Last week, I had to renew my passport in Atlanta. I’m heading across the pond soon, and in order to be allowed through customs in Germany (and many other destinations, to be sure) your passport has to be valid for at least six months. Mine expired in November, so up to Atlanta I went.
As we drove into the city, my DH noticed the Porsche Experience Center beckoning us from beside the interstate.
Hey, what do you think? Should we try it?
Duh!!! Lucky for us, there was one spot open the next day at 2:00. It’s a 90-minute driving experience, but you can split it between two people, so that’s what we did.
We arrived early and walked through the museum downstairs before checking in. It’s loaded with cool cars, including those that are there to get rehabbed for their owners. There was even one that is going to be auctioned off in October.
We checked in and went outside to wait for our turn at the wheel. The cars were waiting on the tarmac below us, engines purring ferociously. Our “driving coach” introduced himself and described what we were going to do. The track consists of several different areas:
- the outer loop, which you drive first to get a feel for the car;
- a slalom course, where you really get to test the handling of the car and also where you accelerate from zero to FAST in a short, electrifying stretch before you slam on the brakes and see how quickly the car can stop;
- a wet area with a kick plate that sends your backside sliding as soon as you enter so you can learn how to correct;
- a slippery concrete area where your tires screech and you learn how to manage slipping;
- an off-road area for the larger SUV’s;
- and last but NOT least, a wet circle where you learn the three ways your car can spin out and how to correct them.
My DH went first, along with 11 other cars. When it was my turn, my heart was beating so fast. My car was a 911, and wow was it powerful!! I took a few laps around the outer loop, going progressively faster and faster. The coach rides along with you, and monitors all the mirrors, while giving advice on how to take turns, when to brake, etc. He is very encouraging and helpful.
After a few loops around, I went to the slalom. He had me put my left foot on the brake and my right foot on the accelerator all the way to the floor and on his cue, I let off the brake. What a feeling!! The car flew down the stretch, and at a certain spot he told me to slam on the brakes. It stopped within a scant few feet. It was amazing! I had to do it again and again, until I got it to 74 before slamming on the brakes. It may not sound like much, but in the short space of a couple of hundred feet, it is fast!!
Next I did the slalom a couple of times, and then moved on to the the wet track. That was fun, and I had no trouble correcting the slide. My DH taught me well on the icy roads of the Swiss Alps in his Golf GTI, many moons ago when we were in college. On the third pass I sped up as I drove onto the kick plate and the car spun out. That was fun!
I didn’t like the slippery screechy track, and only did that twice. The last part – and my favorite – was the wet circle that mimicked ice/snow. My coach directed me to drive around the circle with my left tire following a line on the track, increasing my speed until the car started to slide, and correct. Then he directed me to drive the circle, increasing my speed and then giving intermittent gas, until the car began to slide. The third thing I did was drive the circle, increasing speed, and then braking suddenly. All three were super fun.
If driving a Porsche is on your Bucket List – and it should be – than Porsche Experience Center-Atlanta is the place to do it. It provides a safe arena to hone your driving skills and have loads of fun while you do it!
Let me know if you’ve tried a Porsche – or any other – driving experience. I’d love to do another one some day.