Thursday, 3 January 2013 1:08 PM
Driving the latest Porsche on the track is not as expensive as you might think. From £275 (including VAT) you can get yourself some one-to-one professional tuition at the Porsche Driving Experience, at Silverstone. And while you won’t be doing hot laps of the famous Silverstone track, you will be touring the bespoke Porsche Driving Experience track and testing facility right next to Silverstone; bathing in reflected racing glory as you learn.
The Porsche Driving Experience is made up of five specially designed track elements; Handling, Kick Plate, Ice Hill, Low Friction and Off-Road, all offering a different focus on driving skills tuition and enhancement.
The handling track is much as you’d expect a race track to be, but this one is modelled on the back lane-style roads we all regularly drive on and doesn’t feature the generous run-off areas of modern motorsport tracks. As such, speeds aren’t huge here, but in the right Porsche – I’d recommend the new 911 Carrera S – you can still get some decent velocity going. All of this depends on your skill levels and what your Porsche instructor feels you’re ready for, of course.
The Kick Plate (wow, is all I can say about this one!), Ice Hill and Low Friction elements of the Porsche Experience all – in one way or another – show you the skills needed to handle a powerful Porsche in low grip situations. Rear-wheel drive cars can feel scary for the first time of driving, but once you learn and understand the rear-wheel drive Porsche handling traits and get a good feel for the beautiful balance that goes into every Porsche chassis, your rear-driving confidence will grow. And all in the much safer confines of the Porsche tracks complex.
And then there’s the Off-Road track in the Porsche Cayenne. Basically, it’s super-steep, wet and muddy and more than a test for any off-road-ready SUV.
My favourite track section of the recent December day I spent at the Porsche Driving Experience was the Handling track. It’s the fastest part of the day, and in the new and incredibly poised 911 Carrera S with a full fat 400bhp, it’s a pretty wild ride. String together some neat laps here, and you, like me, will be wanting the latest model in the famous 911 line up, with or without an ‘S’ on the boot lid.
You can use your time at the Porsche Driving Experience to hone your driving skills, drive your dream Porsche – most models are available, depending on package price – or get a good feel for your Porsche sportscar of choice – Boxster, Cayman or 911 – before you buy. But, from £275 for a 90 minute course, it’s also just a lot of swanky fun for not too much cash.
Better to learn to this on the track, than on the road
By Daniel Anslow