Back in 2008 Porsche had a brilliant idea. They realised that selling someone a very fast car also came with a responsibility to advise them on how to drive it. They already had the Porsche Driving School but it needed a permanent base, so they built the Porsche Experience Center, a brilliant driver development facility at Silverstone Raceway.
If you have just bought a new Porsche you will know all about it, along with every set of keys comes an invitation to visit the center to participate in a Porsche Driving Experience.
The ‘Experience’ however, is not exclusively for Porsche drivers and is open to anyone interested in become a better and safer driver, (whether they have a Porsche or not) AND having a great time in the process.
I went last weekend and LOVED it. Not only do I now want a new 911 Carrera 4S (a snip at £87,000), I also feel more confident about driving my ‘regular’ car in potentially hazardous situations.
After hosts, TV Presenter / Pro Driver / Vicki Butler Henderson and Chief Porsche Driving Consultant Gordon Roberston (pictured right) have given an entertaining introduction and short discussion it’s out onto the track (in your own car), to master the ‘Kick Plate’.
Designed to stimulate a severe skid in icy conditions on my 1st attempt I spun the car round several times, but after some tuition by the Porsche experts I was eventually able to keep control even under the most violent loss of control.
Next was the ‘Ice Hill’, it’s purpose to give you further experience and time to develop skills that would be impossible to practice in everyday situations (without disastrous and expensive consequences).
It was challenging stuff, but with repeated attempts my confidence grew and I felt a real sense of achievement, not to mention FUN!
The staff (who are all either ex racing drivers, or highly experienced professional drivers) are always on hand to answer to offer advice on techniques and car set up. It was great to see the difference the car handled without it’s ESP – Anti Slide System activated, and the understanding you get from the tuition could literally save your life.
From the engine spec of a Panemera to the best way to take a corner, these guys are unbelievably passionate about what they do, and what I liked is they did it without talking down to you.
Next we were straight to the indoors training and testing unit. This is where everyone from the 12yr old go-carters to the racing champions come to be analysed and tested on their reflexes, fitness and alertness.
You get to go on a number of different test, all great fun and you start to get an understanding of the physical and psychological demands placed on Pro Racers not too mention the levels of fitness and concentration required to become a racing champion.
The best part of the day is saved till last and after a quick briefing you head out (under supervision) onto the Porsche Test Course in a brand new Porsche 911. WOW this was awesome and definitely the highlight of the day.
I thought I was going fast until I switched seats with my instructor and he shot round the track in what felt like less than half the time I took (while I held on for dear life).
The whole Porsche Driving Experience went by in a flash and I’m not surprised several of the small friendly group of people there that day had been several times before. This driving day is head and shoulders above the normal so called ‘experience’ days, you’re made to feel very special and the balance between instruction and fun is just right.
The price (£165) is cheap for what you get and several of the people I spoke to had been given the experience as a present (and were suitably delighted).
Every Porsche currently on the market, is available to have a look at too, from a Sporty Boxster (£36k) to a more pricey but stunning Porsche 911GT2 RS (£171k). It made me realise what power these cars have and a new found respect for the people who drive them for a living.
Driving a sports car definitely gives you an appetite so after the excitement I headed upstairs to the Porsche Restaurant for a delicious 3 course meal overlooking the track.
As I left the circuit and headed back to Norfolk you would think spending a day among high powered sports cars it would be tempting to drive a bit faster than normal. It actually made me drive safer, and the knowledge I had learned will stay with me. I want to be around to enjoy another Porsche Driving Experience again down the road.
We have a fantastic competition to win a YouDrive Experience at Silverstone with Vicki Butler-Henderson for you AND A FRIEND.
All participants must hold a valid, full driving licence and be between 18 and 80 years of age.
You and your friend / partner will need to be free on Saturday October 1st 2011, and get to Silverstone for 9:00am.
Parts of the YouDrive Experience are done in your own vehicle.
You will be able to drive a brand new Porsche 911 Carrera around the Porsche Experience Handling Circuit.
Total value of the prize is £390 and includes a 3 course lunch for two at the Porsche restaurant.
Full info in the YouDrive Experience can be found HERE
** This competition is now closed **
This competition is now closed, for our latest competitions click HERE