We've all seen examples of people that own performance cars but have no discernible motoring skills with which to take full advantage of their potential. That may change for Porsche drivers in the UK who are willing to learn a thing or two at automaker's new 'Driving Experience Centre' being built next to the famous Silverstone circuit. The school will ensure that new owners get well acquainted with the handling and performance characteristics of their cars.
The new center will incorporate a 3.1km test track that can be split up in four separate areas. Those, in turn, can be used individually to demonstrate different road conditions. Apart from the usual dry/wet testing, drivers will be able to simulate handling in ice and snow. Testing technologies to be featured include a 'kick plate' and split-surface wet braking. The kick plate is particularly special – it's a metal plate that sits flush with the surface of the track and can be activated when a car passes over it, causing it to lose rear grip.
Both Mercedes and Audi have opened large brand centers in the UK such as the type Porsche will be building, complete with vehicle testing tracks and other branding facilities. It's not just the owners of luxo vehicles who require these elaborate centers. We come across lots of people on our daily commute who could do with some extra training.
Porsche Driving Experience Centre Takes Shape at Silverstone
A groundbreaking ceremony this week marked the first steps by Porsche Cars Great Britain towards the construction of its all-new driver training facility adjacent to the famous Silverstone Grand Prix circuit in Northamptonshire.
Once completed, the world-class training facility, named the 'Porsche Driving Experience Centre', will allow 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 and stability systems of their cars.
Andy Goss, Managing Director, Porsche Cars Great Britain, commented; "After a long search for a venue for this exciting development, we are pleased to have found such enthusiastic partners in the BRDC and Silverstone Circuits. We are all looking forward to the venue opening next summer and the opportunity to showcase the engine performance and chassis dynamics which differentiate a Porsche from its rivals."
Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, said; "We are delighted that work has started on the Porsche Driving Experience Centre, the first phase of the Silverstone Masterplan, and look forward to watching the Centre and the track develop over the coming months."
The Porsche Driving Experience Centre will offer 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.
One example of the high technology that has been integrated into the Porsche Driving Experience Centre is the so-called 'kick-plate'. Taking the form of a moveable metal plate set flush with the road surface it is designed to be triggered remotely as a car travels overhead, thereby generating the effect a loss of rear wheel traction has to demonstrate the stability systems and illustrate to the driver appropriate reactions.
Further insight will be provided by the split-surface wet braking facility, which demonstrates the stability under braking that is possible in a Porsche car – even when two wheels are running on the equivalent of sheet ice.
The bespoke Centre building features distinctive Porsche architectural cues on the outside, but under the skin utilises latest developments in geothermic heat extraction and heat recovery systems that significantly lower its power demands, and hence its environmental impact.
The Porsche Driving Experience Centre will house reception and display areas, a restaurant and an innovative Human Performance Centre. This will offer fitness assessments and instruction in techniques aimed at improving stamina, co-ordination and reaction times for drivers of all levels. Visitors will be able to see the entire Porsche facility from a roof top platform offering panoramic views.