Not to sound sexist, (considering I am female) but how many women do you know who will undertake a high spec sports car driving experience? Me, me, me I hear you say! Ladies, this is something I highly recommend that you do, if you haven’t done so already. Even if it’s just to tick a box, to say you’ve done it or, better still, to prove to the man in your life, that you are a competent woman who knows how to drive a high-powered sports car.
I was given such a gift as a Christmas present: a ninety minutes gift experience at the respected Porsche Experience Centre based at the famous Silverstone circuit. It gave me the option of 12 months to decide when I wished to undertake the experience. So, me being me, I decided to wait for warmer weather (which the UK was fortunate to have this year).
A couple of pointers that I would suggest, should you decide to go for it: When booking your driving experience, you will be sent all the literature regarding what to do, what to wear, where to go and the choice of cars to drive, which range of course from the 911 to the Cayenne. Ladies, please take the time to read and research the cars, so you know which one is going to be best for you to drive. As this is something the Porsche team will ask you, when you book your day. It also, means you won’t be swindled into driving a car your beloved would want you to (LOL). You will be given the option to have a guest go with you, (it doesn’t have to be your loved one, but you may wish for him to share in your experience, hahaha). Make sure your guest brings a decent camera to take those snapshots and video of you play-acting at being a professional driver.
Another tip is to book a luncheon at the Centre as you are then able to build a rapport with your Porsche driving coach before you take the wheel. On what to wear, I suggest loose comfortable trousers t-shirt or top, (jacket not necessary) - a driving cap is optional depending on the look you’re trying to go for. LOL. As for the footwear; the literature says, ‘comfortable footwear’. This does not mean special driving shoes, but whatever you are comfortable driving in, be it Doc Marten’s, wedges or flats. I would say no stilettos or flip flops, as they can get caught under the pedals. Other than that, go for your chosen choice of fashion. This will prepare you for the ultimate adrenalin rush.
On your day of arrival, the Porsche team will be on hand to book you in and for you to sign your life away (AKA the standard indemnity form). You’ll be introduced to your driving instructor, and taken to your seating or luncheon area. Nick was my instructor, I gave him a 10/10 as he was friendly, made me feel totally relaxed, showed me my chosen car to alleviate any fears, and asked me what I wished to get out of the experience including which driving skills I wanted to improve; as well as giving me the health and safety pointers.
The car I had chosen to drive was a bright yellow Porsche 911 Carrera T manual. Unfortunately, I was not able to choose the colour of the car, or it would have been metallic blue! As much as this is a day for you, remember your guest has to be your professional photographer, taking shots of you getting into the car and driving onto the track. To capture your full driving experience your guest can video or photograph you from the observation balcony. As you can see my personal photographer did a wonderful job. LOL
'Women are much better listeners than men. Men think they know all about the driving techniques of every car they sit in'.
Being on the open track and driving at speeds of around 180mph on a straight and 90mph or more on a corner is sheer bliss. Nick allowed me to get used to the car and the track before stopping me and taking me through my paces. He was super encouraging, funny as hell and gave me constructive feedback on how to improve key areas, so I could have the best driving experience. I have to say, no sooner did I implement Nick’s techniques my driving improved immensely (and he felt safer in the car too). I was able to take those corners as if I were driving on a straight, at a much faster speed than previously, plus I was able to overtake another car. Yippee! Lewis Hamilton here I come, not!
As wonderful as that part was, the best bit for me was driving through the wet. If you think that is easy, think again. You will do a full 360 spin trying to drive at full speed, which puts your heart in your mouth as you try to gain control of the car - absolutely thrilling for me. Again Nick guided me on the techniques needed to drive through the wet, safely, at speed and in a straight line. I had to do this several times until I got it right but I now know what under steering and over steering are and the science behind driving on different surfaces. This is definitely something they do not teach you when learning to drive.
Before you begin, you think ninety minutes will be an eternity, but once you’ve learnt and put everything into practice, it flies by in the blink of an eye. Nick was very impressed by my ability to listen and implement what he had told me. He said "women are much better listeners than men. Men think they know all about the driving techniques of every car they sit in'. This made me chuckle. I was just pleased to have laughed my way through the entire experience, thanks to the beloved Nick.
A ninety-minute adrenaline rush it most certainly was and I can’t wait to sign up for the next stage - bring it on!
Cost approximately £300
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