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Excellence magazine reported that during the recent 24 Hours of the Ring, the Audi R8 (mid engine) lapped the Ring 3 seconds faster than the Porsche. For a company that has biult its reputation on "Form follows function", when will Porsche allow/support the Form of the Cayman to Function on the track???
 

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Excellence magazine reported that during the recent 24 Hours of the Ring, the Audi R8 (mid engine) lapped the Ring 3 seconds faster than the Porsche. For a company that has biult its reputation on "Form follows function", when will Porsche allow/support the Form of the Cayman to Function on the track???
Is there anyone on the planet still arguing that a rear engine design is somehow superior from a physics standpoint than a mid engine? I don't think Porsche even makes that claim, otherwise why would the RS Spyder LMP2 car be mid engine? :)

Those R8's are making great strides.
 

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I'm losing interest in the 911, except historically. It's a classic, especially the air cooled versions, but the current iterations are anachronisms. I owned a 993 for 10 years. Don't get me wrong, the experience of owning one of history's greatest cars was wonderful and I wouldn't trade it for anything. But my Cayman is a modern, state of the art sports car. The 911 was a modern, state of the art sports car in the 60's.

By pushing the 911 as the flagship, they are not being true to "form follows function."
 

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I do not blame Porsche for trying to wring the last dollar out of the 911 heritage and configuration, much like Kodak did not bring digital photography to the forefront when they could have (little known fact is that Kodak invented digital) but like Kodak, if Porsche delays too long they will lose.

The answer is a move to a mid engine 911 (turbo flat 6) and the current Cayman to a turbo flat 4. Both cars would be quicker than the current models and the price/sheet metal differences could be maintained.
 

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I think the mid-engine layout has inherent dynamic advantages over the rear-engine layout. However, I'd argue that a well-funded racing program can make any layout work. Didn't BMW win the Nurburgring 24H this year? Maybe Porsche should try developing the Panamera as a GT racer.:)
 

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Porsche will continue to make the 911 as long as the purists remain loyal and buy it. Apparently there are still enough loyal to the 911 to keep it around. Also, each motor layout has characteristics that can be exploited, and if you check out "6speedonline" for example, there seem to be many skilled 911 drivers who prefer the characteristics of the rear-engine layout and feel it gives them distinct advantages in competition. It will probably take the 911 getting it's rear end (pun intended) consistantly handed to it on a plate in ALMS or some other competition, before Porsche decides it's time to go mid-engine with the 911 (but then, it would really be a Cayman, wouldn't it?). Maybe the whole purpose of the Cayman is to slowly and with as little pain as possible introduce mid-engine placement into the line-up.
 

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Is it really purists that buy the 911? Or rich doctors and lawyers? I would think that purists would by the Cayman. Those looking for a status symbol buy the 911. I recently read an article about this subject and it mentioned that many of Porsche's upper managemnet own fully optioned Caymans instead of 911's.

I think your point is "as long as it sells, Porsche will keep making it," and that is entirely accurate.
 

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From my standpint, I used to own a 987s then moved to a 997.2 S. The only reason I bought the 987 is because I could not afford a 987 when I bought my car new. I, like many others, know both cars can handle the track and street driving fairly well. The 987 is much easier to drive, while the 997S is faster (more HP, wider wheels, etc.), but requires much more skill. Please don't quote magazine lap times, because none of them have put enough seat time in a 997 S to handle it. Anyone will find the 987 easier to track given the mid engine. My 997.2S variant has a lower placed engine and its weight is lighter too, which all help but don't eliminate the butt heavy dynamics of the car.

So why did I move "up" to a 997.2S? Because when I was a kid and dirt poor, that was the car I always told myself I was going to work hard and have.... so yes, the heritage does matter (987 wasn't made yet). So many of us don't track our cars so the advantage of a mid engine will never be seen. On the street, the 997 will always be faster and sometimes that is more than enough to buyers.

Once Porsche makes a 987S with the power/specs of a 997S (Include a clear engine cover with LED lights), then I think people will start to move... even if it costs 100K+.
 

