the longest; at least 6-7 track days where others only lasted 2-3 track days.” Khoa rounded out his ascension to godhood (or at least the feeling of it) with Girodisc 2-piece front and rear brakes with Ferodo DS 11.1 pads, GT3 master cylinder, and Spiegler brake lines. The improved aerodynamics might have something to do with the better handling, too. Khoa can thank the RS1 canards and Vorsteiner diffuser he added to the bodywork for that.
As he turned his car into a track rocket, Khoa made changes in the cockpit, too. He pilots his baby from a Recaro SPG XL racing seat set in a PCI slider seat mount while he’s wrapped snugly in a Schroth GT3 racing harness.
All of this adds up to one helluva birthday present to one's self. It's much better than those stupid ads we're all tired of watching where one spouse buys another a new SUV with a bow on it, thus giving them the gift of debt. I'm pretty sure those folks aren't taking little Cody to soccer practice in anything as fun and exciting as a track-ready Porsche Cayman. Sorry, Cody, you get Chuck E. Cheese again. When you grow up, go to school, and get a good job like Khoa did, then you can get yourself a cool car like this.