On Saturday I made a pit stop on the way to the airport at the Porsche Experience Center. This monument to motorsport is equipped with two tracks, a museum, a cafe, restaurant, and simulator room. The primary thing on offer is an experience of 90 minutes with the Porsche that you pick. The price point is on the higher side, but you get what you pay for.
Who This is For
The experience is for anyone who wants to take a high performance car and develop some performance racing skills with an actual race car driver. You do not have to have prior experience. It is more intense than some of the test drive type experiences you may have seen. However it’s also important to note they do not allow recording in the car. If you’re hoping to have lots of photo memories of your experience, this is not for you.
I was paired with Rick, who has participated in a variety of races and started with go karts long before he could legally drive. Rick was friendly, helpful, and also firm about when I needed to try something different to work on a skill. I loved how he split our time both demoing skills and having me practice it, giving me specific feedback. I learned steering techniques, how to look, and he helped me develop a sense of the track.
The West Track is the newer one and has lots of twists, turns, and changes. This is a more challenging track that is suited maybe for more advanced drivers. I did not have a bad time on it, but had I realized the difference ahead of time, I likely would have gone for the simpler South Track which has more straight for getting the car up to speed. That said I think West Track was better for developing skills in keeping the car at speed with a variety of twists and turns.
The Porsche Taycan Turbo is the vehicle I chose to ride for my drive and it was a joy. The steering wheel is my favorite, with an indent behind the 9 and 3 position to slip your fingers into for superior grip. Everything is electronically adjustable. The cockpit is the nicest I have seen, with a great balance of physical and electronic controls. My favorite feature by far is launch control, by holding down the brake and then flooring your accelerator you push 20% more power to the engine and can go 0 to 60 in 3 seconds. Probably useful trying to merge into the Merritt Parkway.
Porsche offers a variety of 90 minute to 2 hour packages from $450 to $950. You can make the experience more economical by splitting it with someone. They would then use the car half the time and you would use it half the time. This might feel high, but you are paying for an hour and a half of time with an expert. This is not a test drive.