Had a nice early Christmas present from Porsche Cars GB yesterday, when we spent the day at the Silverstone Experience Centre, doing some driver training on current-model Porsche cars. We’ve got a week of stories coming up from the experience, so stay tuned to Ferdinand.
Opened in 2008, Silverstone Centre was the first permanently-established Porsche facility where owners could experience their own cars on a controlled, simulated road circuit. Drivers run their own cars or new models alongside a Porsche Driving Consultant, on a course designed to show them how to get the most from the car in a variety of situations.
The facility’s been a big hit, inspiring both China and the USA to build similar centres. 35,000 people have now been through Silverstone, many of whom have progressed to taking their cars on track. I believe this is a good thing, as it builds the bond between car and driver, and relieves some ‘need for speed’ from the system. One thing track driving does not teach is the finer points of slow-speed car control.
I can slide and control cars fine at circuit speeds, but slow the process down and it is so much trickier. This year, I’ve done a drawing course, started learning Italian and am looking into swimming lessons, but I’ve realised all that’s a distraction. Learning how to slide a car on the throttle, and maintaining a perfect sideways arc of travel is my number one goal for 2013.
I spent ages trying to do what this video shows at slow speed in new Boxster, old Cayman R and 991 Carrera S yesterday. I can catch the kick plate slide OK, but struggle to make the car drift after that. The professionals make it look easy, but remaking the wiring from your brain through your survival instinct to the hands and throttle foot is complicated. I’m excited about learning how to do this.