SharkWerks part two
Taking the tour Sharky shows us the TechArt 991 Carrera sitting in front, delivered to SharkWerks from new and upgraded before customer delivery. It’s quite a vote of confidence.
Sharing the workshop with TechArt is a clutch of GT3s and late-model Turbos, a muchmodified Cayman R in silver and, surprisingly, 904 in Signal Orange.
“That’s James’ car,” says Dan Kennedy, the team’s fourth member. “It’s a replica built by Chuck Beck in Georgia. James is collecting the parts for a serious engine build.”
A long-time fan of the drag strip, Dan is most owners’ first point of contact at SharkWerks’ HQ. His Porsche tuning experience was honed on the 996 Turbo and has gathered pace ever since, so Dan knows SharkWerks’ products better than anyone.
“We sell a lot of parts overseas, particularly our own brand of exhausts. The Middle East, Asia and Australia, Malaysia, Singapore: our exhausts pass noise testing anywhere and people love the sound.
Our products are very popular with people who really drive their cars: they often take them to the track. We get calls from all around the world from people who have questions on which way to go with development.
“In America, there’s a big demand for expert input on tuning and upgrades. We work on everything from Cayman to Cayenne, Panamera to 911, and people send them in from everywhere.
The biggest interest right now comes from owners of 2009 to 2012 911 Carreras. Our X-pipe has been well received on those cars: owners like how well it works with the PSE (Porsche Sport Exhaust).
“Mail order parts make up much of our business, but our workshop is also important. There’s a steady stream of GT3s coming in for track preparation, suspension modifications and our exhausts: all different parts we make for those cars.
Despite having eight official Porsche centres in this part of California, we also do quite a bit of servicing and, of course, software upgrades.
Dan continues: “People want more power – they want to track them and so on – so we’re big on suspension tuning. Centre radiator conversions are also in demand to keep the temperatures down on track.
A Boxster Spyder owner who races at Laguna Seca saw temperatures fall from 220 degrees to 195 just by adding the radiator. The conversion is a trick we learned from Tiptronic cars.
“The third radiator is all done using Porsche factory parts, which owners really like. We try to use Porsche parts where possible, when they’re not superseded by aftermarket developments.
SharkWerks is one of very few places in the US that can open, rebuild and strengthen the 996 TT, 997 TT and GT3 engines with factory tooling and our own custom parts.
“Tuning a car is more than just power. We increase throttle response using lighter flywheels and throttle body conversions. We spend a lot of time on transmission upgrades and properly installing limited-slip differentials. Guards Differentials are not too far away, and we’ve got a great relationship there, too.”
SharkWerks are well renowned for their groundbreaking 3.9-litre GT3 conversions at present, which is an interesting topic of conversation for Dan, who says:
“Some believe that the all-round flexibility of that engine forced Porsche to go one better with the 4.0 RS. For Turbo cars, we bring more power: EVOMS kits can take top speed on a 997 Turbo to more than 230mph.
“Our promise is to only sell and install parts that have been tested on our own vehicles, including our range of exhaust systems developed in-house. We stock parts and technology from EVOMS, TechArt, Werks1, Tubi, Cargraphic, Brembo and Bilstein.
“Our most popular coil-over system is the Bilstein PSS9. We also sell HRE & Champion Motorsport wheels, so we’re well placed to deliver something special.”
SharkWerks takes so many calls for advice on tuning normally aspirated 911s that the company has added a series of tuning guides to its website, covering everything 997 related. “We’ve done most of the 997 models and are working on more,” says Alex.
“Our projects section covers all the other things we do: Panamera, Cayenne, Cayman and 911 Turbos – so there’s a lot of education there. We’ll keep adding documents and information and let people make their own minds up.
“Sharing information openly and honestly has been my philosophy since I started online. Whether it’s PC chips or Porsche tuning, we treat our readers as intelligent individuals.
“We share our results, tell people what worked and what didn’t and help them get the most fun from their equipment. It’s a formula that has served SharkWerks well for more than seven years; if it’s not broken, leave it alone!”
So ends our trip to SharkWerks. It’s been all we expected and more. Brand names need energy – the promise of excitement and reward. We want brand names that resonate with us, and are backed by owners who know how to honour each customer as an individual.
Such lofty aspirations are a challenge to find, but SharkWerks lives up to them. Sharks are adrenaline-fuelled and always on the move; Werks 1 was where Ferry carved a brand that brought us motoring icons.
As a pair of words coming together to excite Porsche owners, I can think of few better. Behind the brand, SharkWerks’ reality rocks.