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Every time I get into the Cayman, I have peace of mind – Jan Götze

02.05.2024 By Richard Lindhorst
Every time I get into the Cayman, I have peace of mind – Jan Götze

What’s almost as much fun as living out our passions? Yep, talking about it! Auto Bild editor and photographer Jan Götze has a similar view. In addition to writing about fast cars, he is also a well-known German podcast host and uses his Instagram account jagotz as an automotive diary. Recently, Jan Götze took the time for an extensive Porsche talk. He shared some insights about the beginnings of carspotting, his path into automotive journalism and why someone who can drive anything professionally chose a Porsche 981 Cayman GT4 for his own pleasure.

Dear Jan Götze, welcome to the Elferspot Porsche Talk! What should our users know about you?

I’m 33 years old, I’ve been working for Auto Bild since 2015, first as a trainee and now as head of department, and I’ve always been crazy about cars. I was born in Bremen and now live in Hamburg with my wife. I drive a Porsche Cayman GT4 from the 981 generation.

What was your first contact with cars? How did you become a car freak?

My dad always had a great interest in cars. So I was influenced by him early on. I was often at racetracks when I was young. A friend at the time drove go-karts semi-professionally. For me, it started with collecting 1:64 toy cars and magazines that my father had read. I couldn’t read them at all at first and just looked at the pictures as a little boy. My passion for collecting then got a little out of hand with car quartets or top trumps. I still collect them today and have now amassed almost 1,000 different ones.

Carspotting was the real trigger for my passion, though. I started doing it in 2006, when nobody was really doing it yet. I was 15 years old and Instagram didn’t even exist. Back then, I went out on my bike and looked for cars in Bremen. I was really happy when I saw an AMG. During the vacations, I took the train to Hamburg and spotted there. I flew to London for the first time in 2009. There, I slept in an eight-bed room in a hostel and walked around the city from 8 am to 10 pm taking photos of cars. I uploaded the pictures to autogespot and flickr back then. I had so much fun that I did it every year from 2009 to 2013. Per day, I walked 40 to 50 km just to photograph cars!

Wow! Was it clear to you at this point that you also wanted to dedicate your professional life to cars?

After graduating from high school, I gave myself a year as a “discovery phase”. I worked in the harbor, worked on the production line at Mercedes in the night shift… And of course I also did some spotting and dived deep into photography during this time. Back then, I started taking photos for some local car dealers’ listings. That way I could also earn a bit of money with my hobby. I did a lot of thinking that year. It was clear to me that I wanted to do something with cars, but I was still unsure what. The only thing I knew was that I didn’t want to be a salesman. I’d probably be too bad at that because I’d just want to keep the good cars! (laughs)

How did you end up in journalism? Did you have any other ideas?

Yes, I’m also interested in technology, for example. But for me it’s all about the emotion – the driving, the design, the sound… For a short time, I even toyed with the idea of studying design. But I have no artistic talent whatsoever, except perhaps in photography. So I realized that was a bit far-fetched. By chance and the magazines, I realized that it would be cool to become a motoring journalist. What fascinated me most was that you don’t have to commit yourself to one brand. You can drive and experience everything from Smart to Pagani! Working for a manufacturer can certainly be cool too, but you’re just fixed.

What fascinated me most was that you don’t have to commit yourself to one brand. You can drive and experience everything from Smart to Pagani!

Jan Götze on his motivation to become a motoring journalist

Then I found out what I would have to do to get in. I noticed that most of my colleagues in the segment were career changers. But I wanted to try the traditional route. I considered studying journalism at three different universities. After I started studying media and communication sciences in Hannover, I got a place to study journalism in my home town of Bremen at short notice.

What highlights did you take away from this time?

At that time, the university required one internship semester and one semester abroad. I went through the list of partner universities using the exclusion procedure. I then stuck with India. Initially, I had neither a connection to India nor a real opinion. But I thought to myself: I probably won’t travel to India again in my life. That’s exactly why I chose it in the end and went to India for a semester in 2013. It was amazing in all respects. Highs and lows, everything was extreme!

Back then, I was right in the middle of the carspotting scene. However, cars played a subordinate role in India at the time. If you saw an E-Class, that alreday was extremely special. There were maybe three Lamborghinis in the whole country at the time. But on my list – I keep a record of all the cars I drive – I was able to tick off a car that very few people in Europe drove, even though it was mass-produced in Asia. I drove the cheapest car in the world at the time, the Tata Nano.

