9FF CAYMAN CR-42
How 9ff has sharpened the fangs on Porsche's baby croc
However, the tuning fraternity answers to no one except the paying customer, so Dortmund-based 9ff fitted the LSD and, with nobody looking over their shoulder and saying they couldn’t do it, they went a bit mad -- and stuck in the lump from the 911 for good measure to create the CR-42.
They went for a full engine transplant, grabbing the nearest 3.8-litre lump from a new Carrera S and boring the cylinders out from 99mm to 102mm for good measure producing a capacity of 4.1-litres. However, that took them into the soft aluminium of the casing, so further reinforcement with Nikasil was required to stop the block melting after the first dose of throttle.
The CR-42 hits 60mph in 4.4 seconds, thanks in part to the LSD with its 40-60 per cent locking mechanism and the outrageous dose of extra power. It can hang with the ‘grown up’ Porsches until the very furthest reaches of the performance envelope, before kicking them to a bloody pulp through the corners.
And thanks to 9ff’s flamboyant approach to exhaust tones you’d think the flat six had been mounted in the cabin -- which, considering the mid-engined layout of the Cayman, it almost has.
The top end is ‘only’ 195mph, agonisingly close to the milestone 200mph mark, but modifications to the gearing in the Getrag ‘box are apparently out of the question.
The Cayman was never about straightline speed anyway, it’s the precise and fluid handling that has excited everyone. Yet driven after the CR-42, the standard car would feel like driving on sponge. The ‘Hockenheim’ suspension option brings full metal rose joints and full adjustability too.
This attention to detail shines through everywhere at 9ff. When we arrived at the workshop, one employee diligently polished our footsteps from the mirror finish floor. I have seen this only once before, in McLaren’s garage at a Grand Prix. And that was when they were winning.
Ceramic brakes may well provide the ultimate in stopping power, but 9ff has retained the steel items – preferring the added feel they bring. Even so, stepping on the middle pedal feels like a head-on collision as the seatbelt scythes into you.
Fitting a Cayman with all this equipment isn’t cheap: a full works car costs €130,000 (about £88,000) -- more than the grown up GT3 it recently went head-to-head with in an unofficial test, although the CR-42 more than held its own apparently.
More than anything however, the CR-42 just makes you wonder the car the Cayman S might have been, and still could be, if you were to take Porsche's marketing strategy out of the equation.