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boobernackle, thank you for sharing your experience with us. I think you did sum it all up in the following points:
1) Heritage for a classic looking sport car will always matter.
2) Many never track/race their Porsche, therefore the mid engine won't matter.
3) Down the street the 911 is commonly faster.
4) Being top of the line... 911 will always be there!

I wonder if ever the 911 gets a front engine, like Ferrari California, would it still maintain its glamour?

I guess so
 

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Regarding the point that the mid-engine is easier to drive fast, well, I'm reevaluating that claim as well.

It's absolutely true that mid-engine cars are easier, and more confidence inspiring, at 80% or 90%, than rear engine cars. However, get above that level and things change a bit.

I drove a 993 for 10 years. Get above 90% and the car tells you that you are at the limit in no uncertain terms. Even the slightest lift causes the tail to wag. You could feel this easily, and throttle steer through the corner, at 99% of the limit of the car.

There is no such warning with a mid-engine car. The absolute limit is much more difficult to detect. The same physics of weight balance, understeer, oversteer, etc, apply, but are much more refined in a mid-engine car than a rear engine car.

As a result, I think I am leaving more on the table in my Cayman than I did in the 993. I think it is easier to get to 90% in a mid-engine car, but harder to get to 99%.
 

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I bought my first mid-engined Porsche recently (Spyder) after decades of owning various 911s. I get it now; the Spyder handles absolutely beautifully. The front end just sticks, and there is no bounce. There is little need to be constantly aware of where the back end wants to be; it is amazingly neutral.

But, to be honest, the 911 is more fun. It takes skill to get corner entry and exit just right. Modern 911s take the danger out of it, but to be truly fast in a 911 is still a challenge. After a great stretch of well executed road, the Spyder amazes at what it can do. After a great stretch of well executed road in a 911, you feel good about your skills as a driver.

The 911 has other benefits as well, including the rear area that can be used for a full-sized golf bag, small passengers, Costco run, or seat travel for drivers with long inseams. So, yes, form does still follow function with the 911.

As to Porsche and motorsports, the RS Spyder and Daytona Prototypes are mid-engined. But history is too deep to replace the 911 in production-based series (it was tried with the superior-handling 944 back in the day). And, the 911 is more profitable from a racing-as-marketing standpoint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
boobernackle, thank you for sharing your experience with us. I think you did sum it all up in the following points:
1) Heritage for a classic looking sport car will always matter.
2) Many never track/race their Porsche, therefore the mid engine won't matter.
3) Down the street the 911 is commonly faster.
4) Being top of the line... 911 will always be there!

I wonder if ever the 911 gets a front engine, like Ferrari California, would it still maintain its glamour?

I guess so
Guys, I am not suggesting that Porsche stop making the 911 (oops 997). All I'm saying is that Porsche should be racing the CaymanS. The 997 can remain the crown in the jewel, but the Cayman S should be on the track. Porsche does not race the Cayenne nor the Panamera and yet these vehicles benefit from the Porsche racing heritage. The same could be applied to the 997. If anything, Porsche should at least offer some unofficial support to teams chosing to race the CaymanS. Maybe Porsche should continue to race the 997 in ALMS and the Cayman in Grand Am. That would be a good begening.
 

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Actually Porsche does race the Cayenne in the Transyberria Rally, and the word is that they may be entering the Panamera in some series soon as well, if so that would leave only the Cayman/Boxster out of the officially raced category, but who knows under VW ownership maybe that will change.

As far as which car is harder or easier to drive at the limit I think the small differences are probably beyond the capabilities of most humans and that people just like to talk a good game to make themselves feel better. I think driving any car at 10/10ths is an art form regardless of platform and it takes a lot of skill and a lot of seat time to get to that level.

If both the 997 and 987 were equipped the same way, same engine, same gearing, same differential, etc. would people still buy the 997? Some would, just for the "status", but the form follows function enthusiasts would probably opt for the 987 in most instances and I'm sure Porsche knows that.
 

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I bought my first mid-engined Porsche recently (Spyder) after decades of owning various 911s. I get it now; the Spyder handles absolutely beautifully. The front end just sticks, and there is no bounce. There is little need to be constantly aware of where the back end wants to be; it is amazingly neutral.