Sounds like a very formative experience. Where did you go afterwards for your internship semester?

I applied to Auto Bild as an intern and was accepted. I have to admit that I made a lot of good contacts there, but would have liked to have done more. So after the internship semester, I was still a bit unsure where I wanted to go. First, I wrote my bachelor’s thesis on monetization in carspotting. In 2014, this was still in its infancy and hardly anyone knew the Youtuber Shmee150, for example. So it was anything but easy to teach this to people who weren’t familiar with the topic. But it went very well!

I then looked for a job as a trainee. I initially worked at Auto Bild Motorsport on a trial basis. However, it was more sports journalism than motor journalism and not really my thing. Nevertheless, I was offered a job, but I asked for a week to think about it. I asked myself a lot of questions. Do I get my foot in the door first or do I try something else straight away? Do I really want to start my professional career almost 800 kilometers away from home in Schwabach? In addition, motorsport always means a lot of weekend work. The killer argument was always: “At the moment, there’s nothing else on the table!”

How did you deal with this dilemma? What did you decide to do?

First, I phoned two former colleagues from my internship semester. They took me to lots of exciting appointments back then. The first of the two immediately said: “Don’t do it if you don’t feel right. If your private and professional life don’t fit together, don’t do it.” My second colleague told me the exact opposite and I was no further forward. However, this colleague knew about a trainee position at Auto Bild Digital in Hamburg.

From then on, I knew: “This is it. I’m up for this job!”

Jan Götze

I started my traineeship at Auto Bild in August 2015. My first appointment was a business trip to the Lausitzring for the launch of the new A-Class. For the road part, we drove a regular model, and on the racetrack we drove the A 45 AMG. That was a great experience. From then on, I knew: “This is it. I’m up for this job!”

Thanks to your job, you can basically drive anything, no matter the brand, no matter the segment. Why does Porsche now have a big place in your heart?

To be honest, I was never the biggest Porsche fan. Maybe that’s because you see 911s in all shapes and sizes very often in Hamburg. A “normal” Porsche 911 is nothing special here. That’s why I wouldn’t put a Carrera in my garage just for fun, regardless of the generation. If you had asked me earlier, I would have said Lamborghini or Ferrari would be my dream. They’re much cooler and more eye-catching. But when you have a driver’s license and can drive lots of different cars, you realize why so many people drive Porsches: Because they’re just that good! For a sports car, they offer an incredibly good compromise between driving thrills and everyday utility.

I will never forget my first drive in a Porsche GT model. It was a Porsche 991 GT3 Touring in PTS olive green. I was so taken by this car. It fulfilled everything I imagined from a fun car. It’s emotional, super involving, has a naturally aspirated engine, a manual gearbox… Personally, the emotionality of the engine and gearbox combination is much more important to me than pure performance figures. The virus of Porsche’s GT models was thus implanted. At that time, however, any Porsche in this direction was completely out of reach. But it remained my absolute dream car.

The Jan Götze of today drives a Porsche Cayman GT4, though. How did that come about?

I used to drive an Abarth 500, later a US BMW M6 E 63, the one with the V10, with a manual gearbox. But I realized that it wasn’t what I really wanted. I made my only sensible decision about cars relatively quickly and sold the car. Through work, I had my first encounter with a Porsche Cayman GT4 a short time later. The sound was brilliant. And it was exactly what I wanted: a sports car with a naturally aspirated engine, manual gearbox, lots of emotion and rarely encountered. A Cayman S was also a great car, but not what I wanted.

And so began my one-and-a-half-year search for a 981 Cayman GT4. It was clear to me that it had to have 918 bucket seats and, at best, the Clubsport package. And it absolutely had to be yellow! I looked at three yellow GT4s and all of them were already badly marked. One, for example, had completely worn brake disks at just 12,000 km. I would even have bought the last of the three yellows, but we couldn’t come to an agreement over 500 euros. That was on a Saturday. I was totally depressed and thought I wouldn’t find another one. All the others were either in poor condition or much more expensive.

The following Monday morning, one was advertised in Hamburg. However, it was gray and had almost 34,000 km on the clock at the time. But the key data sounded good. After consulting with a friend, I made an appointment for the weekend. When I hung up, my wife said to me: “Are you stupid? What if someone else comes and buys the car first? Then you’ll be in a bad mood for another two weeks. You can even go today if you want to!”

