(from Porsche press
release) Porsche Driving Experience Centre Revs Up
Porsche this week officially opens its Driving Experience Centre
adjacent to the famous Silverstone Grand Prix circuit in
Northamptonshire. The world-class centre allows every customer of a
new Porsche in the UK and Ireland to receive expert tuition in their
driving skills as well as the performance capabilities of their car
as part of their purchase experience.
Advances in modern automotive engineering and design mean today’s
sports cars are more efficient, safer, faster and more complex than
ever before. The level to which a driver understands the engine and
chassis control systems on their car not only makes them a
responsible road user, but also ultimately determines their overall
level of driving satisfaction as well – and it is the thoroughbred
nature of the driving experience which distinguishes a Porsche.
One of the core philosophies of the Porsche research and development
development team at Weissach, Germany, is to develop Porsche
specific technology that enhances the connection between the driver,
the car and the road. The new Driving Experience Centre at
Silverstone offers Porsche customers with the opportunity to really
understand the practical benefits of this engineering integrity that
is the foundation of every Porsche.
The Porsche Driving Experience Centre aims to build on these
principles of driving safety and driving enjoyment by providing a
formal, yet fun, environment for both Porsche owners and enthusiasts
to have the opportunity to understand the engine performance and
chassis dynamics attributes which differentiate a Porsche from its
“This unique facility is a major investment for Porsche Cars GB and
it will allow us to create a unique experience for customers that
cannot be bettered in the UK market,” commented Andy Goss, Managing
Director, Porsche Cars Great Britain. “The two core themes that run
through each guest’s experience here are learning and choice.
Learning about their car and their driving, but also learning about
the world of Porsche so that they can make informed choices. Giving
every Porsche new car customer a thorough understanding of what lies
beneath the skin of their car will endorse their decision to buy the
The Porsche Driving Experience Centre offers a variety of track
configurations and surface conditions on which the potential of all
Porsche road cars can be studied, together with, uniquely, the human
performance level of drivers themselves.
With a total length of 3.1km, the track has been designed to allow
it to be split into four separate areas that can be used
independently of each other or connected together to form a longer
handling circuit. This environment will allow Porsche customers to
be instructed through a variety of different situations in wet and
dry conditions, as well as simulating ice and snow driving with the
use of specially constructed surfaces.
The variety of track environments encompasses a challenging off-road
course, around which the versatility of the Cayenne can be
demonstrated. Significant features include a 1:1 hill, a daunting
stretch of water and a drive route across a mixture of rugged
The Porsche Driving Experience Centre houses reception and display
areas, a restaurant, cinema and the innovative Human Performance
department. This leading edge sports laboratory is run by proven
specialists and is accessible to both Porsche customers and racing
drivers. Ordinarily, this type of facility would only be accessible
to elite athletes. One-to-one instruction spans fitness assessments
and guidance in techniques aimed at improving stamina, co-ordination
and reaction times for drivers of all levels.
The bespoke Centre building features distinctive Porsche
architectural cues on the outside but, like the Porsche road cars
themselves, employs the latest technology to significantly lower its
energy demands, and hence its environmental impact. Visitors can see
the entire Porsche facility from a roof top platform offering
“We have based our Driving Experience Centre at Silverstone for the
good practical reasons you would expect; location, access,
facilities and international reputation,” added Andy Goss. “However,
the relationship is uniquely special in that over the past 60 years
Porsche and Silverstone have both stayed within their original
ownership and remain fiercely independent.”
Porsche Driving Experience Centre,
Silverstone – in detail
The Porsche Driving
Experience Centre, Silverstone, has been devised to enable drivers
to consciously develop their driving skills, understand in detail
the performance capabilities and safety systems of their cars and
ultimately derive even greater enjoyment from their Porsche.
A world-class training facility, the Porsche Driving Experience
Centre occupies a 10.2 hectare plot adjacent to the famous
Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, near Towcester, in Northamptonshire.
Porsche Cars GB first started offering circuit-based driver
development in the mid-70s to support the introduction of the
3.0-litre 911 Turbo. Since then, the Porsche Driving Experience
programme has evolved to the point where over 7,500 owners
participated in the past 12 months.
The Porsche Driving Experience is a graduated programme that within
each level covers the cornerstones of all driving: a sound knowledge
of the principles of car control, defensive driving (the art of
avoiding preventable accidents) and advanced driving techniques.
The programme has been developed by Porsche specifically to meet the
demanding requirements of Porsche drivers. The Porsche Driving
Consultants, all professional driving experts from road, rally and
circuit backgrounds personally tutor participants. Their vehicle
appreciation skills coupled with in-depth Porsche technical training
makes them complete Porsche drivers, able to bring a new dimension
to Porsche motoring with their coaching and inside knowledge.
It is not necessary to be a particular kind of driver to enjoy the
programme. Each stage can be enjoyed by anyone wishing to improve
their driving and learn a number of practical techniques. The
emphasis is on discovering individual strengths as a driver and
learning to appreciate and use the dynamic capabilities of a Porsche
Our half day introductory course offers one-to-one training on the
facilities listed below. After a 30 minute technical briefing and a
familiarisation session on the Porsche Handling Circuit you will
experience driving the Kick Plate, Ice Hill and Low Friction
Handling Circuit. You will then have the option to focus on advanced
road, track or off-road driving.
