Home / Drives / Porsche Track Experience – Apex Predators

 

We were invited to the Porsche Track Experience at the Buddh International Circuit to experience first-hand Porsche’s legendary sports cars capabilities on track as well as their larger, heavier and more powerful step-siblings.

Porsche Track Experience

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Apurva Ambep

Porsche Track Experience

The Porsche Track Experience was back at the BIC and, as always, there was a delectable array of offerings of all sorts of flavours to suit all palates. And I haven’t even gotten to the cars yet! From the new Macan GTS and Panamera Turbo S to the all-electric Taycan and its polar opposite sibling, the hardcore nat-asp petrol-powered 911 GT3 RS, there was everything. Everything from the two-speed automatic and new eight-speed PDK and the six-speed manual were available to drive. Here is how the day went.

Porsche Track Experience

Handling (992 C2S Cabriolet, 991.II GT3 RS)

What good is a car if it doesn’t go exactly where you want it to go and do exactly what you want it to do? The handling course—a vacant parking lot with cones set up to mark out a slalom, straight, evasion, braking and stopping zone—was the scene of the first activity, with me and my grey-band batch mates making our way away from the paddock and to the area behind the hospitality area. This would be the first of two activities behind there. The handling course had us in the 992 911 Carrera S Cabriolet—roof up in the intense sun—and the car I’d actually flown in to drive, the 911 GT3 RS, in delicious 991.II guise. Driving older generation cars just after the new one’s come out gives me an intense feeling of joy as I get to sample the previous and, potentially, the next one down the line.

Red pill first. Setting off in the Guards Red Carrera S with optional Sports Exhaust/Chrono/Seats, I eased in in the first of my three attempts. It felt good. I’d driven the previous model of this thing back home and, somehow, the 992 feels more substantial, more GT-like than ever. It’s brilliant. Sharp but also very comfortable with more than a touch of luxurious appointments. The 3.0-litre, turbocharged boxer-six makes 450 hp and 530 Nm, driving the rear wheels via the new eight-speed PDK automatic. Agility comes naturally, but there’s an equilibrium between sport and luxury here. Out of the red car and into the blue car.

I specifically asked to go for the Porsche Track Experience for this one car, should the opportunity to drive it arise—I must say. And I surely wasn’t disappointed. Porsche India had lined up a fantastic and very exclusive programme to ensure that everyone drove everything. Right. I finally got into the Miami Blue GT3 RS with sports bucket seats. For those wondering, GT3 RS: Rs 2.71 crore, Miami Blue exterior colour: Rs 7 lakh, PDLS+ lighting: Rs 5.17 lakh, reversing camera: Rs 1.28 lakh, Bose surround-sound: Rs 2.78 lakh, climate control delete: zero, sports bucket seats: zero, seven-speed PDK: zero, fabric loop door openers: zero, and the mixed 20- and 21-inch alloys wheels in “satin Aurum” also zero. Rs 2.87 crore (ex-showroom) it is then. Away from the track, one may need to tick more boxes.

Porsche Track Experience

Tingles, butterflies, you name it. Gingerly I shut the door. ‘Keep the window a crack. There’s no a-c!’ Paul’s voice boomed on the radio. Right, tyres warm and brakes somewhat warm, I went around the course. The engine—which felt like it was bolted to my spine—is a 3,996-cc, boxer six with no forced induction and a sweet, naturally aspirated soundtrack, with a ceiling set at 9,000 rpm. The engine makes 520 hp at 8,250 rpm and 470 Nm at 6,000 rpm. That may not sound like much these days compared to other supercars—or its own siblings (Turbo S, GT2 RS…)—but when the 1,430-kilogram weight is factored in, with the lightning-quick seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, chewing gum-like Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres and a steering feel like my hands and nerves are welded to the rack, it teleports me to a different plane of existence; a different dimension.

The turn-in is more intuitive than I could imagine; “sharp” is not enough of a word. The response is instantaneous and progressive in a wild manner but that only means I’m moving ahead and in any chosen direction before my eyes can comprehend but mind just knows. This is unlike anything I’ve ever driven before. The brakes bite lightly as I ease in and, eventually, sink their teeth deeper as I step on them. I make the final slalom before heading up to 8,000 rpm briefly, making my inner child pass out in two seconds, before stopping in the box.

The best part was, I would have it again on track later!

Need to Know – Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet

Price: Rs 2.00 crore (ex-showroom), Rs 2.20 crore (as tested)
Engine: 3.0-litre, twin-turbo boxer-six, petrol DI
Output: 450 hp, 530 Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1,585 kg

More on page 2 >

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible future.
t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia

 

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