It’s been four years since I first visited the Porsche Experience Center (PEC) in Atlanta, Georgia. I had a great time as I detailed in my previous post. This trip was just as good if not better since my Parents and my best friend attended. My wife was not able to make this trip as it was a business trip for me and I just happened to be in Atlanta.

I met everyone at the PEC main entrance around 10:15 am so we had time to look around the facility. As you enter the building you can see a 911 and Taycan posed perfectly for photos with the #PECATL behind them. As we walked through we saw the new 992 GT3 and Macan GTS which were displayed next to the paint and color samples. Porsche has some very nice standard colors, but for an additional fee you can choose any color you want.

There is a Heritage Museum in the lower levels with some really amazing Porsches throughout history. They rotate the cars around which is nice since they were almost all different from my first visit. In the collection this time were not one, but two 918s! A black 919 was on display which was cool because last time they had the red 919. There was also a GT2RS that stood out. The paint color was very unique. Remember how I mentioned above that you could pick any color for a price? Well, we were told that this paint job cost $114,000! I know, I know, your mind is blown right? The options on this particular GT2RS cost more than the base price of the car!

After drooling over the millions of dollars of cars on display, it was time for lunch. We made our way to the top level for our 11:30 reservations at the 356 restaurant. The Porsche 356 was the first car Porsche produced in 1948. The menu had a nice variety of choices but we all somehow settled on the Truffle Burger with Parmesan fries. Before it was served, warm pretzel rolls were provided with butter. Not normal butter, but butter shaped like a Porsche 911.

After lunch the excitement began to build. I was driving at 2pm and my friend was driving at 4pm. I had booked the GT4 this time as I am possibly interested in buying one. This is a great way to get a feel for the car and how it performs. My friend had booked one of the new 911s. The 911 is a great all around car with a turbo six cylinder engine whereas the GT4 is a car made for the track and has a naturally aspirated six cylinder engine producing 414hp.

The time is here, it’s my time to drive! A few hours prior I ran into my instructor, Jimmy, from my first experience and was able to get him assigned to me again. Jimmy really listened to what I wanted to do last time and I was hoping for the same this time. I was not disappointed.

Jimmy met with me and went over the rules and what to expect. We headed down to the cars staged for the drivers and headed to a yellow GT4. They only run 2 GT4s per session. The other one was python green I believe. He took some photos of me in front of the car and then told me to hop in. The car is fitted with fixed back bucket racing seats. Not the easiest seat to get in and out of, but it provides tons of support on track days.

Yellow Porsche GT4
Porsche GT4

The first event would be the slalom to get familiar with the balance of the car. I took it slow on the first two runs and really pushed the last run through. I was able to pull 1.12 lateral g’s on my last run. We slowly exited that area and headed to my nemesis, the circular skid pad.

The objective of the watered down concrete skid pad is to learn car control in an oversteer situation. With practice a driver could complete repeating 360s on the pad. I struggled with this event last time as I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. I am happy to report my problem is solved. Once I got the feel of the inputs needed as you begin sliding, I was able to control things. By the end of this event I was doing 3 to 4 laps around in a continual drift. It was absolutely my favorite part of the day.

After I finished making Jimmy dizzy, we headed around the track for some hot laps. This car is almost 100hp shy of the GT3s I drove last time. It doesn’t have four wheel steering either. But guess what, it’s still amazing. I was already familiar with the course so we were up to speed quick. My first pass was the green GT4. Passing can happen often depending on the other drivers since the track length is only about 1 mile. It’s a very tight, technical track. A lap or 2 more and I was passing a white GT3. That’s right, it has better track abilities and almost 100 more horsepower, but it got passed. It just goes to show how the driver is a very important factor in driving. That sealed the deal that this car is for me. We moved on to the next event.

In the back of the track area is a low friction track. I remember not liking this part much last time. I didn’t really understand what I was supposed to be doing. It wasn’t Jimmy’s fault, I just couldn’t visualize it. I was trying to balance the car with throttle and brakes. It just wasn’t working. This time was different.

As we drove slowly around it to get familiar, Jimmy explained the goal is to connect all the tight corners together in a continual drift from turn to turn. After getting a good feel of the drift on the circular pad, I felt a bit more confident. We did some faster laps as I learned where to point the car and exit the turns. He then tells me to pull over and begins to explain how it’s bad to get off the curbs onto the pavers and it’s extremely bad to get on the grass. He said if you think your gonna do either, bail on the corner and brake hard. He then turned off all the stability controls and said go.

I did this maybe 6-8 more times and was able to connect all corners with a sweeping drift and it was awesome. I lost the rear end on two laps which stopped the others behind so they wouldn’t ram us which made me feel a bit bad. I don’t like to make mistakes. After my final run that was pretty good, I decided to move on and finish in a good note. Now where to go next?

That’s right, back to the circle! I spent my last 15 minutes or so drifting circles in a GT4 and it was epic.