Porsche Driving Experience
The only thing wrong with the new Porsche Driving Experience at Silverstone is that not everybody will be able to do it, writes Tony Dron. By its very nature, only the élite among private motorists will get to discover its secrets, going away afterwards with a much clearer idea of car control and what the latest Porsche traction control and stability systems can do to help. Attending a day like this is fun, without doubt, but if only all drivers had to graduate through such a course, our roads would be very much safer.
Situated directly beside the Hangar Straight on Silverstone’s Grand Prix circuit, the all-new Porsche Driving Experience has been built on the site of the former WRC special stage arena. There are panoramic views of the new Porsche test tracks and of the main Silverstone circuit from the roof terrace, as well as from the 100-seat restaurant inside the architecturally innovative main building. This building also houses a Porsche display area, private meeting rooms and a highly advanced Human Performance Centre.
The driving opportunities include an excellent handling circuit, designed to replicate a typical English B-road with hills, varying cambers and blind bends. Although speed is involved in some of the activities at the Porsche Driving Experience, the accent in much of what happens is on safety and car control at low speeds. Timid drivers need have no fear, while experts will be fascinated by what Porsche has to offer. Nowhere else in the UK can provide quite the same opportunity to feel precisely what a modern Porsche can do, with and without its various systems turned on.
Apart from the handling circuit, there’s an ‘ice hill’ with computer-controlled water jets on an ultra-low-friction surface, a kick plate which throws a car into a spin-threatening tail slide at very low speeds, a low-friction circuit on which slides of every kind can be induced and controlled in safety – and a challenging off-road course for the Cayenne drivers.
Highly qualified Porsche Driving Consultants are in constant attendance, passing on their knowledge and driving skills through all the courses available, ranging from car control and track craft, to night driving and winter driving. These courses, each of which lasts for 90 minutes of intense activity, cost £275 a time and customers use Porsche’s own fleet of current models. For owners or would-be owners of GT3 and GT2 models, the 90-minute GT course costs £400. Vehicle hire is included in all these prices.
Beyond that, the Porsche Sport Driving School can take owners to the highest level of safe, high-speed driving – with the opportunity to experience the Silverstone racing circuits. For customers who want to reach advanced racing driver standard, these longer and more costly courses can accommodate that too. The Porsche Sport Driving School is run to Porsche’s internationally standardised training schedule. Many Sport Driving School customers take their own cars but a selection of Porsche cars is available for hire, costing £155 per half day for a Boxster, £180 for a Cayman and rising to £200 for a Cayenne or a Carrera. Comprehensive insurance is included in the price.
There is something for everyone in the unique and excellent Porsche Driving Experience, including an eco-friendly driving course. And don’t forget the Human Performance Centre, a sports science laboratory which offers the most modern Wellness Assessment, telling you just how close your body is to matching that of a top-class modern racing driver – plus advice on how to improve.
Individuals and groups can apply for bookings at the Porsche Driving Experience by ringing 08443 575 911. Or email [email protected].
Tony Dron's book, Porsche - Engineering for Excellence, was recently published by Haynes and costs £19.99 via the Haynes website. See www.haynes.co.uk.
Text: Tony Dron
Photos: Porsche GB
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