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Bred for the track: Porsche’s Cayman GT4 Clubsport bows in LA

Porsche has officially unveiled the Cayman GT4 Clubsport, a track-only race car based on … well, the Porsche Cayman GT4. While that may sound obvious and redundant at first, this particular car’s origins are actually quite significant.

The GT4 Clubsport is Porsche’s first factory-issued race car not based on a 911 since the 968 Clubsport of the mid-1990s, which speaks to the potency of the Cayman itself. Simply put, the 911 is a motoring icon among icons, so the fact that Porsche used the Cayman instead of the 911 as the basis for this purpose-built racer shows its confidence in the vehicle. As usual with the German brand, its confidence is well-placed.

The track-bred Cayman boasts a 3.8-liter, 385-horsepower flat-six engine, and although the standard Cayman GT4 offers a six-speed manual transmission, the Clubsport equips a dual-clutch PDK gearbox for quicker shifts and maximum speed. The car also features the front suspension and braking system from the hardcore 911 GT3, which is probably the best example of parts bin engineering you’ll find.

Given its status as a race car, you won’t be surprised to know that the GT4  comes with a welded roll cage, a special bucket seat, a fire suppression system, a mechanical locking rear differential, and an FIA-approved fuel cell. Even with these additions, Porsche has trimmed the fat enough that the car weighs just 2,866 pounds.

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Despite its hardcore look and performance, Porsche says the Cayman is more forgiving and accessible than previous Clubsport models. It’s a “mid-engine racer for motorsport newcomers,” the manufacturer says, however you’ll still need a cool $165,000 or so to get your hands on one.

The vehicle will need all its tools when it competes in various race series around the world, including the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy, and Pirelli World Challenge. The Cayman GT4 Clubsport is on sale now.