Porsche recently announced its latest Experience Centre: in China, at the Shanghai International Circuit. It’s the first ‘Experience’ site in Asia and joins existing centres at Leipzig and Silverstone.
Early Porsche experiences were gained on uncrowded roads of the time. Young Ferry Porsche would routinely borrow prototypes from the various factories his father worked at and check his times versus racing drivers, until dad eventually decided that number one son was getting too quick for comfort.
Despite the competition ban, Ferry Porsche’s story is packed with epic drives. Young Porsche had many point-to-point records and routinely tried to break them. From their post-war base in Zell am See, Austria, Ferry and team tested Porsche prototypes on Austrian mountain roads including the Grossglockner and 1-in-3 Katschberg passes, until they knew they had a winner.
Driving a Porsche through Austria is always an event. Like a dog in a car sniffing air vents close to home, the Porsche seems to sniff out the roads of its ancestors. As the mountains of Austria were meant to be driven, and Porsches were literally born here, there is no better treat for a true Porsche enthusiast than to hit the road home to the Alps. Here’s mine in the mountains:
In the Pinzgau Valley, north of Zell am See, is Saalfelden and its driver training circuit. Other manufacturers and drift clubs use the track for their events, but Porsches seem most at home. Hotel Brandlhof is also nearby, with its famous poacher’s supper. Ferry’s love of terriers and hunting is never far away in Zell am See.
Here’s a great video, featuring Walter on the Saalfelden course in Zell am See with an iPhone-wielding journalist. This is the Röhrl we all love: confident, happy, relaxed. And thrashing the nuts off a Porsche, in the greatest of family traditions.