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    Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Hi folks, I thought you wouldn't mind if I share some impressions from the Precision Training (Porsche Sports Driving School) which I enjoyed last weekend (two days course).

    The track
    The LuK Driving Center near Baden-Baden is a recently new build combination of race track plus skid-pads and covers part of a former airbase originally used by the Royal Canadian Airforces (the airfield is still in use for civil aviation).
    The developer of the site has been consulted by Mr. Tielke (the German architect of all the newer F1 circuits) how to design the track.
    One big former shelter has been rebuilt to serve as a paddock for driver briefings and catering - very special and nice atmosphere. The soil and grass covered shelter had the perfect "natural aircon" while it was quite hot outside (30*C).

    The track itself has a length of 2,790 meters with a track width of 8-12 meters featuring 7 right corners + 5 left corners. It's more a technically challenging course than a high speed course á la Hockenheim. After I've learned the circuit I really liked it (except for the tight bends - see comments below).

    I didn't watch the speedo during my stints, but with the 987 S I used 2nd/3rd gear for the most time (4th gear was only used at the end of the straight, which was "softened" for the event by creating an artificial chicane and sometimes at the end of a nice and relative fast corner combo, which I could drive at 3rd gear with high revs.

    The participants
    The participants have been allocated to 4 groups, each consisting of 8-10 drivers with 2 Porsche instructors for each group. For the training sessions the bespoke groups have been further divided into 2 sub-groups, so that max. 4-5 cars did the training sessions, while the other sub-group watched or had their de-briefing with the instructor. Most participants have been Germans, but there were also quite a lot of drivers from abroad (France, Israel, Italy, Switzerland, UK). About 2/3 drove their own cars, while 1/3 used Porsche loaners.

    There was only one car without the Porsche badge (Opel Speedster). If I recall correctly there have been three Boxster S, three Cayman S, two 997 TT, two 997 GT3, three 996, one 993, one Cayenne S, while most cars were 997 (mostly S/4S).

    Only two female participants (including the wifey)

    The instructors
    Of course I can only speak about the instructors in our group - each group was trained by an experienced Senior Instructor + one Junior Instructor. Our Senior Instructor is working with Porsche since 26 years and his main job is engine development (of course he din't tell any secrets but said that he's working on the engine generation for 2012 and that all the actual cars look like "old" cars to him ).
    Part of his job is testdriving on race tracks (also all the sportscars from the competitors). As he did go-kart driving as a young guy it was no surprise that he also liked mid-engined cars a lot (he said for driving on public roads most instructors prefer Boxster S / Cayman S for shorter distances, while Carreras for long Autobahn drives - he added that meanwhile he "even" likes the Cayenne if going to Sweden or Finland ).

    Asked about the competitors he said he's not very afraid about the Audi R8 taking away customers from Porsche, as he felt the car being to "soft" for a true sportscar after his own testdrives. He also said that he very much likes to drive the mid-engine cars from a competitor, whose name he won't mention ("usually they are red" ).
    The guy had really fantastic driving skills and he also was able to bring across the content of the training sessions very well.

    Talking about instructors: I've been astonished to meet Wendelin Wiedeking at the track serving as an instructor.

    The Training Sessions
    Basically the course consists of a combination of safety/handling focussed sessions (skidpad, slalom, emergency braking etc.) and track oriented tasks (section training with the instructor serving as a guide in his car -a 997 4S).
    He had a very good feeling for the different driving skills of the respective number two following his car. He started with relative low speed (though already a speed I wouldn't be able to still use the walkie talkie like he did ) and then he continouisly increased the speed once he had the impression that the number two car would be able to follow. I liked it especially when it was my turn and the rest of the group "disappeared" in the rearview mirror after two corners.

    Of course the main event were the laps using the entire circuit on the second day - first guided laps and thereafter the long awaited free sessions.
    The whole event was very well organized - everything worked really almost "on the minute" for two long days (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.). Also the catering service was very good.

    Wear & Tear
    I guess my poor Boxey took the hardest beating as it had to do every session twice (driven by my wife and by myself).

    Total km: 200 (thereof estimated 90% section training + full laps)
    Tire wear: 2 mm (mind you, brand new tires have 8 mm) - rear tires are genuine slicks now
    Fuel consumption: 24.2 L / 100 km (10 mpg)

    Special Highlights
    Two highlights thanks to our instructor: usually the instructors don't drive customer cars (legal/insurance reasons), but our instructor liked to demonstrate what you can do with a mid-engined car on the round skidpad in the wet. So he drove our 987 S doing some "laps" completely going sideways all the time - standing ovations from the crowd.

    During the free sessions my wife and I had the opportunity to join him in a 997 4S for some real hot laps (PSM switched off of course) - I was more than impressed by both, the driving skills AND the car . I've driven some 997 4S on public roads in a quite spirited manner, but I have to admit that the real character of the car only shows if driven extremely hard by a pro on the track - it was that impressive that I felt the instant urge to buy the car (the traction in tight bends and the rock solid feeling was incredible). Of course the driver makes the biggest difference - my wife also was passenger in an other instructor's TT (with PSM switched on), which left her rather unimpressed.

    Another highlight was the Cayenne S driver in our group who really spanked the truck like crazy - as hard as he tried (and he tried really very hard) he was not able to spin the car on the wet skidpad (the diameter of the wet circle was just too small for him - before the car could spin he always reached the grippy dry track).

    Boxey on the track
    I never tracked my 987S before on a technically challenging circuit (only some guided laps on NoS so far), so I have been anxious to see how it works.

    First I must say that the car took the beating very bravely (mind you: 6 stints á 15 minutes within two hours at very warm weather) - in the third stint I could feel some brake fading (though not too bad), which disappeared after the break in the pitlane..

