UPDATE: We've udpated this post as of 7/24/2014 with new dates, venues and information.
“Oh-my-God OhOhOh, I don’t think I can do this!!” screamed my driving companion as she pointed the 2013 Panamera GTS to exit the infield track and onto the big oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Entering the 24 degree banking from the Turn 12 kink at about 70 mph, Lisa was already lagging the group and the instructor, who were now through Turn 2 and heading down the back straight.
“Step on it, step on it, you can do this!” I was shouting, but I didn’t need to; the Panamera is stealthy fast and deathly quiet. Except for the engine sounds piped into the cabin, reminding us that this was a Porsche. And as we flew along the banking at 130 mph, I could see her grin with relief and accomplishment.
We pulled into the pits, right behind the 3 other cars now coasting to a halt. “I did it,” Lisa said with a satisfied smile. “I did it!” Yup: van-driving soccer mom Lisa did all right after all!
About 70 people gathered in the infield courtesy tent prior to our 3 hour session of activities. Cass Whitehead, lead instructor, oriented our group and gave us an overview of the three different stages we would all participate in:
1. A hot lap on the 12 turn sports car course in a Panamera GTS, a Carrera, and a Carrera S;
2. Several laps around an infield Karting course in the new Boxster S;
3. Acceleration and braking comparisons of the Cayenne S and Cayenne hybrid, as well as the Panamera S and Panamera hybrid on an infield oval.
Whitehead also introduced us to the other 9 instructors and split us into three groups. Finally he encouraged us to “use spirited driving” and test the capabilities of the 2013 lineup of Porsches. “Enough said – let’s go!” I thought.
Our group was first to try the sports car course, whose 12 turns incorporate the 1.5 mile oval used in Sprint Cup racing. Cars were equipped with PDK, which allowed us to focus on going fast but staying on the track.
My impressions? The Carrera was a bit docile but a smooth and responsive runner. The Carrera S was a definite step up and very quick in steering, braking, and acceleration. But the Panamera GTS – what a hotrod! Everyone in our group was similarly impressed. Its size and mass are deceiving – it’s a very fast and smoothly driving car, even at 130 mph. Rock steady.
Our next stage compared acceleration and braking capabilities of the 6-cyliinder hybrid Cayenne and Panamera against their S counterparts. As predicted, we were all impressed with the hybrids’ superior low-range torque and acceleration ability.
But we were here to tear up some track. With this thought in mind, our group eagerly transitioned to the Karting course and some hop laps in a Boxster S. Those of us not in a course car played with the controls of a trackside model. Yes, the new top opens and closes in 9 seconds, and at speeds up to 31 mph. I know – we tried it!
Several new models were displayed by the courtesy tent and attracted continued conversation even after our session was over. Their quality of construction, fit, and finish was evident both at rest and under track conditions. Whitehead had initially commented at our orientation: “Performance has to be there for Porsche.” We all left with that distinct impression.
What is the Porsche World Road Show?
It's a day full of roaring engines, squealing tires, and wonder. These events are designed to give both enthusiasts and those shopping for a new Porsche the opportunity to sample a significant portion of the model range in an environment designed to show their true capabilities. The invite only event takes place over the full course of a day and is led by the same team of instructors you'll find at the Porsche Sports Driving School. For 2013, Porsche just released the new schedule and it includes 10 stops around the country.
How You Can Attend One
The best advice we can give you to get an invitation is to start working with your local dealer now. I was shopping a Cayenne, and my local dealership invited me to go (which worked out for them as I ended up buying the Cayenne). And so I did. If you don't currently have a relationship with a Porsche dealer, build one! Visit this site to locate your nearest dealer and set an appointment to look at a new Porsche. I don't know about you, but I'm constantly kicking tires at the dealership. Creating this relationship shows you have interest in the brand and possibly buying a new Porsche (even if it's a distant possibility). From there, you could casually mention the Porsche World Road Show and how you would really like to see the true capabilities of the Porsche you're interested in. If the dealer thinks you're a serious candidate then chances are you'll get yourself an invite.
The 2014 Porsche World Road Show Schedule
There are 10 events in 2014 starting in July at the Autobahn Country Club in the Chicago area.
• Chicago Area – Autobahn Country Club -this event has already taken place
• Detroit Area – Ford Proving Grounds - this event has already taken place
• New York – Monticello Motor Club - July 31-Aug 3
• New Jersey/Philadelphia – New Jersey Motorsports Park - Aug 8 - 10
• Central Florida – Walt Disney World Speedway - Sep 5 -7
• Washington DC/Baltimore - Summit Point Motorsports Park - Sep 19-21
• Houston – MSR Houston - Sep 26-28
• Seattle – The Ridge Motorsports Park - Oct 17-19
• Southern California - Auto Club Speedway - Oct 28-31
• San Francisco - Alameda Point - Nov 7-9
Other Porsche Blog Posts You Will Enjoy
What it Was Like to Participate in The Porsche Winter Driving Experience at Sugarbush Resort, VT
5 Things I Learned at the Porsche Sport Driving School
How Much Does it Cost and What’s it Like to Participate in Porsche’s Camp4 Canda? [Video]
Michelin Tire School. What Is It and Why Did We Go?