From the earliest days I can remember, I have always loved cars. All of my dolls had cars. I was more interested in the Barbie convertable and RV than the Dream House. I went to the New York International Auto Show every year with my dad. One of the first cars I remember falling in love with was the Porsche 911.
I’m not sure of the exact year or model, that car made my eyes sparkle. Never did I imagine driving a Porsche in person. Thanks to Atlanta’s Porsche Drive Experience Center and A Girls Guide to Cars I had the chance to drive not only my dream 911 Carerra GTS, but also a Porsche Cayman 718.
Marvel lovers might recognize the building behind me. It was used at the Avengers Headquarters in a few of the movies.
Porsche Drive Experience – Where YOU are the VIP!
This experience is not just for the press or the rich and famous. You too can visit Porsche Atlanta and take a spin in one of your favorite cars. Even kids over 60 pounds can do a ride-along with a professional driver. Have smaller children? The entire family can take a spin in the Simulator Lab. There are so many ways to impress your friends, family and even your co-workers. How about one of these?
- Host the best birthday party ever
- Have a Kick butt bachelor or bachelorette party
- Surprise Your partner with an anniversary dine & drive
- Pep up your employees with a Team Building Experience
Porsche Driver Development Track
The star of the facility is the 1.6-mile driver development track consisting of six different modules. Some areas simulate everyday driving experiences while others provide more challenging environments to experience the thrill of driving a Porsche. Can you say 0-70 in under 4 seconds? Oh YEAH!!!
Professional Driving Coaches
During your time on the track, you’ll get one-on-one instruction from a professional driving coach. I had the pleasure of working with 3 different coaches and they were all amazing. You’re in good hands with these guys and gals. The coaches encourage you to go outside of your comfort zone a bit, but there is no pressure to go fast if it’s not your thing.
Here’s the layout of the land:
One Mile Handling Circuit
This circuit is meant to mimic a drive on a winding country road. So while it’s not a “race track,” your coaches will help you pick up the speed if you’d like. After years of driving “mom cars,” it’s exhilerating to break free in these sports cars. Before long, I zipped through twists and turns with confidence.
This area provides a long, wide span of asphalt to practice maneuvers like obstacle avoidance, stopping at high speeds and the infamous “launch.” The Porsche cars have the unique ability to floor the gas while still on the break. Releasing the break launches the car to thrilling speeds in just seconds. One of my favorite parts of the experience for sure!
This area provides a real-world experience to driving a car in inclement weather. When the kick plate sensors are triggered, your car is bumped randomly to simulate hydroplaning or sliding over ice or snow. I was pleasantly surprised at how well I did on this part of the course. My driver was so impressed that he turned off the stabilization functionality of the car. After one 360 spin, I successfully controlled my vehicle on the next try.
Wet, Low Friction Circle
This area lets drivers experience the thrill of the drift capabilities of the Porsche vehicles over wet, polished concrete. Maneuvers like over-steering combined with throttle adjustments give you a sense of what stunt driving must be like. Since I tend to get motion sickness from too much spinning, I decided to skip this one. Maybe next time.
Low Friction Handling Circuit
Similar to the circle, this section also has a polished concrete surface. With tight curves in both directions, drivers use understeering to control the car. Letting the rear end slide and drift a bit is fun too!
Off Road Circuit
Last, but not least, experience the off-road capabilities of Porsche Cayenne. We completed the course with a professional driver at the wheel, but there is an option for you to drive as well. These cars achieve quite unbelievable maneuvers up and down 75% grades, auto-breaking down stairs, driving through 20 inches of water and more.
But wait… There’s more!
The Porsche Experience Center provides an opportunity to truly be surrounded by the Porsche brand. It’s essentially “Porsche Heaven.” for owners and enthusiasts. Me!! In addition to the driver development track, the venue is also home to:
- US Headquarters
- Human Performance Center
- Business Center
- Classic Car Gallery and Restoration Center
- Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur— Personal Design Studio
- Porsche Driver’s Selection Store
- Carrera Café
- Restaurant 356 for the ultimate fine-dining experience
Temp your tastebuds
At Porsche Atlanta, Restaurant 356 is open to the public for fine dining serving lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. Our group had the pleasure of dining here before our drive experience. The food is outstanding! The public agrees with a 4.8 out of 5 star rating on Open Table. The location has one of the best sunset views in Atlanta so keep this in mind when you make a reservation.
For a quick fix, Carrera Cafe serves hot and cold drings, snacks, and house-made salty and sweet desserts. YUM!
Stay and play
While I did not have the chance to check it out in person, there is even a Kimpton hotel on site. In the Presidential Suite, you can soak in an enormous bathtub overlooking the Porsche Experience Center’s track. Sign me up!
I can’t wait to go back
I really can’t say enough about this experience. It was truly outstanding. I can’t wait to return and bring the entire family.
Thanks again to the folks at Porsche Experiece Center for hosting this dream experience.