Published on May 22nd, 2011 | by Ruth and Greg0
Racing Through The Afternoon With Porsche
Did you ever want to be a race-car driver? I can’t say that was previously one of my ambitions, but after experiencing the Porsche World Roadshow, the allure has increased. Greg and I ambled over to Candlestick Park for the San Francisco stop of the tour, not really knowing what to expect. We found ourselves zipping around a motocross constructed in the parking lot with a racing instructor from Alabama-based Porsche Driving School in the passenger seat, cheering on accelerations and encouraging us to shift our focus from the current curve (Eep!) to the curve ahead.
Before hopping into the cars, we all sat down to some preliminary instruction. The room was made up primarily of men, most already Porsche enthusiasts. I sat hoping that preliminary knowledge wasn’t a pre-requisite, since the last time I contemplated how fast I could really take a curve was back in high school before we realized we were mortal. A handsome instructor from the Alabama school who has been a driving pro for 23 years started a Power Point with “the B word” – brake. The faster you go, the harder you have to brake. When you’re braking the ability to turn is limited, so you have to balance your braking and your turning- straight steering wheel, you can brake a lot. A turned steering wheel, less brake. Simple concept, but hard to keep track of behind the wheel. (I got to experience this on the motocross when I stepped on the brake a bit too hard while turning and took out a couple of cones, much to the amusement and delight of the other waiting drivers. )
After the motocross, our group sauntered over to a one-mile course and hopped into a new fleet. Greg and I got to ride together on this one, all of the cars lined up like ducklings following the instructor around the track. As I hopped behind the wheel I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but somehow when I was settled into the bucket seat with the helmet making me feel official, I wanted the car in front of me to go faster, and actually had to hold back to keep from tailing it. (“Safety first,” they drilled into us.)
I didn’t expect to be able to feel the difference between the cars. We had the chance to drive eight different models, including a Boxster, a Boxster S and a Cayman. The Cayman felt distinctly different from the Boxters- stepping on the gas you can feel the power begging to be freed. Several Porsche representatives warned us that we might be addicted after driving the cars for the afternoon, but the thought of how many speeding tickets I’d accrue in the company of one of them has lessened the withdrawal symptoms greatly.
Part of the appeal of a race car is the fantasy of speed. As I try to place it into the reality of SF streets, the lovely dream begins to crumble. It was great to take these cars out on the track and see what they could do, a nice break from the highways and crowded streets and parallel parking. Unlike some of the folks we met, a few of whom were long-time- multi-car owners, we aren’t quite ready to make the investment yet. But we strongly encourage anyone interested in cars to check out the Porsche World Roadshow when it comes to your area, or try your hand at the Sport Driving School at Barber Motorsport Park.