by Tod Mesirow
Carson, CA sits in a geographically desirable area – in which to build a small race track. Porsche looked far and wide for a location in the Los Angeles area, as a huge percentage of Porsches are sold here. In fact, California, we were told at the press event christening the new Porsche Experience by the folks at Porsche, is the most important market in the U.S., and that one-third Porsches sold worldwide are sold in the United States. This is the second Porsche Experience in America – following the one in Atlanta next to their U.S. headquarters.
On what used to be a municipal golf course, where the 110 and the 405 meet, down the block from the Goodyear Blimp airfield, Porsche built a playground for driving, with four distinct opportunities – a straightaway that ends with a sharply banked circle that one drops in to; a road course, with great twists and turns, slight changes in elevation, and plenty of chances to find the best line – if one can; a slick track, where the driver’s ability to respond to a loss of traction is tested and can be improved; and an off-road course, with a teeter totter to perfect balance and touch, and steep drops to feel the automatic descent mode in action.
The 53-acre site includes a 50,000-square-foot building with a Porsche shop, a restaurant on the second floor with a view of the driving courses, and plenty of Porsches on display — most new, some old, and one race car that’s half Lego blocks.
Guests can spend as little as $35 for 30 minutes in a simulator, or as much as $850 for an hour-and-a-half in a 911 GT3 on the tracks with an instructor. Almost all of the Porsche line is currently available, except for the Panamera. Porsche anticipates 50,000 visitors in the first year.
One thing to look forward to – as if this isn’t enough – Porsche made sure to emphasize their $1 billion commitment to making an electric sports car by 2020. Gives a whole new meaning to the teenage saying “silent but deadly.”
The media day at the Porsche Experience included me having the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Carrera 2, among other vehicles, and be guided through the course by an instructor. Josh Allan displayed patience and good humor with my less-than-Fangio level skills.
Watch Tod’s video experience here.
Photos (c) Tod Mesirow.