This morning Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) announced that the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta (PEC) will be opening a second driver development track to the public. Opening on April 1st, this second track, which has been designed by Tilke, will effectively be doubling the length of the existing driver development course.
Offering 90 minute driving experiences in Porsche sports cars with one on one instruction from a Porsche Drive Coach, the new track can be driven on its own or in combination with the existing track and adds features inspired by some of the world’s best roads and racing turns. This project is the cornerstone of a multi-million dollar investment in further developing the headquartering campus of PCNA.
Open to the public, including both owners and non-Porsche owners, the PEC is quite the sought after destination. While they do offer thrilling drives for visitors, it’s about so much more. On offer is a gallery with classic Porsche vehicles, a retail shop and even fine dining at Restaurant 356. With proximity to the world’s busiest airport, approximately 80 percent of the US population can reach PEC with only two and a half hours of flying time and with the Kimpton Overland Hotel right next door, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t come visit.
Kjell Gruner, President and CEO of PCNA, had this to say about the second track opening, “We’re thrilled to expand our US headquarters with a new track that delivers exhilarating driving experiences in Porsche sports car. We have called Atlanta home for 25 years and this ribbon cutting will help mark that anniversary in the most exciting way possible, underlining our continued investment in Atlanta and the local community. It’s been a fulfilling journey to bring this track to life, with inspiration drawn from several iconic race tracks, such as the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, Daytona and Laguna Seca. Intended to allow guests to take our sports cars to the next level, the track will offer even more dynamic driving than its sister track and serve as a new brand experience for the public.”
There are four instructor led driving modules offered at the new 1.3 mile driver development track:
Low-Friction Circle: This allows drivers to experience the understeer and oversteer characteristics of the Porsche on a wet, polished concrete surface which is over 196 feet in diameter. The objective is to teach guests how to manage grip levels, identify and recover from under and oversteer, maintain forward vision and improve hand-over-hand steering technique.
Ice Hill: The ice hill is pretty much what you would expect from the name. It simulates an icy mountain road where a driver could likely lose control going up or down. It has an 8 percent slope, computer controlled water jets and a low friction polished surface, providing a unique and challenging scenario that will test even the most experienced drivers. The objective here is to identify and correct the under and oversteer of a vehicle, learn weight transfer, proper lane change and brake application.
Autocross Area: Located and arranged on a large paved area, the Autocross Area will have drivers navigating through slaloms, acceleration zones and cone obstacles. The object is for drivers to develop the right vision and steering technique. This includes the identification and correction of under and oversteer, experience lateral and longitudinal load changes and acclimate to changing vehicle dynamics that come with increased speed.
Handling Circuit: This is where you see the majesty of the new track, a 1.3 mile motorsports inspired driving circuit with elements influenced by the Carousel from Germany’s Nürburgring-Nordschleife, the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca with a raise of 30 feet and drop of 25 feet through approaching and descending turns and finally the twists and challenges of one of North America’s most iconic driving roads, Tail of the Dragon on the Smoky Mountains. The object is to teach drivers proper braking technique, how to choose the correct line when navigating tight curves and corners, forward vision, progressive steering, smooth pedal application and release as well as how to minimize load changes and anticipation of the car’s reactions.
The expansion will operate independently from the existing track, but the two layouts can be combined from an overall main handling circuit of 2.3 miles and up to 2.9 miles when all track surfaces are utilized.
“As a team we’ve watched with growing excitement as the track has taken shape,” Michelle Rainey, Director, Porsche Experience, said. “This tracks sets new benchmarks in driver development, and will offer an incredible experience for first time visitors as well as those more familiar with track driving. It represents a real workout for both the driver and the cars – with elevation changes and relentless action. Every one of us is looking forward to April and welcoming our first customers.”
For more information on the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, you can visit porschedriving.com/atlanta.
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