    It was no problem to go similar laptimes like the Carreras during the free sessions (I could judge it from spotting their positions when I arrived at the straight - the distance just didn't change), but after learning the circuit and trying to push further I hated the terrible understeering in the tight bends . In these corners the Carreras definitely had a big edge (I could see them coming nearer in the rearview mirror). However they lost the edge in the fast corners where I always regained the original distance.

    During the 2x 15 minutes free session (20 cars on the track during each session) I have been overtaken by three cars only (of which 2X instructor's TT's entering the track in the middle of the session just behind me and 1x "real competitor" - a 997 S who came out of the pitlane maybe 200 m behind me and needed 2 laps to get me.

    I was "hunting" a 997 4S loaner for 2 laps, before he gave up and let me overtake (though not very co-operative - he used the sidemarker on the straight to indicate that he would let me overtake him and then he floored the gaspedal ). Of course I didn't leave the ideal line to him, but it was a quite tough manouevre to break him out before the chicane . He disappeared in the rearview mirror after two corners. Also I was able to folllow an instructor during two consecutive hot laps in a Cayman S - actually I couldn't notice any performance difference between my car and the Cayman S.

    Overall it was very interesting to experience, that with average skilled drivers behind the wheel (just my take) it's really difficult to get closer to one of the competitors on a tight track, even with some of them using sharp weapens like GT3 or TT (of course the really experienced instructors drove in another league).

    But one thing became very obvious to me: on a track with tight corners the Carreras still are the kings - they showed just so much better traction.
    Don't get me wrong: the mid-engined Porsches are fantastic cars on public roads (even if I go for a spirited drive the understeering tendency is not a problem at all, because it only shows up at insane corner speeds), but for the track the street set up is useless IMO . Maybe useless is the wrong word - like mentioned I had no probs to keep up with almost all the big dogs, but it was hard work for me (though big fun at the same time ) while the Carreras seemed to carve through the tight bends so effortless.

    The two days have been a real blast and I'm sure I will repeat the experience . Also I'm happy that my wife caught a bit of the track fever - the instructors showed big thumbs up to her ("we can see that somebody is really going for it..."). She even managed not to loose the car when she overcooked a corner and went off the track (funnily it happened to our instructor at the exact same spot, when my wife joined him for a hot lap in the 997 4S) .

    I think everybody should bring his Porsche now and then to a track, even if he's normally using the car for boring commuting duties only - on the track the real character of these wonderful toys shows up.
    And of course: you get to know other P-addicted people, which is always nice. It was a pleasure to meet up with another Rennteam member from Israel - Discover - who obviously had a blast with "his" 997 4S loaner. I'm sure he will add some comments once he's back home from his trip.

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    here you can see the layout of the track
    And before you ask: yes I took tons of pics of course - but it will take another day or so before I can post them (a prob with the digicam ). Also I'll receive some nice pics from a professional photographer later and will post some of the pro pics - just a little patience

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Great review!

    Good Information!

    and Wendelin Wiedeking there! There is hope afterall!

    Photo encore please!

    Glad you had so much fun

    Happy your wife liked it also, a excellent way to stay out of the dog house.

    Maybe next course they will add some bootleg turn instruction so you can give your handbrake a workout!

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Excellent report! Sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing!

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    What a great read! Thanks very much for the detailed report Porsche-Jeck. I'm looking forward to seeing the photos!

    If you do another PDE, why not do it in England? We could book it together...?

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    JimFlat6 said:
    and Wendelin Wiedeking there! There is hope afterall!

    At least the younger generation seems to love to track the toys from Zuffenhausen

    JimFlat6 said:
    Maybe next course they will add some bootleg turn instruction so you can give your handbrake a workout!

    Yeah - I was thinking about that option but then I decided it would be better to destroy the tires than the handbrake At least the unofficial spectators behind the fences had their fun each time I came around the tight bends with squealing tires

    @ Easy: nice idea Just one question: is the ideal line on UK tracks similar to those on German tracks

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Thank you, great read

    I guess a sport suspension with limited slip diff for the Boxster/Cayman would have been nice, but that might mean bye bye 911 on a track

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Great report

    Thanks for taking the time to write it

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Finally I managed to save the pics from my broken digicam - I hope you enjoy them though not of superior quality
    I'm anxious to receive the pics from the pro photographer - will post some of them in a seperate thread later.
    Here we go: very nice calm atmosphere in the Schlosshotel Bühler Höhe before it goes off to the track
    View from our hotelroom:

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Another view from our room to the Black Forrest

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Preparing to head to the track

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    The Turbo guided us from the hotel to the track - impressive acceleration - those Swiss guys don't care too much about the speedlimits in Germany (no prob at a weekend morning at 7:30 am)

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Welcome to the track

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Of course Wendelin Wiedekings instructor car was a GT3 with the number one badge

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Some nice cars lined up in the pitlane

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    The car of the instructor of our group - Pit's car parked in the Pit-lane

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    The former shelter now serving as the drivers' camp

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    View out of the shelter towards the track

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Another nice instructor's car

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Cars in line preparing for the first training session

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Our Boxey enjoying some cooling water in the hot weather

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Another one..

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    After the wet skidpad all the cars looked the same

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Briefing before the main event..

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Finally - the real fun begins

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Here you can see me in action in the corner right before the pitlane

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Same corner

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    And finally the exit of the same corner

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    I hope the pics of the pro photographer will bring across the action a bit better (including some cars fighting for positions ) For safety reasons the hobby photographers have been allowed to stay at the pit only during the track sessions whereas the pro took pics from other spots also.

    Re: Report: Porsche Sports Driving School

    Fantastic report and pics , bud .....

    You sure know how to enjoy yourselves ..

    Have a good weekend ,



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