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.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

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.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

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

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/news/22743/first-details-of-the-gordon-murray-automotive-t50-hypercar-revealed
News

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 hypercar revealed

A true successor to the McLaren F1, Gordon Murray Automotive has revealed more about its spectacular T.50 hypercar
10 Dec 2019
Visit/mclaren/201626/2020-mclaren-elva-further-details-of-next-ultimate-series-supercar
McLaren

2020 McLaren Elva

No roof? No worries… The McLaren Elva will be the ultimate sun-seeking supercar
12 Dec 2019
Visit/evo-car-of-the-year/202042/ecoty-2019-evo-car-of-the-year-preview
evo Car of the Year

eCoty 2019: evo Car of the Year preview

Our annual evo Car of the Year test is coming, in print and online
13 Dec 2019
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019