So your wife urged you to buy a Porsche?

Above all, she made me feel totally insecure! I then called the seller again and brought the appointment forward to Wednesday. On the spot, I realized that it was a pretty special Cayman. It was one of the last delivered at the Hamburg Porsche Center. The buyer actually wanted a Porsche 911 R. That didn’t work out and as an offer of kindness he got one of the last GT4 slots. The car had a lot of equipment. Apart from the PCCB, there were almost no crosses: leather steering column, body-colored trim, 918 seats, carbon door sills, Clubsport package… Except for the color, it was exactly what I wanted.

I don’t do weekly excursions in my surroundings, but would rather think to myself: “The car has been here with me, has already been there…”

Jan Götze

As the condition was suitable and the replacement gearbox had already been installed, I decided to buy the gray GT4. The mileage was of secondary importance for my purposes anyway. For me, the car is a real driver’s car and now has 47,000 kilometers on the clock. I take it on a big trip once a year. I’ve already driven it to Denmark and Norway. Mallorca, the Alps and Iceland are still on the list. I want to create special memories with the car. I don’t do weekly excursions in my surroundings, but would rather think to myself: “The car has been here with me, has already been there…”

You have now driven countless dream cars. Which ones have impressed you the most?

The best overall package for me is – still – the Porsche 991 GT3 Touring. I think, the 991 generation is the visual highlight of the Porsche 911. It was in this car that I really understood what a Porsche can do. And that’s exactly what I expect from a car. That’s when the spark was really ignited. The most impressive Porsche driving experience was my drive in the Porsche Carrera GT, which I was allowed to drive for a podcast episode. However, my biggest automotive dream came true when I was allowed to drive a Pagani Zonda F, Horacio Pagani’s personal car. Nothing can top that experience!

How do you see the development of the 911 in general? For example, the leap from 991 to 992?

Visually, I really like the Porsche 992 GT3 from the outside. But the interior is not my cup of tea. In my eyes, the 991.2 has the better interior. What’s more, the cars have really grown in size. And although I really like extroverted cars, the 992 GT3 RS is a bit too much for me. After spending a few days with the 992 GT3, I drove the new Cayman GT4 RS. That appeals to me much more. Although the current GT3 steers more sharply, it’s almost too extreme for the road. The GT4 RS doesn’t steer quite as sharply, but is better-handling thanks to the mid-engined layout. It also feels very much like a 991 inside and has that addictive sound.

Driving all these great cars, don’t you sometimes think about replacing your Cayman GT4?

I’m still incredibly happy with the GT4. Sure, I regularly drive much more expensive and faster cars. But every time I get back into the Cayman, I think that’s all I need. I’m at peace with myself every time and have real peace of mind, even though as a car fan you always crave something new. But if things go well, I hope I never have to sell the car. What’s more, the GT4 has the Approved warranty. So I never have to worry about putting kilometers on the car. Even if nothing ever happens, I just have peace of mind and can enjoy the car.

Sure, I regularly drive much more expensive and faster cars. But every time I get back into the Cayman, I think that’s all I need.

Jan Götze

Who has impressed you most as a person from the Porsche cosmos so far?

That was definitely Andreas Preuninger. I was lucky enough to be able to produce some very detailed YouTube videos with him. The first one was about the 718 Cayman GT4 RS. I had great respect. After all, we’re talking about the godfather of GT models. But we were quickly getting on. He is extremely authentic and, unlike spokesperson from other brands, doesn’t try to sell you his product. He’s not afraid to tell you where he would like to go back and make improvements. What he says, he says out of pure conviction.

Last but not least, our classic final question: If money was no object, which Porsche would be in Jan Götze’s garage?

I have two answers to that: If we’re talking about a 911, then it would be the 911 R. For me, the 991 is the peak Porsche 911 and the R tops it all off! If money really is no object, then it would be the Porsche Carrera GT. This engine in this car – you can’t get more emotional than that.

The images are courtesy of Jan Götze. You can find him on Instagram under jagotz and listen to his podcast Achtung Fahrspaß

Meet our contributor

Richard Lindhorst is our chief-editor and lives in Northern Germany. He thinks about cars and bikes almost 24/7. If you’ve got a story for him, or just want to get in touch, feel free to contact him on his Instagram (@rchrdlndhrst).

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