Learning car control in a 911 GT3 at the Porsche Experience Centre

evo spends a day at the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone

I’m leering over a Porsche RS Spyder but it might as well be a smelly old RS Fiesta. What’s more, the duck-tailed 2.7 RS I passed by on the way in from the car park is merely a distant memory, and as for the newly minted turbocharged Carrera in the adjacent room, well, frankly I couldn’t give a toss.

No, the car to which my imagination is so firmly shackled is a Sapphire Blue GT3 sitting outside in the icy drizzle. How so? Because it’s the only one of these wonderful cars I’ll actually be driving today, and also because it is a Porsche 991 GT3, arguably the finest sports car of an era peppered with memorable machinery. I’ve never driven one before, so you’ll appreciate that my brain chemistry is in a state of agitation.

Affording us this opportunity is Porsche’s Silverstone Experience Centre – part boot camp for anyone who takes driving seriously and part duty of care to new owners who may need a gentle introduction to the world of big power outputs. We’re going to try out almost everything it has to offer – the low-friction skidpan, the kick plate, the handling circuit, the straights, and finally laps of Silverstone itself – as part of the Sport Driving School’s day-long ‘Precision’ course. The course costs a not insignificant £760, but there’s a lot of wheel twirling involved.

Built in the same pillbox style in which Porsche erects its dealerships, the centre’s nucleus overlooks the GP circuit’s Hangar Straight and some of the purpose-built tracks. Inside it’s spotlessly clean – no surprises there – and there’s a restaurant overlooking the facility that serves deliberately small but fantastically tasty portions of the healthy food you’d imagine Nick Tandy and his colleagues wolf down after a sweaty three-hour testing stint. Incidentally, the room below the restaurant is where 918 Spyder owners collect their new plug-in hybrid.

It’s a busy place, too. Whether they’re demonstrating to Macan owners how the car’s electronic brake distribution keeps everything pointing the right direction during an emergency stop, or diplomatically putting it to a wealthy novice that trail braking is a bit fiddly in a GT2 RS, uniformed driving coaches abound. They’re unfailingly friendly and come from a variety of backgrounds.

Very impressive backgrounds, in some cases. In fact I’ve already stumbled across Barry Horne, the former Carrera Cup GB champ, and, remarkably, Richard Attwood. Deploying a Le Mans winner to teach hill-hold in a diesel Cayenne really is taking a gun to a knife fight, or indeed a reliable 917 to an endurance race, isn’t it?

> Click here to go to page 2

Recommended

BMW M 50th Anniversary special previewed for the first time
BMW M 50th
BMW M4 coupe

BMW M 50th Anniversary special previewed for the first time

Think BMW M’s M3 Touring, M2 and XM were enough to celebrate the big 50? Think again…
27 Jun 2022
Porsche 911 Sport Classic debuts with Turbo power and a manual ‘box
Porsche 911 Sport Classic
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 Sport Classic debuts with Turbo power and a manual ‘box

The new 911 Sport Classic references Porsche in the 1960s, with a unique mix of powertrain and body
24 Jun 2022
New Porsche 911 GT3 RS spotted undisguised
Porsche 911 GT3 RS 2022 992 – rear quarter
Porsche 911 GT3 RS coupe

New Porsche 911 GT3 RS spotted undisguised

Big aero and bespoke bodywork are on the cards for Porsche’s next 911 GT3 RS
21 Jun 2022
Nissan Skyline GT-R R34: review
Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 - front quarter
Nissan Skyline coupe

Nissan Skyline GT-R R34: review

The last of the original Skylines and the first to be officially imported into the UK, there is no disputing the R34 GT-R’s icon status.
20 Jun 2022

Most Popular

McMurtry Spéirling fan car claims Goodwood FoS hillclimb record
McMurtry Spéirling
Electric cars

McMurtry Spéirling fan car claims Goodwood FoS hillclimb record

The McMurtry Spéirling has dethroned the Volkswagen ID R as the fastest car to complete Goodwood hillclimb
26 Jun 2022
BMW M 50th Anniversary special previewed for the first time
BMW M 50th
BMW M4 coupe

BMW M 50th Anniversary special previewed for the first time

Think BMW M’s M3 Touring, M2 and XM were enough to celebrate the big 50? Think again…
27 Jun 2022
‘It was as if Jesus himself had blessed Porsche with a new suspension system’
Jethro opinion header
Porsche

‘It was as if Jesus himself had blessed Porsche with a new suspension system’

The deifying of Porsche has left Jethro with a worrying affliction – Porsche fatigue
28 Jun 2022