The Most Fun You Can Have in a Porsche Without Breaking the Law
We checked out the new Porsche Experience. It’s bananas.
Would you enjoy red-lining a Porsche 911 around a track with ice and hydroplaning simulations?
How about Atlas-stoning a Cayenne over a seesaw and down a 45-degree hill?
What if we threw in an Angus steak dinner, some super Tuscans and a vintage race car tour?
That’s the Porsche Experience, a shiny new playground in Carson next door to the footprint of the Rams’ new stadium.
Intrepid taskmen that we are, we drove out there earlier this week to scope things out.
From the 405, it’ll look like a massive car dealership. The only difference is once you get inside, the cars parked in the lobby — a Gunner Racer G99, a Porsche 959, a Porsche 962 — are retired race cars. The 917K is the one that won Le Mans in 1971.
Through the big bay windows on your right you’ll see Motorsport, which sells and fine-tunes Porsche’s racecars: the 911 GT3 Cup, GT3 Clubsport and GT3 R. They also do work on vintage Porsches. You can ask to go inside for a tour.
To your left: conference rooms and smaller offices for one-on-one coaching. There’s also a simulation lab. Imagine an arcade with six Outrun-style video-game simulators that have GT3 seats, steering wheels and even that new car smell, and you’ve got the gist.
This will get you ready for the main event, a 51-acre driver development track where you can test 911s, Panameras, 718 Boxsters, 718 Caymans, Macans and Cayennes over eight driving modules (speaking at a press conference earlier this week, Porsche’s top brass hinted that this facility will be a testing ground for new concepts as well).
Launch Control/Acceleration Straight
Hold the brake with your left foot, hit the accelerator with your right and when the instructor gives you the go, let off the break and the Porsche explodes down the ¾-mile straight track. You’ll then firmly decelerate before heading into a replica of the Karussell, the famous banked curve on the North Loop of the Nürburgring.
A computer-controlled hydraulic plate that looks like a yellow fence. As you drive at 25 MPH over a wet road, it’ll pop up to induce loss of rear wheel traction, putting the car into a skid or spin. You’ll be taught the correct technique to “catch” the slide and bring the car under control.
The Ice Hill simulates an icy mountain road where a driver is likely to lose control. Ice Hill has a 7% slope, computer-controlled water jets and a low-friction surface.
Two Handling Circuits
You may think you know how to hit country roads, but after their instructors give you the correct way to find a straight line on their 1.3-mile handling course, you’ll know how to take curves and brake like a boss.
Low Friction Circle
A highly polished, soaking wet concrete surface 300 feet in diameter that mimics an icy road. You’ll learn how to stop your car from spinning on the ice.
When we took the Porsche Cayenne up the 45-degree ascents, the instructor told us to hit the brake. Hit it hard enough and the SUV knows to hold it once the foot is off so you don’t roll a centimeter backwards.
Low-Friction Handling Course
Another polished concrete surface, this time laden with undulations that create a situation where vehicles have a tendency to oversteer.
This may seem like common sense, but try to schedule your meals for after the driving. The on-campus Restaurant 917 and cafe has great food and overlooks the track so you can watch other joyriders run the courses.
Holiday parties. Corporate events. Bachelor parties. This place is — how shall we say — ready to frickin’ roll.
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