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

Is this a BMW M4 CSL? New hardcore M Division model ready to take on the 911 GT3
BMW M4 CSL spy 2021 – nose
BMW M4 coupe

Is this a BMW M4 CSL? New hardcore M Division model ready to take on the 911 GT3

It doesn’t matter what this hardcore M4 will be called, because it’s going to hit hard when it arrives next year
15 Sep 2021
New 992 Porsche 911 GT3 RS spied testing with new details
992 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 2021
Porsche 911 GT3 RS coupe

New 992 Porsche 911 GT3 RS spied testing with new details

Porsche’s GT division is prepping the new 992 GT3 RS and our spy photographers have spotted it on track
15 Sep 2021
2022 Nissan GT-R model year update revealed
MY22 Nissan GT-R T-spec – front quarter
Nissan GT-R

2022 Nissan GT-R model year update revealed

Two new special editions and the return of some iconic colours are the highlights of the Nissan GT-R’s MY22 update
14 Sep 2021
New Aston Martin Vantage ‘AMR’ spied – V12 power to take on 911 Turbo S
Aston Martin Vantage mule – 2
Aston Martin Vantage

New Aston Martin Vantage ‘AMR’ spied – V12 power to take on 911 Turbo S

Aston Martin’s product offensive continues with a new hardcore Vantage headlining its sports car plans
24 Aug 2021

Most Popular

2022 Nissan GT-R model year update revealed
MY22 Nissan GT-R T-spec – front quarter
Nissan GT-R

2022 Nissan GT-R model year update revealed

Two new special editions and the return of some iconic colours are the highlights of the Nissan GT-R’s MY22 update
14 Sep 2021
A dead Ferrari F40 in Switzerland – evo Archive
Ferrari F40
Ferrari F40

A dead Ferrari F40 in Switzerland – evo Archive

The story of a Ferrari F40, a flat battery, Swiss chocolate and sex toys…
7 Sep 2021
Tesla Model S Plaid breaks EV Nürburgring record – beats Porsche Taycan Turbo
Tesla Model S Plaid
Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S Plaid breaks EV Nürburgring record – beats Porsche Taycan Turbo

Tesla has now recorded a Nürburgring lap time with its Model S Plaid, if that matters
10 Sep 2021