New way to check out a Porsche.
“Porsche. There is no substitute,” said Joel in Risky Business, back in 1983 and he was right. I have been infatuated with these luxury vehicles since I saw that movie and recently I had a chance to indulge and experience Porsche at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, Georgia as a guest of the #SITSum conference. Before, during, and after my trip this driving experience was what I talked about the most. For anyone who is remotely interested in cars – and has some cash to burn – this is a phenomenal place to visit and learn more about Porsche. The PEC, which opened on May 7, 2015, is a 27-acre complex at the northeast corner of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
We started off with a tour of the facility. Inside the Porsche Experience Center there is a full range of cars to see: regular street versions, special racing cars, and even the super special collector models. Some you can can get into, others are just look only and no touching. The Classic Porsche Vehicle Restoration Center offers repairs and restoration.
Our next stop was the Driving Simulator Center which, at first glance seems to be a cool arcade, but in reality is an immersive driver training experience. Six specialized simulators are linked together for a one-of-a-kind simulation experience of driving a Porsche. Each of the simulators offers three large screens to project your experience on extreme haptic feedback, and the feel of really driving an actual Porsche. We, of course, raced each other and I was very proud of my second place finish!
Now came the time to actually get in a real Porsche. You can drive one yourself, but we did the simplest option, a ride along. I eagerly hopped in the Porsche 911 Carrera S with my driver and told him to go as fast as he could. He obliged as we flew through the handling circuit on the outdoor track. It is impossible to wipe the smile off your face while racing around the track. After the ride I was left nearly speechless, as were the rest of the participants in my party.
There are several packages offered at the Porsche Experience Center. Most last for 90 minutes and range in price between $300 and $750. Options include driving and learning about the current models on-road or off-road, speed packages, and even mastering the manual transmission.
The obligatory gift shop is there as well if you feel like dropping some extra cash. If you get hungry during your visit you can have a snack at the Carrera Cafe or enjoy a fine dining experience at Restaurant 356. Finally, if you are ready to create your own custom Porsche you can meet with a Personal Design Specialist in the Porsche Exclusive Personal Design Studio to browse through a selection of leather and paint samples and specialty parts to build the Porsche of your dreams. There is also a large outdoor obliteration area overlooking the tracks where you can watch over others and take in the sights and sounds.
This day was by far the favorite part of my recent trip to Atlanta and I would happily do it all over again. The day did not fulfill my desire to experience Porsche, but instead fanned those flames of desire!
Disclosure: I attended the Porsche Experience Center as a part of the #SITSum Event. Opinions are my own.