Monday, February 23, 2015

The Good Stuff: Porsche World Road Show 2015

Photos by Ulysses Ang and Porsche Philippines Press
Porsche is a name now eponymous with style and speed. Throughout the decades, the dream makers in Stuttgart have come up with objects of desire. But for all the talk about their design and brevity, there’s one thing that ties all of them together: engineering. At the core of every 911, every Cayenne, every Panamera lies precision work making them feel like they’ve been cut from the same piece of cloth—a cloth dipped in both heritage and tradition, in ingenuity and cleverness.

In everyday life, Porsche’s unrelenting (almost bordering on the obsessive) levels of engineering goes unnoticed because you’ll be busier appreciating the sleek lines or the raucous sound of the free-flowing exhaust. Put these same cars on the track, however, and this intricate craftsmanship becomes the center of attention. It’s often said that the racetrack is the perfect laboratory for any road car and in this case, separates the thoroughbreds from the wannabes.



Welcome to the Porsche World Road Show. Seen purely from a marketer’s standpoint, there’s no better way to showcase the singleness of the Porsche mindset. It is solid proof of the brand’s philosophy achieved through generations of honing and improvement. For owners, would-be owners, and enthusiasts, it’s the best way to experience the entire line-up in the way it’s meant to be experienced: not just taken around the block or blasted down the highway, but on a technical track such as the one in Clark.

Auto journalists are accustomed to driving on the track, but when handling multi-million-peso rides producing in excess of 400 horsepower in some cases, it’s always good to start with the basics. In this case, a brief on the proper driving position with the arms and knees slightly bent and the seatback set upright. Of course, there’s constant reiteration of Porsche Stability Management or PSM and why it must remain on. Remember: you break it, you buy it.



After the short briefing, it’s time to get down to business. Divided into color-coordinated groups, the entire day is filled with various driving activities which add up to about four hours of seat time. The Clark International Speedway is divided into zones for the different course: Handling 1 (for two-door models), Handling 2 (for four-door models), Open Road, and finally, slalom. Throughout the day, a wide range of Porsches is made available for everyone to drive at least once around the track. Give or take, the 2015 Porsche World Road Show features no less than 20 cars including the Boxster and Cayman GTS, the 911 Carrera 4 and Targa S, the Cayenne Diesel and GTS, Macan Diesel and Turbo, and at least three Panameras, including the S E-Hybrid.

Despite the sweltering heart of the midday sun, everyone flashed effortless smiles describing true satisfaction and happiness. Some may have been paired with strangers, but after doing laps and swapping seats, they seem like lifelong friends. The bond they share as they attack the circuit is addicting, erasing any misgivings about having to wake up at 4 in the morning on a holiday.



And while driving any sports car like this is fine, doing it in a Porsche is just better. Whether it’s the 911 or the Macan, you become attached, in every sense of the word, to the car. Steering input in mental: you think about turning in and the car hits the apex. It’s so communicative, so linear that it’s hard to imagine you’re pummeling a car that’s almost five meters in length (for the Panamera) or 1.7 meters off the ground (for the Cayenne). As far as the driver is concern, they’re agile and quick to react, something that’s shared across the line. Some cars though, like the Cayman GTS, will snap into oversteer; and even then, it’s just as easy to control it as driving in a straight line. Indeed, it gives you the most satisfying experience. The sound of the Flat-6 purring all the way to the redline, the gurgling note of the free-flowing exhaust, and the banging of the precise gearshifts from the PDK dual-clutch system leaves you asking for more. Still, driving any one of these Porsches makes you feel like a kid again—a really, really lucky kid.

Track driving events such as the Porsche World Road Show shows you how far the German sports car maker has gone through decades of careful evolution and radical evolution. It shows how each of their vehicles carry the very same essence, the very same DNA of precision engineering, be it a two-door rear-engine sports car or a four-door large SUV with a turbocharged V8 upfront. Above all, the Porsche World Road Show offers a glimpse of how car they’re willing to go to give you the best possible customer experience. There were even representatives from Porsche Exclusive Manufacktur, Porsche’s bespoke division, to help you build your car to spec, no matter how ostentatious your tastes can be. Porsches are stuff of dreams, but for a day, you get to drive them. And not just in a mundane way, but you get to drive them the way they were always meant to be driven.


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