A day at Porsche Sport Driving School is the most exciting eight hours imaginable
Amelia Hungerford gets behind the wheels of some of Porsche’s best-known sports cars at a driving school with a difference in Mt Cotton, Queensland.
If you ever have the opportunity to attend the Porsche Sport Driving School at Queensland’s Mt Cotton Training Centre – whether you’re a car person or not – I suggest you take it. From the newly rebranded 718 Cayman and Boxster to the surprisingly agile Cayenne and the top-of-the-line GT3 RS, guests experience the full Porsche line-up in the most exciting eight hours imaginable. I don’t mean taking them for a test drive. I mean pushing these incredible machines to their limits. And we’re only participating in the Level One: Precision course.
The instructors are experts in their field: Carrera Cup racers, V8 Supercar drivers, and legends of Bathurst, including chief instructor Tomas Mezera. After a safety briefing, he introduces us to the cars. Playing it cool won’t work here – we dissolve into squeals of awe as we survey the line-up and fall completely under the Porsche spell.
Back to Porsche basics
Before we can jump in a car, however, we need to go back to basics. That means reprogramming our driving position and focusing completely on the driving without looking at the speedo, however tempting it may be. The object of the day is to make you a better driver, able to adapt to changing situations and comprehend the limits and capabilities of your car. Unlike the driving lessons of my youth, however, it’s all done through having fun in some excellent cars.
The Porsche Sport Driving School programme is one of the most established and advanced in Australia, offering five levels of progression, culminating in the opportunity to drive a 911 GT3 Cup Car. And if that’s not thrilling enough, Porsche also ramps up the adrenaline with its ice-driving courses in Levi, Finland.
Triple the exhilaration
The first of three exercises is all about cornering and race lines on a road circuit. With an instructor at my side, I start out timid, following the cones exactly.
By the third and final lap, I’m braking later and with more precision, pushing my abilities (and nerves) to the point of exhilaration.
On the skid pan, we skim across an oiled track in a Cayman and a 911, trying not to spin out (most of the time). There’s a real-life skill in being able to avert disaster on a slippery road, and Porsche (with the stability disabled) gives us a practical lesson in controlling a slide (Level Two involves harnessing this in a full-on power slide).
We take a ride in the Cayenne, seeing its four-wheel drive capabilities at work as we ascend a rock-and-root-riddled near-vertical incline. A driver then takes us out one by one in a GT3 RS for a hot lap that has us squealing again – this time in terror and delight.
Slow and steady wins the race?
We also learn that the relationship between speed and braking is not a one-to-one ratio, then head out on a competitive motorkhana, racing a 911, Boxster and Macan around a cone obstacle course. We’re sure fellow driver Torah Bright, the Olympic gold medallist snowboarder, speed demon and Porsche brand ambassador, will take the prize for fastest woman on the track, but with points deducted for hit and missed cones, I’m shocked when my comparatively slow-and-steady approach wins the day – and the mini 911 Carrera Cabriolet prize that now takes pride of place on my desk.
It’s a day of absolute exhilaration, and just whets the appetite for more. I’m already planning to return for Level Two.