Level Up

The po­ten­tial of Porsche’s fleet is brought to the fore with its driv­ing academy.

Robb Report (Malaysia) - - Contents - By Vishal Bhaskaran Pho­tos Sim e Dar by

Posche’s ar­ray of driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ences un­corks the full per­for­mance po­ten­tial of its fleet.

The Porsche Me­dia Driv­ing Academy is, as the name sug­gests, a train­ing mod­ule for jour­nal­ists. Its be­gin­ner – or In­di­vid­ual – level deals with the es­sen­tials in­clud­ing seat­ing po­si­tion and op­ti­mum driv­ing habits, while the in­ter­me­di­ate (Pro­fes­sional) level delves into the foun­da­tions of track driv­ing. Sim­i­lar events, such as the Porsche World Road­show and Porsche Driv­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence, are or­gan­ised for own­ers and prospec­tive cus­tomers. All three events are held at the Sep­ang In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit.

The day’s ac­tiv­i­ties for the Pro­fes­sional

level in­cludes best rac­ing line, brak­ing tech­niques and throt­tle con­trol. Off the track, driv­ers are put through an ex­er­cise ses­sion and a the­o­ret­i­cal les­son on weight trans­fer and its ef­fect on avail­able grip.

The most im­por­tant ar­eas for strength and en­durance on the body are worked over by a cer­ti­fied nu­tri­tion­ist and mo­tor­sports fit­ness in­struc­tor. Ac­cord­ing to the lat­ter, cer­tain mi­nor mus­cles, such as those in the neck, are hardly strained un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances but are cru­cial for mo­tor­sport to keep the head steady un­der G-forces, not to men­tion the weight of a rac­ing hel­met.

No Porsche track day is com­plete with­out the new Boxster. A back-to-back slalom be­tween a Boxster S and a Ma­can demon­strated the former’s mid- en­gine bal­ance. Re­peated drives of the Boxster S elim­i­nated any prej­u­dice against its sub­dued en­gine orches­tra, such is the im­prove­ment in per­for­mance. A Ma­can also fea­tured in the rac­ing line ex­er­cise at turns five and six. The use of an SUV is ben­e­fi­cial for be­gin­ners to ex­pe­ri­ence the shift in weight for dif­fer­ent throt­tle and steer­ing in­puts. When a 911 or Boxster corners quite flat, there is less com­mu­ni­ca­tion on the lev­els of grip from the per­spec­tive of the less ex­pe­ri­enced.

The fact that the Cayenne is ev­ery bit a Porsche in dy­nam­ics de­spite its size­able di­men­sions is old hat, but it was dur­ing the lane chang­ing test that its dis­re­spect for physics was bru­tally dis­played. In one run, it re­mained level and con­trolled de­spite hav­ing two wheels off the ground. Porsche Sta­bil­ity Man­age­ment seems to be equal parts en­gi­neer­ing ge­nius and Ger­man wiz­ardry.

On track with us, as an in­struc­tor and to of­fer in­sight into Porsche’s mo­tor­sport ac­tiv­i­ties, was Kiwi racer and brand works driver, Earl Bamber. His maiden com­pet­i­tive

Off the track, driv­ers are put through an ex­er­cise ses­sion and a the­o­ret­i­cal les­son on weight trans­fer and its ef­fect on avail­able grip.

out­ing in a Porsche 919 Hy­brid in the 24 Hours of Le Mans ended in a stun­ning vic­tory, and was the first time Porsche had been crowned cham­pion since 1998.

As part of the ‘clos­ing loop’ of a Porsche road car’s de­vel­op­ment, Bamber tells us that he and his fel­low aces are given some wheel time and are ex­pected to pro­vide feedback for mi­nor tweaks. More di­rectly in­volved, how­ever, are the engi­neers; as they serve both road car and race car de­part­ments, what is learned on the track from car and driver is di­rectly fed back to shape what comes out of the show­room. In Bamber’s words, this is cru­cial to Porsche’s com­mer­cial suc­cess be­cause the true spirit of the Porsche brand is a race car for the road. I couldn’t agree more and now await the ad­vanced mod­ule of the Porsche Me­dia Driv­ing Academy, the Elite level. www.porsche.com≠

Jour­nal­ists from around the Asia-pa­cific re­gion are in­vited to par­tic­i­pate and un­der­stand Porsche cars through ac­tive driv­ing.

The Porsche Me­dia Driv­ing Academy was in­tro­duced in 2015.

Aside from ac­cu­rate and ef­fec­tive brak­ing ex­er­cises, in­struc­tors will also fo­cus on the skills needed for en­tire cir­cuit lap­ping.

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