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22 May 2020

June news

Andrew Thorp reports on his car ownership

Ralph Forster, who generously stood in as Register Secretary before John was appointed, hosted a Zoom conference for the Cayman Register. We each spoke about our Caymans at one point and I thought my story would be of interest.

I always aspired to own a V8 sports car. In 2005 I bought a 1991 TVR V8S - a classic style sports car. As well as using it for local touring and TVR club meetings I enrolled in the Gurston Hill Climb Drivers School.

Andrew Thorp tries out his TVR Griffith at Gurston

Within two years a 1996 TVR Griffith 500 replaced the V8S. Wanting to try it on track I re-joined Gurston. Responding to an advert for a roll bar from a Griffith owner and Gurston regular I discovered that a new road going car class was being introduced. I went from a spectator to participant. On my first competitive run in April 2008 I crossed the line in 41.11 seconds. Chipping away at this I managed a very pleasing 37.38 in September 2012.

Andrew’s first Cayman

In 2015, I sold the Griffith and temporarily gave up hill climbing. I'd not had any particular desire to buy a Cayman until I sat in one, it just felt right. Reading about possible problems with the first generation Caymans, I played it safe with a 2.9-engined 2009 manual base model. How would it perform at Gurston?

First entering in September 2015 my best run was 41.47 (four seconds slower than the Griffith). I thought it capable of sub 40 seconds and by June 2017 I'd hit 39.83, still about 2.5 seconds slower than the TVR. 

A Cayman’s greatness is its versatility in performing well on track or touring, but the clutch felt quite heavy and caused me ankle pain. The obvious solution? Change it for a 3.4 with PDK. I really wanted a Cayman R in Peridot Green but, during test drives, concluded that bucket seats and sports suspension with low profile tyres weren’t best suited for road use. 981 Caymans could be bought for a Cayman R budget but, oddly, they felt a little too modern/grand tourer-like for a weekend car. I set my sights on a 987.2 Cayman S with PDK and Sports Chrono in a bright colour, eventually finding an Aqua Blue one with 30k miles on the clock.

How would this perform at Gurston? Competing there throughout 2018 I achieved 36.72 seconds in September. To say I was delighted is an understatement. I was so pleased with the time that I retired the car from hill climbing before it fell off the 'black stuff' and got seriously damaged. Due to the Cayman’s versatility my wife and I planned a UK tour in 2019. Having heard from Brian Innes how wonderful 'his' Highland roads are and also hearing many mentions of the North Coast 500, we decided that’s where we’d go.

Taking his 987.2 Cayman S touring

John o’ Groats? Llandudno Porsches on the Prom? Why speed past many parts of the UK we've never visited? Our route took in Lizard Point, Lands End, Exmoor, the Cotswolds, the Peak District, the Angel of the North, Housesteads Roman Fort, Lindisfarne, Berwick-upon-Tweed, the Forth Road Bridge, Knockhill, the Cairngorms, the North Coast 500, Loch Ness, Fort Augustus, Fort William, Oban, Loch Ness, Gretna Green, the Lake District, Llandudno, Anglesey (the other Holy Island), Snowdonia and the Severn bridge before reaching home in Hampshire. 2988 miles in 18 days!

I've also organised some informal Caymans and Coffee meets in the south where members show their cars, admire others, and generally chat about Caymans. All very well received, I hope to carry on with them when COVID-19 is under control, and with permission of our new Cayman Register Secretary, of course.
Andrew Thorp

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