I purchased my 2007 Cayman S with the intent of making it track worthy but still acceptable to use on the streets, to run errands or take a longish drive. For my track car, I try and do safety upgrades first, then I worry about performance aspects. So the two times I have taken it on track, I have felt nervous about the 3 point seat belts and no Hans head/neck restraint device. It’s time to do something about that.
I did some research and decided I liked the looks of the Recaro Pole Position seat. This was rather subjective, as all I had to work with were images on web pages. My last track car, a Porsche 944, had a NASCAR based full contaiment seat. Very safe and held me into place without question. It was only after I bought it and installed it that I realized I couldn’t make decent “point bys” due to the halo around my head. I dealt with that by hacking away the halo until I could do a half-assed point by but it was a compromise, to say the least. With the Pole Position configuraton, I’m giving up some safety but I will be able to get my damn arm out the window to point over the roof! BTW, I just do DEs. No racing.
But pictures and dimensions on the internet are one thing, sitting in an actual seat is another. There are a lot of vendors that will drop ship you a seat. Very few have a showroom where you can sit in an actual seat. I used the Recaro dealer locater and found a happy compromise. My daughter lives in Queens, NYC. She needed a babysitter for a few days. So I killed two birds with one stone and flew up to Queens and scheduled a “seat fitting” with Stable Energies, just across the GW Bridge in New Jersey. They have a wide variety of Recaro seats on display in their showroom.
The proprietor is Bob Kakascik. He and I are of a similar age, i.e. ancient, so we immediately hit it off. His assistant, Oscar, was also very helpful. Firstly, Bob assured me he had installed Pole Position seats in a 987.1 Cayman and they would fit. I had gathered this from my own dimensional checks but it was good to get a confirmation. I told him I wanted the seat slider function to remain, and I needed both 3 point harness capabillity as well as 6 point Hans ready harnesses for the track.
But first I sat in the seat in the showroom. I am 5′-7″ and 175 lbs. My hips are still about the same width as they were in college. Thank God, because the PP fit me pretty snuggly at the hips. But acceptable. Hey, you want your track seat to hold you in. Oscar then pointed out, as I am sure he has had to do many times, that the openings in the PP seat back for the 2 shoulder harnesses are quite low. You don’t want the shoulder harnesses to come in low and then swoop up over your shoulders. Because that causes bad things to happen to your spine in an accident! There are removable pads/inserts on the seating surface and the seat back surface. By removing the pads in the seating surface, with my butt basically resting on the fiberglass shell of the seat, the openings in the seat back were at an acceptable position versus my shoulders. That little issue resolved, we discussed the hardware needed to mount the seats. The Recaro comes with side mount plates which are FIA rated for the applicable seat regulations. One could bolt these directly to the floor. Recaro sells a supplemental kit that gives you sliders. I suspect this kit is not FIA rated but it is very stout. The really good news is that it is a direct bolt up to the four captive nuts in the floor of the Cayman where the stock seats mount. That said, it was tight. No room for error as the seats are right up against the center tunnel. Which brings me to the only aw-shit in the install. If you want to continue to use your 3 point harness, you can buy a Porsche branded seat belt receiver that includes the wire that tells the seat belt chime that the seat belt is engaged. One could just jumper that connection at the harness but more importantly, the receiver is configured to fit through the opening on the side of the seat for the 6 point harness lap belt. So good, I bought two of those. When I got to the install, the Recaro slider kit mounting point for the receiver just flat would not fit. I’m not sure how they dropped that ball but it wouldn’t work. After a discussion with Oscar, we came up with a Brey Krause fitting that did work. It was also better in that it got the fat part of the receiver up above my hips, whereas the Recaro design would have put it level with my hips. Not good when there are lateral G forces!
So past that little issue, the rest of the install was pretty straight forward. I also bought a set of jumpers/resisters to add to the wiring harness to tell the car that the seat back airback is in place. It is not but at least the dash light will not come on.
Here is a link to a pretty good How To/Install video on Youtube. I can’t improve on what they are showing.
The install is done. I took the car out for a quick drive and the seating position felt good. You do have to “fall into” the seat, to a degree, as it has the high side bolters. With the sliders, I move the seat all the way to the rear for getting in and out, so that helps a lot. With my 30″ in-seam, the seat is pretty far forward for a correct driving position, so it is nice to be able to slide the seat fully rearward when needed. In a future article, I will discuss some street oriented inserts that I am going to make to get me up and forward and not so jammed in for a more comfortable cruising configuration. And I will document the installation of the Shroth 6 point harnesses.
Oh, BTW, the total weight of a PP seat with the slider kit, etc is 34 pounds. That is compared to 61 pounds for the stock seats. I am sure I will take back most of that weight loss by the time I install a roll/harness bar.