Feature: Porsche Unleashed at the BIC

    The annual Porsche Experience is a day of driving Porsches around a race track, and being encouraged to go faster:

    Published On Apr 09, 2024 08:00:00 AM

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    Feature: Porsche Unleashed at the BIC

    For the past few years, the Porsche Experience has been one of those events that auto journos froth at the mouth for. Why wouldn’t they?  This mega event set up for Porsche’s customers, prospects and the media lets you get behind the wheel of Porsche’s finest on a race track with a gymkhana setup and a drift pad too. This year though, was a tad more special for one singular reason – the 911 GT3 RS. The unicorn that even some millionaires can’t seem to get their hands on, was available for a blast around the Buddh International Circuit. And that wasn’t all. If the GT3 RS was the dessert, the line-up was quite the spread.

    In order of docile to aggressive, there was a fleet of Taycans with a GTS, Turbo S and a Cross Turismo; the Cross in a superb Johnny FPV livery. Then there was the 911 Carrera S cabriolet used as an instructor prop and practice run car, and topping it off were the heavyweights with the 718 Cayman GT4 RS, 911 Turbo S and of course, the GT3 RS. 

    Drift pad with a 500hp RWD car; Tokyo Drift feels.

    A quick driver’s briefing later, we headed to the slalom course first. Some cones and an empty parking lot is all a great gymkhana setup needs. We’re in the 911 Carrera S, which, being RWD, was a whole lot of drama with the rear-end snapping after every twist of the steering. 

    Next was the drift pad, which looked a lot easier with the instructors behind the wheel. Weapon of choice was the hardcore 718 Cayman GT4 RS: 500hp and RWD. In theory, it should have been a cakewalk. However, the sticky 

    tyres and massive grip levels meant it would need a sharp jab to the accelerator to kick the rear out, and then enough hand-eye coordination to prevent you from losing the front. Multiple tries later, I could finally hit one flick that was enough to get a shot worthy of boasting on Instagram.

    Driving tips 101 had the class’ full attention.

    Now, while all this was underway, there was the constant soundtrack of the GT3 RS being wrung around the track and I couldn’t wait to see how Narain Karthikeyan managed to break the two-minute barrier with a car that makes 200hp less than the previous record holder. 

    Skipping lunch to get as much track time and ensure no one got queasy inside, we were nudged to try out the Taycans first. As we crawled in the pit lane, there was a clear void with the missing exhaust. When you have a helmet on, a full-fledged racetrack and the Porsche crest on the steering, you expect the rumble of an exhaust, but in the Taycan, you can almost hear the birds tweeting on the timing board. However, step on the accelerator, and there’s a lot to be excited about. The instant power delivery and manic speed is impressive, but the way it manages its weight around corners is phenomenal. Sure, they aren’t the most engaging cars in the line-up, but they surely can hold their own. However, getting in the GT3 RS was like going from a suave lounge into a high performance gym.

    Not as exciting as the ICE cars but still plenty fun.

    One lap, even at mediocre speed, is enough to reveal just how much cornering grip is on offer and it’s simply impossible to escape the aero. With DRS engaged it blurred past 230kph on the back straight, and I could carry much of that into the fast right-hander thanks to the downforce on offer. It was an unbelievably satisfying experience hitting almost every apex at the right spot. Getting into the pits was bittersweet, especially when you’ve had the best track laps of your life, and the feeling that you might never drive this car in this way again. But the fact that I did, especially when there’s a line of struggling prospects, made the Porsche Experience 2024 a very special memory.  

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