Cayman S Build Part Two: The Art of the Roll Cage
For better or worse, roll cages are a lot like boy bands. They’re really hard to tell apart unless placed side by side and few people want to hear much about them. Call us a little weird, then, because we spend lots of time talking them up. Roll cages, that is. 98 New Sync Hansens on our shop radio could get somebody killed.
To be sure, most custom and pre-built roll cages will fulfill their primary role of protecting a racing driver in the case of accident. But truly well crafted cages do much, much more and require careful planning and exceptional fabrication skills.
Take, for example, the cage just finished for our current Cayman S build. Like any race legal cage, it is entirely comprised of the highest quality, seamless, drawn-over-mandrel tubing. Without totally burying ourselves in tubing minutiae, the short story on this type of metal is that there are no marks, kinks, or seams anywhere on it and it therefor evenly disperses the forces that will soon act upon it. Also like other cages, the primary points of attachment are the floor and inner rocker panels.
But the similarities end here.
Unlike mass-produced items, our custom-built cages are built to incredibly close tolerances for each individual chassis. Mass production manufactures of roll cages know every car bears different options and slight variations between otherwise identical chassis. To compensate for as much their cages are designed fit a little loose. They generally do not have hoops and bars that consistently touch the roof, A, B, or C pillars.
This custom built cage has been measured and crafted specifically for this Cayman. The main hoop—just behind the driver’s seat—follows the chassis so closely it can be tied into the sides and top of the car with little more than a minuscule gusset and a weld. Ditto the bars running along the A pillars which are literally pressing against the edges of the chassis and are attached with a weld. The care taken in both measuring and fabricating these bars keeps us from having to tie the cage to the pillars with the kind of large, hole-punched sheet metal brackets seen in other designs. This not only makes our design lighter and stronger than these others, it allows greater forward and sideways visibility.
Look closer still and it becomes apparent that our mid-diagonal bar—just behind the driver’s shoulder—is just a hair off-center and the rear bars are tied together with a single diagonal and not an X brace. The off-center mid-diagonal bar allows full rearward adjustability for the driver’s seat and the rear diagonal allows the kind of easy access to the engine that an X brace does not.
While there are many, many more details of note—the tubes tying into the rear bulkhead, front crash beam, and rear shock towers, the cage being color-matched to the factory paint, and all tubes being carefully shaped away from race seats and helmets—the most important results of our roll cage designs are these: they maximize safety, comfort and stiffness, and they’re tailored to each individual chassis and racing class.
There’s a “Hanging Tough” joke in here somewhere, but, as the guys on the shop floor read the website and I happen to like my teeth, we’ll just conclude by saying that if you’d like a custom built cage for your Porsche race car, contact us.