The Porsche Experience offers regular drivers the chance to learn how to drive like a racer as well as access to Porsche cars
Motorists in the Philippines are used to mind-numbing traffic jams and pockmarked roads, especially in Metro Manila. Many drivers stew inside their vehicles during rush hour and can only daydream about letting their inner Michael Schumacher out, revving up their engines and challenging speed limits over a smooth paved race track.
Luxury sports car brand Porsche is giving people the chance to live out their racecar driver fantasies with the Porsche Experience, a training course designed for everyday motorists who not only would like to improve their driving skills but experience what it’s like to get behind the wheel of high-performance German-made sportscars.
The Stuttgart-based automotive company also has a similar training module for media practitioners called the Media Drive Academy (MDA). Participants undergo intensive courses on racecar driving in small groups. The courses are divided into three depending on skill level—Individual, Professional and Elite.
Participants underwent different driving courses during the two-day event
I was fortunate enough to complete the Individual course last year. Led by award-winning race car driving Earl Bamber, who was part of the team that took home the trophy in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015 and 2017, the course challenged participants to forget what they knew about normal, regular driving and learn and adopt the skills of professional racers.
This year, Porsche sent out the invitation for Individual finishers to complete the Professional and Elite driving course. Once again, the training was held at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, site of Formula One races until last year.
Porsche also made available an impressive range of their most iconic models for the training course, including units of the Porsche 911 GT3, 911 Turbo and Turbo S, 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman, 911 Targa 4 GTS, Panamera 4S and the Panamera Turbo S e-hybrid.
There was a short refresher on the skills we learned last year—including the Moose Test, or an exercise on stability management (driving at full speed, stepping off the accelerator and quickly swerving to avoid hitting an imaginary obstacle on the road), Braking Test (driving at full speed, braking hard and quickly turning the car left or right) and the Slalom, where we timed our drive as we quickly turned left and right while navigating a series of cones.
Porsche made some of their latest and most iconic models available to participants of the racing course
A highlight of the Porsche Experience was the guided driving, where participants drove the entire Sepang track behind a professional racing instructor
The highlight of the exercise was a guided drive around the full length of the Sepang track. Instructors initially divided the track into three as they explained key driving techniques and maneuvers in each section, but later on, each participant slid behind the wheel of a car and followed the instructor around the track while driving at speeds approaching 180 to 200 kilometers per hour.
This was where key learnings in the preliminary courses were put to use: we learned the best maneuver to negotiate tricky corners in the track, strategic areas to position the car before touching the apex (or the point on the inside edge of a turn), working the throttle and using it to turn the car instead of with the steering wheel and gunning the accelerator before a hard brake as we approached a turn.
For anyone used to driving in the big city and perpetually facing spirit-killing traffic jams day in and day out, the opportunity to let loose and become a racecar driver even for a few days is priceless. That you get to drive some of the most beautiful and technically advanced automobiles in the planet just takes it to a whole new level.
The writer was a guest of Porsche in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Members of the public interested in the Porsche Experience can view more information in the Porsche website
Paul John Caña is the managing editor of Entrepreneur PH