NASA Southeast racer Ira Ferguson arrived a little late to the racing game, but by the time he came to the hobby, he took to the track with a vengeance in his 2007 Porsche Cayman.

Ferguson’s previous hobby was sailing, which is one sport than can make racing cars look affordable. When he moved back to Gainesville, Ga., after living in Europe for more than a decade, he was looking for something else to do. Having sold his sailboat, he used the proceeds in 2011 to buy a base 2007 Porsche Cayman.

“I had bought the car as a weekend car, and somebody asked me if I tracked it,” Ferguson said. “I said, ‘Track it? I can do that?’ And there we went. In three years, it went from being a street car to a racecar.”

At first, Ferguson was running it in HPDE, and had Motorwerks Racing in Cumming, Ga., set it up that way. But as anyone who ever has driven a car in anger on the track knows, it’s not difficult to get bitten by the racing bug. Well, the bug bit Ferguson and he went back to Motorwerks Racing to change the Cayman from a track-day car to a full on racecar.

“It was a fairly easy transition,” Ferguson said. “It just involved welding the cage in and adding the data and a few other shenanigans. The car’s got everything except a fuel cell. I’ve still got a stock fuel tank.”

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Before Ferguson moved back to the states and became a schoolteacher, he used to work as a project and account manager for a company that provided equipment for offshore drilling platforms. Now he teaches math at a middle school.

“I don’t want people to get the idea that you can build a car like this being a schoolteacher,” he said with a laugh.

He has used the racecar as a teaching tool, posing questions to students about which organization presents the most track time per dollar — NASA, of course — or how to calculate average speed and the like. The class also uses the car against him. They know they can get “Mr. Ferguson” off the topic of bilateral equations by talking about cars.

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The car itself immediately stands out because of the build quality and the attention to detail, traits Ferguson attributes to Motorwerks Racing, the shop that built the car. When we discovered the car at a combined event with the Southeast, Mid-South, Texas and NOLA regions at Barber Motorsports Park, Ferguson had run his car across the scales three times and every wheel was within 5 pounds of one another. The end result of that is a well prepped GTS2 car with balanced handling.

“The thing that impresses me most is that the car will do so much more than you think it can. It’ll stick, and the only problem with the car is the guy behind the wheel,” Ferguson said. “The car will do almost anything you ask it to. We’ve been off, but we haven’t hit anything yet. It’s never let me down. It makes me look like I know what I’m doing. I’m dead serious. I picked up this hobby late in life. I’m an old man out there looking like he knows what he’s doing.

“You’re seeing more and more Caymans on the track,” he continued. “Even just last season, I saw more Caymans on track at the end of the year than I did at the beginning of the year. I think a lot of people are getting on the Cayman bandwagon. It’s a fantastic car. It’s a lot of fun, and it handles fantastic.”

Then, of course, there’s the obvious. The graphics on this car help it stand out even more because they replicate those on the “General Lee,” the famous — or infamous — 1969 Dodge Charger from the television show, “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Of course a Dodge Charger and a Porsche Cayman are worlds apart. How did Ferguson even come up with the idea?

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“To be honest with you, I was sitting around with my nephew one evening drinking a couple of beers,” Ferguson said. “It kind of evolved, too. After I decided I wanted to put a Confederate flag on top of it, I got in touch with KI studios in San Diego, which does a lot striping of cars and sent this guy my idea about a Confederate flag on the roof. He suggested the stripes front and rear, and I thought that sounded great. It was kind of collaboration.”

Of course, the only number that would be suitable for a car like this is the number 01, just like on the “General Lee.” It took him a couple of tries to get the look of the numbers just right, but now they look right at home.

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“I’m real pleased with it,” Ferguson said. “It’s been favorably received, but I mostly drive in the Southeast. I’d like to take it up to the Northeast, but I’m not sure how they’re going to react. I think I’d be fine. Car people ‘get’ each other.”

Owner:

Ira Ferguson

Year:

2007

Make:

Porsche

Model:

Cayman

Weight:

2,700 lbs. w/o driver

Engine:

2.7 H6

Suspension:

Front: MCS struts, GT3 drop links with bump steer kit

Rear: MCS struts

Tires:

Front: Hoosier P245-35ZR-18

Rear: Hoosier P275-35ZR-18

Brakes:

Front: Stock calipers, Pagid orange pads

Rear: Stock calipers, Pagid black pads

Data system:

Race Keeper

Sponsors:

NA

 

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Image courtesy of Brett Becker