While the grand opening of the Porsche Experience Center in LA is still a few weeks away (we're going out by invitation from Porsche), Porsche is using the time between now and then as a "soft opening" (the first day open to the public was October 28th). Everything you could want to do is ready and open for business (restaurants, track, simulators, etc.) it's just that they'll use this time to work out any "kinks" and it's possible, although not likely as word spreads, that it may not be as busy as it will be after the official grand opening ceremonies.
California is a big state and home to Porsche's largest single market in the U.S. As such, it's only fitting that everything about their newest experience center is just a little bit bigger than the original in Atlanta. As the new home to Porsche Motorsport North America, the complex sits on a 53 acres parcel with 50,000 square feet of event spaces, dining options, driving simulators, retail store and more (as compared to a much smaller parcel and a 40,000 square foot building in Atlanta).
The track in LA is considerably larger/longer than the one 1.3 mile handling circuit in Atlanta. Like Atlanta, facilities include a Handling Circuit, a Kickplate, a Low Friction Circle and an Off-Road Course. However, unlike Atlanta, the Porsche's LA Experience Center offers two additional driving attractions:
- The Acceleration Straight: According to Porsche this "provides a safe and controlled environment to fully explore how a Porsche accelerates using launch control with an added twist. Near the end of the nearly 3/4 mile straight, a replica of the Karussell (Carousel), the famous banked curve on the Nordschleife (North Loop) of the Nürburgring, is awaiting for your enthralling g-force experience."
- The Ice Hill: "A 7% slope, computer-controlled water jets and a low friction surface combine to create a unique and challenging scenario to test even the most experienced of drivers."
I can't wait to try these out!
The Venue Itself
The Porsche Experience Center Los Angeles shares its 50,000 square foot building with the headquarters of Porsche Motorsports North America (PMNA). In it, you'll find floor to ceiling glass windows showcasing the PMNA workshop and a behind-the-scenes view of how Porsche supports their race teams from a factory/corporate level.
In addition to the PMNA workshop, visitors will find 8 different meeting rooms that can handle groups as small as 4 and as large as 160. Each of which are available to be booked for your next corporate meeting or sales pitch.
Dining Options at Porsche Experience Center LA
Atlanta has Restaurant 356, Los Angelas has Restaurant 917. We have yet to experience the food at the LA PEC, but the food in Atlanta was exceptional so we expect this will be too. According to Porsche,
"Restaurant 917 offers fine-dining as another way to enjoy an already unforgettable day. Our classically trained chef and staff maintain a regularly updated menu to offer the best in both traditional and fusion style cuisine, which is available for lunch and dinner. The menu provides healthy, wholesome, and modern dishes that can be accommodated to meet any guest's special requests. The 917 offers uninterrupted views of track as well as a private dining room that is available to rent for your exclusive event. Whether you are dining or enjoying a cocktail at the bar, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience."
Right now, this is one of your best ways to get in and see the whole center. As of today, Lunch is served Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 to 3:00PM and dinner is Served Thursday through Saturday from 5:30 to 8:30PM. Check out the menu here or make a reservation on Open Table.
And, Like Atlanta's Carrera Cafe, LA offers visitors the Speedster Cafe. Porsche says,
"the Speedster Café satisfies with a delicious Starbucks® coffee or tasty snack. The Café serves a variety of hot and cold non-alcoholic drinks along with a list of more seasonal offerings. A variety of pastries, sandwiches, salads and snacks will be available for you to enjoy."
We've been told a coffee is $7 bucks, but then again it is Starbuck and this is Porsche!
How and When to Visit
While reservations aren't technically necessary, you'll do yourself a favor by making one as Porsche says on demand access can't be guaranteed. So, if you want to go and check out Porsche's newest Experience Center in LA, you can book a driving experience, make a dinner reservation or book some time on a simulator. A 30 minute session on the simulator is $35 bucks and from our experience in Atlanta seems to be well worth it. Not only does it get you access to the entire facility, you can race against others or yourself on a top-line simulator driving the Porsche and track of your choice.
Check out More Candid Pictures
While we hope to have lots of coverage in a few weeks when we go out for the grand opening, right now we can offer you these images. Shot by our friend and site sponsor, Wayne Dempsey of Pelican Parts, this thread offers a number of candid shots of what Wayne found when he visited the first day PECLA opened to the public on October 28th.