But, to be honest, the 911 is more fun. It takes skill to get corner entry and exit just right. Modern 911s take the danger out of it, but to be truly fast in a 911 is still a challenge. After a great stretch of well executed road, the Spyder amazes at what it can do. After a great stretch of well executed road in a 911, you feel good about your skills as a driver.
I think a lot of this is true for driving either car at 80% or 90%, or driving the same series of turns at the same speed.

At 90%, you don’t need to be constantly aware of where the back end wants to be in a mid-engine car, but you do for a rear engine car. But bump that up to 95%, and the 911 will shout to you what the rear is doing, but the mid engine whispers. You need to be really really good to hear what the mid engine car is telling you. It’s a lot more subtle.

Take a “great stretch of well executed road” at the same speed in both cars, like you said. The mid engine car will amaze you, but the 911 requires more skill. We all know this, because the mid engine handles better. What happens when you push beyond the limit of the 911 in the mid engine car? What happens at its limit? Like I said, I think it is a lot harder to find the upper limit of the mid engine car than the rear engine car.
 

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As far as which car is harder or easier to drive at the limit I think the small differences are probably beyond the capabilities of most humans and that people just like to talk a good game to make themselves feel better. I think driving any car at 10/10ths is an art form regardless of platform and it takes a lot of skill and a lot of seat time to get to that level.
Absolutely true, but it doesn't mean I buy the myth that the mid engine cars are easier to drive fast!
 

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The answer is a move to a mid engine 911 (turbo flat 6) and the current Cayman to a turbo flat 4. Both cars would be quicker than the current models and the price/sheet metal differences could be maintained.
If VW place the current Audi 5cyl 2.5L twin turbo 250kw 450Nm TT-RS engine in the Cayman S then I could live with that.
 

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Take a “great stretch of well executed road” at the same speed in both cars, like you said. The mid engine car will amaze you, but the 911 requires more skill. We all know this, because the mid engine handles better. What happens when you push beyond the limit of the 911 in the mid engine car? What happens at its limit? Like I said, I think it is a lot harder to find the upper limit of the mid engine car than the rear engine car.
Not necessarily. What is your definition of "handles better"? The better lap time given the mythical 'all things being equal'? Every road and every track is different; there is no 'one size fits all'. Sometimes you want a bit of rotation, and in that case the 911 is easier to exploit. The 911 also has better steering feel, IMO (comparing my previous 997.1 to the Spyder).

Or does "handling better" mean it takes less skill to drive? I don't think so; there are cars with electronic nannies and massive rubber that put up great magazine test numbers and allow any idiot to drive fast through turns. Doesn't mean it is fun to drive, or that it will win races.

Porsche did a masterful job of taking one platform, and manufacturing everything from the base $48k Boxster to the upcoming $250k GT2RS, producing many different driving experiences for many different price points. If you could mix and match every drivetrain with every bodystyle, there would be even more. Personally, I think that if Porsche had introduced the Cayman below the Boxster (it has to cost them less to produce), there would be more of a following, and more of an incentive for Porsche to do something with it competitively.

And while there may not be a factory-backed racing effort, there are sanctioned club racing series for the Boxster and Cayman. So they are not completley unrecognized in the racing world.
 

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Absolutely true, but it doesn't mean I buy the myth that the mid engine cars are easier to drive fast!
Oh I agree, I'm not saying mid engine cars are "easier" to drive fast, I see a lot of mid engine car drivers going through the corners as if they were driving a rear engine car and afraid to push it. :)
 

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Oh I agree, I'm not saying mid engine cars are "easier" to drive fast, I see a lot of mid engine car drivers going through the corners as if they were driving a rear engine car and afraid to push it. :)
On my way back and forth between my house and work there are bridges with exits that I got to drive my Porsche on at 160 k/hr (100mph) and just before entering the exit I switch back on the PSM to avoid mishaps... and for almost a year I thought I was pushing my Cayman to its limit. BUT... for the past weeks I have been driving my Land Cruiser (base model and stock) all the time and got very confident to drive it at 160 k/hr (100mph) on the same exits and it handles them very well.

Does that mean my Land Cruiser is a mid engine car? No :D but it turned out I wasn't pushing my Cayman at all... but would I push it further? To be honest, I don't think so. That would be beyond insanity... I'll leave it to the track inshallah :)
 
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