This Shop Building the 560-HP 4.5-Liter Cayman GT4 Porsche Won’t

Credit: DW Burnett / PUPPYKNUCKLES
From Road & Track
On paper, the original Cayman GT4 is perfect. A mid-engine Porsche with an engine from the 911 Carrera S, front suspension from the GT3 and a real six-speed manual transmission. It is enough to swoon any enthusiast. But when Rick DeMan, founder of DeMan Motorsport, got behind the wheel, he wasn't impressed.
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“I bought a GT4 in 2015 and my first test drive was very disappointing,” DeMan recently told me during a visit to his workshop in Blauvelt, New York. “The chassis was beautiful, as beautiful as any other GT car that Porsche has made. But the engine was anemic. "
DeMan was not satisfied with Porsche's approach to the ultimate Cayman and set about perfecting the GT4. He and his team have modified the car's drivetrain over the past five years to deliver more power and a more visceral experience. The result is a 560hp gun that outshines everything else with a GT badge on the bumper.
Credit: DW Burnett / PUPPYKNUCKLES
DeMan is a mid-engined P-Car veteran. He made a name for himself driving the 914 from the late nineties to the early 2000s, dominating club events both regionally and nationally. His shop has been a point of contact for Porsche owners in three states for years and offers everything from basic maintenance to race preparation for a wide range of models. His establishment, a 25,000-square-foot warehouse in an industrial park in Rockland County, is a candy store for Porschiphiles. The front is a showroom that has been converted into a makeshift storage room filled to the brim with various racing cars, including an IMSA prototype. In the main work room there are four-story shelves with brake calipers, suspension parts, exhaust systems and flat-sixes. There is even a paint shop and a special engine room where DeMan's crown jewel, the 4.5-liter six-cylinder, is assembled.
The 4.5 liter engine upgrade package started as a passion project for DeMan to adapt the engine of his personal GT4 to the great chassis, and his customers quickly showed interest. It started with a displacement of 4.0 liters, with the pack increasing to 4.25 liters and finally to 4.5 liters.
The engine is the result of some skilled old school hot rodding techniques and years of development. DeMan takes the original 3.8 liter engine from the car being upgraded and sends it to a machinist to increase the bore from 102mm to 108mm. Mahle racing pistons, Carrillo connecting rods and a crankshaft from the Flat-Six of the 911 of the 991 generation increase the stroke. Those are just the basics. There are plenty of other changes DeMan didn't want to share in order to keep his discoveries a secret from competitors.
DeMan has built over 24 large displacement GT4 engines for customers. Most are in street cars that are regularly used on the racetrack, although some have found their way into racing cars. Many of its customers are based in the US, although customers are sending their engines from Thailand and Australia to have the package installed. During my visit, a Boxster Spyder was waiting on Belgian plates for its upgrades.
And what about the gearbox? One of the few generally recognized shortcomings of the GT4 is that while the six-speed gear is fantastic to use, it's shifted very long (second gear has a top speed of over 120 km / h). DeMan has a solution for this too. “After years of building 914, we knew transmissions were important,” he told me. "The selection of the gearbox was always a thing we did in the racing cars and we were really good at it." He established connections with several manufacturers and now orders gear ratios for gears two to five, which were specially developed for the output of the 4.5-liter engine. This is just one of several additional mods that you can add when ordering your engine package.
Credit: DW Burnett / PUPPYKNUCKLES
No fewer than three DeMan customers - all GT4 owners with 4.5 liter engine upgrades - were on hand to discuss their purchases and they only had positive things to say. "He really got the owners involved in the process," says Jack Curry, owner of the white GT4 shown above. "[All 4.5 liter owners] have a little Facebook group where we share stories, share feedback, problems, issues we have, stuff like that. I think it's been a great working relationship."
DeMan is constantly updating the status of the 4.5L unit, so owners can use a Cobb Accessport so that they can remotely reprogram their controllers for smoother operation and better performance.
"I think when you do these builds you often pay the bill and it's over and everyone is wiping their hands clean," says Corey Beale, owner of the red GT4 in the video above. "Rick always says, 'If you have a problem, give me a call. If you want to give me feedback, give me a call.' And I had the car for six, seven months and we talk a few times a week. He's always in touch with all of us. "
According to DeMan, most of his customers are people with recently warranted cars who finally feel comfortable paying to have their engines taken apart. Tested for five years and two dozen customer cars later, he claims that there was not a single engine failure - impressive considering the massive performance gains and the time these engines spend on the track. DeMan is also working on a similar package for the new 4.0-liter engine of the 718 Cayman GT4 and Spyder, which should be ready in March.
And the engine package makes sense as a value proposition. Nowadays, you can get into a used GT4 for less than $ 80,000, and one of DeMan’s 4.5 liter engines costs $ 29,500. Together, that's around $ 30,000 cheaper than the latest GT3, and you get a mid-engined car with less weight and more power. Even if your goal isn't to outperform a GT3 car, spending 30 grand on DeMan's engine is better than spending the same amount on bolt-ons like an exhaust, intake, tune, and a bunch of others use piecemeal upgrades that ultimately don't result in the same performance gains.
"Now I don't have to upgrade from [my GT4] to anything else," says Beale. “I have to spend at least $ 200,000 to have a similar experience. You are at least in the area of ​​[Ferrari] 458? Deep in a 991.2 RS? The upgrade just doesn't seem worth it anymore. The value for dollars is insane. "
"Not just value, but also something special," adds Curry. "It's really something special."
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