Porsche Road Show '13.2
 Porsche World Roadshow at Sonoma Raceway - Saturday, May 11, 2013

    by Tom Markovich, Redwood Region Member

Last August I was given the opportunity to participate in the Porsche World Road Show at Point Alameda: a more intense (although shorter) test drive than you would expect at a dealer.  Fortunately I had the opportunity to participate again, but this year at Sonoma Raceway with actual track time! Vern Rogers and I signed up for the 7:45 am segment (I got there at 7:00 since I woke up the first time at 3:20 am), had the introduction to the schedule of events and was assigned to group 2 of 2. Both groups were treated to a demonstration of two Carreras on a water covered skid pad to show the difference between two wheel vs. four wheel drive/with stability control and without. I never considered four wheel drive in a sports car before, now I am a convert. Without stability control the first car (full time, professional Porsche driver), spun out and the one with four wheel drive lost traction and control. With stability control, no loss of control and much faster; impressive.

We then moved to the track where three groups of four cars (plus lead driver) were ready for our testing. Following the leader as close as possible (he tried to keep the pack together), we did a lap of the portion of Sonoma Raceway used for Nascar racing. Starting with the 2014 Cayman, then the Carrera, Cayman S and Carrera 4S, we did one lap, changed driver/passenger, did another lap then changed cars. Depending upon the other drivers, we were able to go at a speed exceeding dealership test drives. While the power of these cars was impressive, their braking is exemplary. A portion of Sonoma Raceway requires a very hard braking before a nearly 90degree turn and these cars slowed with no drama, flat, firm. Wow!

Next stop was the low speed SUV/sedan autocross course (just not as fast as our Sonoma County airport venue). This portion was focused on the difference between the two styles of each class. The Panamera hybrid vs. V6 gasoline powered car and the Cayenne vs. Cayenne diesel. The most measurable difference for me was the initial torque of the hybrid and diesel and the lighter weight of the V6. Four people, 150 mph (on the autobahn) for hours at a time, these vehicles are unimaginable. While my focus was performance, the interiors and exteriors are world class. Rich leathers, brushed aluminum and stainless steel, sport seats with an electric extension of the seat bottom for us who need more leg support (get the 14 way power seat; money well spent). Wow! A static display of Carreras, Boxster, Cayenne and Cayman models were available for inspection, seat adjustments and storage considerations (I think my current Cayman has more room for golf clubs but would not get me to the course in the same level of style). Our parting gift was a Porsche hat in black. Porsche is doing ten of these three day events across the country (our event was the first on their calendar), so if you have the opportunity to attend, take it, great fun.

PS. Porsche is developing two venues to provide a facility for people to have the "Porsche Experience" in a controlled environment. One is being developed in Atlanta in conjunction with their headquarters and one in Carson, California. While not racetracks, they will provide areas for education in low traction driving, autocross, off-road and high performance driving. The Southern California facility is expected to be open sometime in 2014. Considering how professional these roadshows are run, you can only imagine what these facilities will offer.

Porsche Road Show '13.4

Porsche Road Show '13.3