David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/5/19 9:06 a.m.


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Story and Photos by David S. Wallens

It’s rarely celebrated, but safety gear has literally kept our sport alive through a century of thrills and spills. Back in the day, racers entrusted their survival to leather helmets and simple roll bars. Today, safety equipment is a science.

This means that modern race prep shops do a lot more than build engines and set up suspensions. We paid a visit to one, BGB Motorsports Group, to see how the guys building the top production-based race cars keep their drivers safe.

BGB has been fielding Porsches in Grand-Am competition–the series now known as IMSA–for more than a decade. During the 2013 season, they even held off the factory-backed Mazda effort to win the GX crown with their homegrown, rather stock Porsche Cayman. Today, they focus on building and preparing customer cars for both track events and wheel-to-wheel competition. They partnered with Next Level European to build a pair of Porsche Caymans for professional endurance racing, and shared with us how the pros do it.

You probably haven’t heard of Next Level European, but you will soon. They’re BimmerWorld’s sister company, but where BimmerWorld caters to the BMW market, Next Level European will support the other European brands.

Also like BimmerWorld, Next Level European will mount a race program in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, the pro endurance series for production-based cars. But where BimmerWorld builds their BMWs in house, for the Porsche race effort Next Level turned to BGB Motorsports Group.

The 2009-’12 Cayman is considered by many to be the hot car for the series’ Street Tuner class. “The permitted ST offering is referred to as a 987.2 base,” explains BGB Motorsports Group Director John Tecce.

Where the Cayman S received a 3.4-liter engine fed by direct injection, the base car uses a 2.9-liter fitted with the same engine management found on other non-direct injection Porsche 997 models from the same generation.

“There’s no advantage to owning a 2012 versus a 2009 other than age of parts,” he continues. One of these Caymans came to BGB as a well-used street car, while the other had already netted some track time–and encountered something during the process.

We paid a visit to BGB, which is just up the road from our offices in Ormond Beach, Florida, to check out the projects and share how the shops building the top production-based race cars keep their drivers safe. Although the two Caymans represent six-figure, ground-up builds, nearly all of these measures can be incorporated into a club-level effort.

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GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
3/5/19 11:24 a.m.

The guy who put a NASCAR-style cage into a Cayman for track days *knows* that he has a lot to lose laugh

ichirofanus
ichirofanus New Reader
3/5/19 1:38 p.m.

Totally enjoyed this article.  more please!

AlcantaraFTW
AlcantaraFTW New Reader
3/5/19 4:23 p.m.

Awesome info!

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
3/7/19 7:53 a.m.

It's easy to think safety gear isn't important...until you are on your roof or heading towards the tire wall.  One rollover convinced me how important it really is! Note that the belts were made to fit the car owner, an important consideration if buying a used race car.

 

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
3/7/19 7:53 a.m.

It's easy to think safety gear isn't important...until you are on your roof or heading towards the tire wall.  One rollover convinced me how important it really is! Note that the belts were made to fit the car owner, an important consideration if buying a used race car.

 

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
3/7/19 7:53 a.m.

It's easy to think safety gear isn't important...until you are on your roof or heading towards the tire wall.  One rollover convinced me how important it really is! Note that the belts were made to fit the car owner, an important consideration if buying a used race car.

 

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