Experience All Porsche Has to Offer Firsthand, Including Fast Driving and Fine Dining
The fast lane.
- Written byKara Mickelson
- Photography courtesy ofPorsche
As we head toward the end of the year, it’s time to take your foot off the brake. Seriously, dust off the bucket list and add a few check marks. The saying “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all” encourages us to get out of our comfort zone and make memories beyond the mundane aspects of daily life.
For South Bay residents, an adventure of this kind is right next door. The Porsche Experience Center (PECLA), a 53-acre complex in Carson, offers high-adrenaline driving, coffee culture and elegant trackside dining.
The PECLA is a destination where customers and car aficionados have the opportunity to experience the Porsche brand up close. The driver development track consists of eight modules, including a “wetted track” designed to simulate everyday driving conditions and the thrill of driving a Porsche sports car.
If you are already a Porsche owner, booking a track experience is a way to get more familiar with your vehicle and improve your driving skills. The Porsche owner experience includes a personalized driving coach in a lead-follow format. While not all Porsches are suited to the track, they also have an extensive fleet to test drive, including the 911, Panamera, 718 Boxster, 718 Cayman, Macan, Cayenne and Taycan models.
For Porsche devotees, the on-track experience is just one way to connect with the brand. You can also join a local Porsche Club of America chapter. Victoria Varon, Porsche Club of America Vineyard Region president, has planned club events at the center and improved her driving skills on the track and on simulators. Even her mother, a Porsche owner, signed up for a driving experience to enhance her behind-the-wheel skills.
The good news is you don’t have to be a Porsche owner to book a driving experience or immerse yourself in the Porsche culture. The PECLA is open to the public and includes several driver experiences, meeting and special event space, a gallery space with rotating vehicles from the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, a studio for private design consultations, the casual Speedster Café and the fine-dining Restaurant 917 with a view of the track.
Four drive sessions and two demonstration lap sessions are available Tuesdays through Saturdays. The driver development track includes eight modules, or courses, to test driver and vehicle limits. At the acceleration straight, drivers can experience a replica of the Karussell, the famous banked curve on the Nordschleife track at the Nürburgring, a sports complex in Germany.
The kickplate course simulates a loss of wheel traction; the 7% slope on the ice hill creates precarious winter road conditions. The handling circuit replicates dynamic country roads to test skills in braking and negotiating corners. There is also a low-friction circle course, an off-road course including 45% declines and ascents, a low-friction handling course with dry polished concrete surface and curves, and a dynamic area course to show how to navigate through dry traction.
Every third Sunday, the “Morning Shift” is back from 9 to 11 a.m. It’s free, and so is the coffee. On a first-come, first-served basis, you can purchase a Demonstration Lap experience for $120. After you buckle up in the passenger seat, a Porsche driving coach takes you for a ride on the 1.3-mile handling circuit. Or book a 30- or 60-minute simulator experience to perfect your driving skills on iconic world-class tracks like Monaco, Le Mans and Daytona before lunch at Restaurant 917.
For the real adrenaline-fueled deal, get behind the wheel with a customizable driver experience that may be booked online. Single-session experiences start at $450 and up, depending on the vehicle and experience selected. Porsche Academy is the most comprehensive professional level training, including a dedicated coach, on-track exercises and four sessions that can be scheduled within 60 days. Packages range from $4,600 and up.
For younger drivers, the Porsche Driver Experience focuses on safety and education beyond the basics. Part classroom instruction and part on-track instruction—including a driving coach—this gives young drivers real-world experience with the 911 and Taycan for less than $900.
While day-to-day in the fast lane might have the opposite effect of calming your nerves, there are times when you need to leave it all on the track, so to speak. The Porsche Experience Center fuels your adventurous spirit and creates a safe environment to satisfy your inner racer.