Three days. 72 hours. Maybe a little more if you can avoid going to sleep.
That's all the time the nice folk at Porsche could offer to get to know their latest wild child.
This Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 RS is in high demand, with Porsche lovers nationwide desperate for as much as a glimpse.
Because of all the models and variants Porsche builds, only two are genuine racetrack-ready racing cars – and this is one of them.
The other is the fabled Carrera 911 GT3 RS that has been responsible for the marque's peerless racing record.
Then there's this one – the smaller but equally explosive Cayman 718 GT4 RS.
The test machine is only the second model to wear the RS descriptor (maybe it translates to Really Scary).
So why the big deal to drive it? After all, it's not (quite) the fastest Porsche. Or is it the most expensive, or most lavishly equipped.
But it mimics the iconic 911 in many ways.
Let's start with the engine, which the two models share.
A four-litre, six-cylinder, naturally aspirated flat six – with a red-line of 9000 screaming, glorious revolutions per minute.
No turbochargers. No superchargers. No electric "mild hybrid" boosters. Just 70 years of brilliant German engineering and a relentless search for continuous improvement.
Those six cylinders produce a scowling 368 kilowatts, along with 450 Newton metres of torque that will slingshot this Cayman two-door coupe to the speed limit in just over 3 seconds.
Yet despite their engines being virtually identical, the cars are fundamentally different.
In the 911, the rear-mounted engine hangs at the very rear of the car where, it's been said, the 911 becomes "a battle between physics and engineering". The engineers win, by the way.
In the mid-engined Cayman, the engine sits further forward, just over the occupant(s) shoulder with that glorious symphony barking away from beneath a glass hatch.
The mid-engined configuration means the Cayman feels very different, despite the similarities – seemingly better balanced, less edgy and equally at one with the road.
But there are so many similarities it can be hard to tell them apart.
Both get the split-second, machine-gun gearchanges of the seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission that keeps those six cylinders crackling and howling away just behind your left ear. Both get massive front and rear discs to halt the car's progress.
There's the track-ready roll cage, the most incredible wrap-around carbon and cabretta leather sport seats, complete with six-point racing harness that stops you flying out the window on a sharp turn.
There are also the little nylon tabs that replace the conventional door handles, eschewed from this car in the name of weight saving.
The GT4 has been on quite the diet. The bonnet, for instance, is very evident in its black, pure carbon fibre finish that strips a few more kilograms from the car's already ripped physique.
A very serious F1-style wing sits above the rear sill. In this form the GT4 tips the scales at a very svelte 1400 kilograms.
The Cayman and its 911 stablemate boast a top speed of 315km/h – dwarfing the 250km/h limit placed on most European road-going models.
Remember, this is a racecar. Or as one critic described it "a racing car with carpet and CarPlay". Pretty accurate.
So how much does all this cost?
The "basic" version of the GT4 RS will set you back $311,900, plus on roads.
The test machine came with something called the Weissach Package – all $33,210 of it.
That brings such additions as the leather and Race-Tex interior (including those insane seats); the exposed carbon bonnet; forged magnesium wheels (beautiful) and a titanium exhaust.
Just to show they're not out to gouge you, Porsche has thrown in the Club Sport Package at no additional cost, which accounts for the bolt-in roll cage, six-point racing harness and a fire extinguisher (how appropriate).
There's the little button to automatically raise the ride height at the front, so that several thousands worth of carbon splitter don't scrape along the concrete anytime you encounter a driveway or a speed bump. That costs $4900 but will save you 10 times that on repairs.
The titanium exhaust is a very strong reminder the engine is perched precariously just behind your shoulder blades and makes its presence known at every possible opportunity.
There are all manner of sounds – some symphonic, some like a hammer being shaken around in a metal bucket.
Then there's a whistle like an industrial vacuum as the GT4 ingests most of its air, through a vent buried some where the rear seat might have been, to keep the big engine fed.
The GT4 is surprisingly compliant when pottering around and equally content for you to explore those six cylinders just north of 9000rpm, creating one of the great sounds in the automotive world. The sound Formula 1 cars used to make.
All of those things lift the price of a shiny new Porsche to $356,600 – but with on-road costs added on let's just call it an even $400,000 (or $398,358, but who's counting?).
While it's not quite as quick as its electric stablemate (the Taycan Turbo S) the performance of this wild Cayman is really as much about the experience as it is about the speed.
Rather than the silence of the electric juggernaut this car sounds like it could perform a takeoff if placed on a suitably long runway. If not, of course, for all the aerodynamic wings, splitters, vanes and vents aimed at keeping the car firmly planted on the bitumen.
Three days are very hard to forget. But way too short when this weekend road test had expired.
PORSCHE CAYMAN 718 GT4 RS
HOW BIG?: It's easily the baby of the Porsche family, with two doors and two seats.
HOW FAST?: Frighteningly.
HOW THIRSTY? Officially it sips 12.7L/100km. Driven conservatively, no doubt.
HOW MUCH? About $350,000 will get you into the conversation (but that's way cheaper than the fabled 911 GT3 RS).
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© West Australian Newspapers Limited 2023

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