Any of you lucky devils who happen to own a Porsche Cayman S will already be all too aware of its performance capabilities. If we take a quick peek at the basics, we’ll find a 3.4l flat-six boxer engine, 320hp, 0-100kph in 4.9s, and a 277kph top speed. All off which means this two-seater’s likely to be pretty nippy out of the corners.
But ORZ Performance – a sister company to OffRoad-Zone located in Dubai’s Al Quoz Industrial area – recently demonstrated to crankandpiston a pretty effective way to make the Cayman faster INTO the corners. Whalloping an extra handful of horsepower under the bonnet, tightening the suspension and ‘being brave’ is one way, but the guys feel the Brembo GT-R kit is an altogether better option.
“This is a special GT-R kit”, says Performance Manager Andrew Hardoon. “It’s a big piece of kit that’s derived from Formula One technology. The entire hub, as well as the caliper, has been cut from a single piece of aluminum, so it’s much lighter than standard brakes. And the performance is unbeatable. There’s a bit of a bling value attached because they’re nickel plate, giving them a chrome colour(!), but the kit is basically the stepping stone between an actual race kit and something you’d find at a track.”
Now before you all get too swamped down with the title, yes, Off Road Zone was initially conceived as a 4×4 specialist centre. In fact, the whole establishment came about when CEO Ara Sahakian tried to take his beloved Jeep Wrangler for a service.
“I love cars,” explains Ara, “and I used to specialise in the automotive sector at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Canada. So when I came to the Middle East, I saw an opportunity. I just couldn’t get my car serviced. I waited for three weeks, heard nothing, and basically called a friend and said ‘let’s set something up’. And now we’ve just passed the ten-year mark.
“OffRoad-Zone focuses on 4x4s, but a lot of our customers will have an old Mercedes or a BMW that they need working on, so they come to us because of our technical knowhow.”
Clearly then the team has already flexed their sportscar tuning muscles. Indeed, talk of previous projects with Aston Martins, Dodge Vipers and a Lamborghini abound whilst we chat. And with their garages swollen to bursting point with Jeeps, BMW X5s and the occasional Range Rover, Ara has already developed the new branch to the company: ORZ Performance.
“We have three different businesses, all under one roof. As well as OffRoad-Zone, we have a rent-a-car division too. Nobody else offers one, and we know it’s important that people want their cars back. So we like to get the cars out within a day, two at most. And the most recent is ORZ Performance, which we just launched. You may not want to bring your 911 turbo to Off Road Zone, but you probably will want to bring it to ORZ. That’s where Brembo fits in.”
Which brings us neatly to the Cayman. The ORZ group has been the official Brembo distributor in the Middle East since November 2011, and certainly knows its way around the GT-R kit – top of the range, no less – on show today. As well as the two-piece floating disc structure reducing weight and improving feel through the pedal thanks to improved surface-on-surface friction, greater focus is thrown on dissipating heat.
“The calipers themselves are insulated,” explains Andrew. “The pistons have holes around them where they come in contact with the pad, and that’s to stop the heat from the pad going back into the system and causing the fluid to boil and the brakes to fade. Most people think ‘I’m going to take my stopping distance from 100m to 50m’, but that’s not how brakes work. Yes, there will be a drastic difference, but what Brembo try to achieve is consistency: from the first lap to the last, when you hit the pedal, the brakes should feel the same.”
While sliding the old calipers off, screwing the new ones on and giving them a quick polish is tempting, the procedure is a little more technical than that. As well as making sure that the new discs – which are close to being a third bigger than standard – are perfectly aligned. Then there’s the problem of connecting the new calipers correctly, so as not to unduly affect weight distribution. It would be a shame, after all, to offset all the development that’s gone beforehand.