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

New 992 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring revealed – now available in manual and PDK
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring – rear profile
Porsche 911 GT3

New 992 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring revealed – now available in manual and PDK

The Touring pack has returned, combining the 992 GT3’s set-up with more understated looks
15 Jun 2021
The curious case of the missing Porsche 911 GT3 – evo Archive
The curious case of the missing 911 GT3
Porsche 911 GT3

The curious case of the missing Porsche 911 GT3 – evo Archive

The keen-eyed will have noticed a mysterious empty spot on the cover of the 2006 evo Car of the Year issue. Henry Catchpole reveals all
18 May 2021
Porsche 911 GT3 2021 review – has the 992-gen now peaked?
992 Porsche 911 GT3 front
Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche 911 GT3 2021 review – has the 992-gen now peaked?

Few cars have higher expectations than an all-new 911 GT3 and the new 992 hasn't disappointed, but we'll need more time with it on-road to get a true …
20 Apr 2021
New 992 Porsche 911 GT3 revealed – a McLaren 600LT killer
Porsche 911 GT3 NA
Porsche 911 GT3

New 992 Porsche 911 GT3 revealed – a McLaren 600LT killer

Motorsport technology to define new Porsche 911 GT3
6 Apr 2021

Most Popular

New 992 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring revealed – now available in manual and PDK
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring – rear profile
Porsche 911 GT3

New 992 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring revealed – now available in manual and PDK

The Touring pack has returned, combining the 992 GT3’s set-up with more understated looks
15 Jun 2021
BMW M5 CS 2021 review – a class act that reaffirms the M division’s brilliance
BMW M5 CS – front cornering
BMW M5 saloon

BMW M5 CS 2021 review – a class act that reaffirms the M division’s brilliance

Nonsensical on paper, but sublime in practice. Never has a modern supersaloon been more tactile or more engaging
14 Jun 2021
The reluctant LaFerrari driver – evo archive
evo archive – LaFerrari truck extraction – stop!
Ferrari

The reluctant LaFerrari driver – evo archive

How do you get a £1million hypercar out of the back of a delivery truck? Very, very, slowly…
15 Jun 2021
Updated in-line six Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door revealed – hybrid V8s still to come
Mercedes-AMG GT53 MY22 – front tracking
Mercedes

Updated in-line six Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door revealed – hybrid V8s still to come

GT43 and GT53 4-Doors receive a refresh while we await the arrival of the V8 hybrid GT73
14 Jun 2021
Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition 2021 review – a 720bhp tribute act
Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition – slide
Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition 2021 review – a 720bhp tribute act

Immense performance from about the coolest modern muscle car out there. It’s expensive, but there’s nothing else quite like it
12 Jun 2021
MAT Stratos 2021 review – Lancia’s iconic Stratos reborn
MAT Stratos – front tracking
Lancia

MAT Stratos 2021 review – Lancia’s iconic Stratos reborn

It’s been a long time coming, but this Ferrari F430-based reimagining of the Lancia Stratos is finally here
11 Jun 2021
2021 Audi RS3 Sportback and saloon previewed – will it finally match Mercedes-AMG A45 S?
Audi RS3 manufacturer spy 1
Audi RS3

2021 Audi RS3 Sportback and saloon previewed – will it finally match Mercedes-AMG A45 S?

Audi Sport is putting the final touches on its new RS3 hot hatch and saloon
10 Jun 2021
Tesla Model S Plaid deliveries begin – 1006bhp super saloon now reaching customers
Tesla Model S Plaid
Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S Plaid deliveries begin – 1006bhp super saloon now reaching customers

The long-awaited Tesla Model S Plaid has finally come to fruition, with first US examples hitting the road
11 Jun 2021
Next generation BMW 7-series spied – flagship saloon to once again set the tone for future models
Next generation BMW 7-series spied – front quarter
BMW 7 Series

Next generation BMW 7-series spied – flagship saloon to once again set the tone for future models

All-new saloon to feature IC and EV powertrains, but once again it’ll also lead the way aesthetically
16 Jun 2021
GTO Engineering Squalo interior sketches revealed – new-build Ferrari 250 GTO hommage draws closer
GTO Engineering interior
Ferrari

GTO Engineering Squalo interior sketches revealed – new-build Ferrari 250 GTO hommage draws closer

New details, including the interior, have been revealed about the GTO Engineering Squalo
15 Jun 2021
Posaidon’s 217mph Mercedes-AMG E63 RS is faster than a Porsche 918 Spyder
Posaidon Mercedes-AMG E63
Mercedes E63 AMG

Posaidon’s 217mph Mercedes-AMG E63 RS is faster than a Porsche 918 Spyder

Three new Posaidon power upgrades are now available for Mercedes-AMG’s E63 S, bringing hypercar numbers to the four door supersaloon
9 Jun 2021
Used car deals of the week
Used car deals 11 June 21
used cars

Used car deals of the week

Here's what caught evo’s fancy this week on the second hand car market
11 Jun 2021
Can the Renault Clio Trophy beat a modern supersaloon for daily transport?
Jethro opinion header
Opinion

Can the Renault Clio Trophy beat a modern supersaloon for daily transport?

The boot struts have gone saggy and the hatch slams onto my head three times a week, but the Clio Trophy is hard to resist
8 Jun 2021
Forza Horizon 5 confirmed for November 2021 – open-world driving game heads to Mexico
Forza Horizon 5
videogames

Forza Horizon 5 confirmed for November 2021 – open-world driving game heads to Mexico

The open-world Forza Horizon series has become a go-to for car fans, and its fifth installment is just around the corner
15 Jun 2021