Atlanta. Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) announced that the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta (PEC) will open a second driver development track to the public on April 1. The second track, designed by Tilke, effectively doubles 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. The project is a cornerstone of a multi-million dollar investment in further developing the headquarters campus of PCNA.
Open to the public, including owners and non-Porsche owners, the PEC offers thrilling drives for visitors with a full brand immersion including a gallery with classic Porsche vehicles on display, a retail shop and fine dining at Restaurant 356. With proximity to the world’s busiest airport, approximately 80 percent of the U.S. population is able to reach the PEC within two and a half hours of flying time and opt to stay at the neighboring Kimpton Overland Hotel, making it a highly-sought destination.
“We’re thrilled to expand our U.S. headquarters with a new track that delivers exhilarating driving experiences in Porsche sports cars,” said Kjell Gruner, President and CEO of PCNA. “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.”
“As a team we’ve watched with growing excitement as the track has taken shape,” said Michelle Rainey, Director, Porsche Experience. “This track 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.”
The new 1.3-mile driver development track includes four instructor-led driving modules:
• Low-Friction Circle: allows drivers to experience the understeer and oversteer characteristics of a Porsche on a wet, polished concrete surface that is over 196 feet in diameter.
• Objective: teaches guests how to manage grip levels; identify and recover from under and oversteer; maintaining forward vision; and improving hand-over-hand steering technique.
• Ice Hill: the Ice Hill simulates an icy mountain road where a driver is likely to lose control up or down the hill. It has an 8 percent slope, computer-controlled water jets and a low friction polished surface, which provides a unique and challenging scenario to test even the most experienced of drivers.
• Objective: identify and correct under and oversteer of a vehicle; learn weight transfer, proper lane change and brake application.
• Autocross Area: arranged on a large paved area, drivers will navigate through slaloms, acceleration zones and cone obstacles.
• Objective: develop the right vision and steering technique (including 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: 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 rise of 30 feet and drop of 25 feet through approaching and descending turns; and the twisty and challenging Tail of the Dragon in the Smoky Mountains, one of North America’s most iconic driving roads.
• Objective: drivers will learn proper braking technique, how to choose the correct line when navigating tight corners and curves, forward vision, progressive steering, smooth pedal application and release as well as how to minimize load changes and anticipation of the car’s reactions.
Dynamic and emotive, the tracks at the PEC are designed for driver development, allowing customers to test the capability and technology of a Porsche vehicle in a controlled environment. The expansion will operate independently from the existing track, but the two layouts can be combined for an overall main handling circuit of 2.3 miles, and up to 2.9 miles when all track surfaces are utilized.
Along with Tilke, companies that have provided valuable contributions to the project have included IMPACT Development Management (project manager); Brasfield & Gorrie (general contractor); Kimley-Horn (civil engineer); and Transtec (asphalt pavement consultant).