Kick Plate: a moveable metal plate set flush with the road surface
designed to be triggered remotely as a car travels overhead, thereby
generating the effect of a loss of rear wheel traction
Ice Hill: simulating sheet ice with computer controlled water jets,
this area allows drivers to explore general car control as well as
understanding the specific handling characteristics of a car
Low Friction Handling Circuit: specially formulated tarmac creating
an ideal environment where oversteer slides can be provoked,
corrected and held
Off-Road: purpose-built landscape to include steep hillclimbs and
descents, deep water and rough terrain. A challenging course to test
both driver and car
Fit to drive?
Wellness means feeling healthy, energised and vibrant. It increases
your resistance to stress, improves focus and enables you to enjoy
all aspects of your life to the full. A consultation with the
specialists at Porsche Human Performance helps you to assess and
more fully understand your health, lifestyle and diet - and how to
positively influence these to improve wellbeing.
Wellness assessment comprises blood glucose & cholesterol testing,
blood pressure, lung function, eyesight screening specific for
driving, reaction and co-ordination testing specifically for
driving, aerobic capacity fitness assessment, body composition
analysis and, naturally, consultation on assessment results. This
additional programme costs from £100.
Porsche Human Performance have experience working at the highest
level in world motor sport ensuring our understanding of what it
takes to succeed in this competitive environment is second to none.
For competitive drivers, improved physical conditioning enables
greater consistency of lap times, increased tolerance of extreme
environments and heightened concentration levels.
The Performance service provides motor sport specific fitness
training and laboratory assessments to ensure a driver is maximizing
their physical performance.
Fit to race?
An initial fitness
assessment with Porsche Human Performance will reveal whether you
really are fit to race! Your aerobic capacity, strength, reactions
and visual skills are rigorously tested and bench marked against top
performers to highlight areas for improvement. This more in-depth
and rigorous programme costs £349, for the initial laboratory
The annual performance package can include a personalised on-line
training programme, weekly group training sessions, laboratory
fitness assessments, 1-1 training sessions and training camps and
Porsche Driving Experience Centre,
Silverstone – Facts
Planning permission was
first granted in April 2007, and the ground-breaking ceremony
coincided with the British Grand Prix later that summer. The
facility was operational just 12 months later in time for the 2008
British Grand Prix, and hosted the launch introduction for the
second generation 911 Carrera.
The Porsche Driving Experience Centre building design was inspired
by the cloud shape cumulus nimbus, and looks like a key hole from
The Porsche test track is built on the site of the Rally of Great
Britain World Rally Championship special stage used in 1998 and
1999. The original starting gantry and Michelin cross-over bridge
have been amalgamated into the test track design.
The Porsche Driving Experience Centre occupies a 10.2 hectare plot.
With a total length of 3.1km, the track has been designed to allow
it be split into four separate areas that can be used independently
of each other or connected together to form a longer handling
The view from the roof terrace not only takes in the whole of the
Porsche test track and Porsche off-road course, but also a clear
view of Silverstone's Becketts corner, Hangar Straight, Stowe corner
and the run up to Abbey bend, which comprise most of Silverstone's
Southern circuit and half of the Grand Prix Circuit.
The building stands on the site of the aircraft hangars (hence
Hangar Straight) used for training flights by the US Air Force in
WWII and the base course of the track is made from the re-cycled
concrete of the hangar bases.
It makes perfect sense for Porsche to combine its driving experience
activity in to one venue and this location is perfect with over 70
per cent of our UK customers within a two hour drive of the
The water jets and sprinklers take no water from the mains and the
water is re-cycled.
The kick plate is 75 m long, the ice hill has a 7 % slope.
The stopping distance is at least 10 times longer on the dampened
red surfaces of the kick plate and ice hill than on dry tarmac.
Two years of research into the best proving grounds and driver
development centres around the world went into developing the unique
layout of the Porsche test tracks at Silverstone.
Proving grounds are created to develop cars. The Porsche test track
is designed to develop drivers.
Each of the five track configurations have been created with the
demonstration of Porsche technology in mind.
The low friction handling circuit was developed by Porsche and is
totally unique with polished limestone creating its slippery
A membership scheme will start in 2009 providing exclusive access,
offers and events.
Wayne Boyd, the 2008 Formula Ford Festival winner, was the first
race driver to sign up to the annual training and assessment
programme offered by the Porsche Human Performance Centre.
In the same way race car technology filters into road cars, race
driver preparation can help Porsche customers with posture and
comfort, concentration and reaction skills, improving driver
enjoyment and increasing safety.
The Porsche test track was used for two Duathlons in 2008 (2 mile
run, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run) and will host a Duathlon championship
The chef and catering staff in the on-site Panamera restaurant have
worked closely with the Porsche Human Performance team to create a
menu that is not only tasty and wholesome, but seasonal and uses
locally sourced produce.
Porsche Cars GB chose to work with JVC and BOSE enabling the Porsche
Driving Experience Centre to have fully High Definition visual
display with state of the art sound.
The Porsche Driving Experience Centre is not a retail site, but
dedicated to allowing drivers to develop their technique and further
their understanding of Porsche cars.
The Porsche Driving Experience Centre is the first phase of
Silverstone's 'master plan' for re-development and Porsche will work
closely with Silverstone to positively contribute to Silverstone's