Portimão, Portugal - So you want to be a racing driver? Every year hundreds of young men and women go to racing schools all over the world, but in reality, it takes a lot more than just raw talent to succeed in the top ranks of professional motorsport.
Assuming you are fast and consistent enough to be a podium finisher in Formula Ford or a one make saloon car championships, unless your family has very deep pockets you will also need significant sponsorship and a good media personality to move up the ladder and be noticed by a top national or international level team.
However, let’s say you have some talent and money and want to experience what it is like to drive a works Porsche GT car, or if you already drive in a GT3 Cup championship and wish to acquire the tools to put you on the podium, then where do you go?
Some hire championship-winning drivers to give them personal coaching, usually in their own car. The average racing school is not the answer since the average race instructor is not a current international level championship driver, and they certainly do not have the very latest machinery to hand.
They will certainly not be able to give you a taste of the very cutting edge of current Porsche competition cars, with full trackside support from Manthey Racing, Porsche’s very own factory team.
All these half solutions are the reason Porsche recently established the Porsche GT Race Car Experience. Pooling together some of the resources that already exist separately within their motorsport structure enables them to offer comprehensive coaching programmes to help both levels of driver fulfil their ambition.
Some participants might already own a GT2 RS Clubsport or 935, and simply want to get the most from their car and themselves on trackday events. At the other end of the scale, others might already be racing a GT3 R or 911 RSR, and want to hone their edge to podium finish level.
Managed by Paul Gregor and Frederic Klein, the Porsche GT Race Car Experience sits at the very top level of Porsche’s driver training programme that up to now has been showing owners how to get the most from Porsche cars on the racetrack, and on snow and ice.
The Porsche Racing Experience is a GT3 Cup car based series for gentlemen drivers with a syllabus derived from the well-proven Porsche Juniors training programme. With the aim of introducing aspiring gentlemen drivers to the world of competitive motorsport, this course is comprised of three levels.
Level 1 is a comprehensive and intense one-week course that works towards the participant obtaining an International D category competition license at the end. This is an arrive and drive course with Porsche providing the cars, instructors, race suits, helmet, HANS device and so on.
Importantly, the Racing Experience also has a physio aspect, addressing the fitness and medical regime of participants just as in a proper racing team. And when you are out on track the factory level on-board telemetry allows the engineers and instructors to see, download and analyse all the data from the cars in real-time. In between track sessions, the instructors will use this information to help explain how cornering lines or braking points can be honed to gain speed in individual sectors of the track.
Only one Level 1 course is held each year, and the next one will be based at the Hungaroring in September 2020.
Requiring significant commitment, Level 2 is a full season of six races in the German or Swiss Porsche Sport Cup. In 2020 this will be extended to the US. Once again this is an “arrive & drive” scenario with Porsche supplying the Cup cars, with full support from the factory Manthey Racing team.
Drivers who graduate from Level 2 can undertake Level 3 training, in which Porsche instructors will coach drivers in their first year of competing in an independent team.
Even relatively experienced race drivers can benefit from this tailored coaching by Porsche’s world-class instructors, all of who currently compete at the highest level of international motorsport.
The much more specialised Porsche GT Race Car Experience for seasoned race drivers offers an intensive three-day “full service” coaching programme. The first such course took place at Portimao in early December, and the 2020 programme will run at Spa in April, Hockenheim in May, Hungaroring in September and Catalunya in November.
These very exclusive courses are run with a maximum of 16 participants to maximise both seat time and the benefits of the personalised one-on-one instruction. The event is limited to customers who own a Porsche 935, GT2 RS Clubsport, GT3 Cup MR, GT3 R or 911 RSR, and they can either bring their own cars or rent them from Porsche.
Receiving personal coaching from a current Porsche championship driver in a current Porsche track dedicated car like the 935 or GT2 RS Clubsport, or full-blown Porsche race cars like the GT3 R or 911 RSR with full factory support is something that no other marque offers.
So if you are a gentleman driver and are after solid coaching to extract the best from yourself, or just want the experience of driving a state-of-the-art Porsche race car at racing speeds, the Porsche GT Race Car Experience is the ultimate “arrive & drive” training course.