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Not For The Faint of Heart!

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Porsche Sport Driving School

If you follow me, you know that I’m a huge automotive enthusiast. Recently I was invited to live out my automotive racing fantasy at the Porsche Sport Driving School at the Barber Motorsports Park just outside of Birmingham Alabama.

Porsche Sport Driving School isn’t just for novices, and it isn’t just for veteran drivers either; it’s for anyone with a love of performance vehicles and a desire to learn something new and exciting. I brought some friends along and we rocked the track, which definitely left a smile on our faces.

Our day started early, we arrived at the track around 7am. The morning fog was just fading away; the sun was barely topping the tree line and not a cloud in the sky.

We first registered, received our credentials, and enjoyed a light breakfast and coffee. During this time we also had the chance to meet other follow car enthusiasts, and professional race drivers alike. There was lots of small talk, stories being told of what we may learn today, the track dynamics and the potential speeds we could hit. And it made us all very anguish to hit the track.

But first, before they turned us loose with brand new Porsche’s like a bunch of New York City Taxi Drivers, we all had to sit in on a safety briefing given by one of the Lead Instructors. Basically this was a “rules of the road” and what to expect while on the track. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the “if you break it you bought it” waiver you signed.

So now the formalities are out of the way it was time hit the track. Our instructors divided us into smaller groups of six, where we would be rotating through different elements during our day. I had my choice of the latest Porsche models; Carrera, Carrera S, Boxster, Cayman Cayenne S and the incomparable Porsche 911 Turbo.

The Activities. Our Porsche Driving Instructors taught us driving skills that we’ll use every day.

  • Skid Pad – car control
  • Performance Driving Techniques – basic driving techniques & visual skills
  • Autocross – combining cornering, braking and acceleration
  • Cornering Dynamics – develops a feel for the limits
  • Lane Change – high speed maneuvering
  • Lapping Sessions – the ultimate thrill as instructors pace participants around track
  • Off-road Course – explore the unique capabilities of the Porsche Cayenne

At the end of the day, the instructors gave each of the participants our very own “Hot Lap”. It’s basically where the instructors take you out on the track and run it as fast as possible. My friend and Professional Porsche Driver Cass Whitehead gave me the ride of my life in the new Porsche GT3. On my Hot Lap, we hit 126 MPH on the back straight! In a word… INCREDIBLE!

This was an amazing day of driving. If you’ve ever thought about attending one of these type events, wait no more. I highly recommend this experience and you will leave with a newly found addiction to performance driving.

Although it’s one of the best experiences ever, there are some great benefits too –

  • You will become a more efficient and safer driver and we bet you will find driving a lot more interesting.
  • It’s a great starting point for those that are interested in entering formal racing.
  • You will learn not only the basics, but the fine points of the sport as well.
  • All of our instructors are top professional drivers who are certified by Porsche and who earn their living in this business, no part-timers here!

Besides the driving and track time, here are some of the things that I remember –

  • Barber Motorsports Park is one of the best track facilities in North America. It’s beautifully landscaped, exciting and challenging. With 2.38 miles, 16 turns and over 80 feet of elevation changes, its demands will keep your attention and make you a great driver.
  • The school offers a fleet of over 40 new Porsche vehicles.
  • The Barber Vintage Museum, located at the circuit, is a world-class facility with over 1000 vehicles and vintage motorcycles on display.

People from all over the World flock to the Porsche Sport Driving School at Barber Motorsports Park. Trust me, if you’re an automotive enthusiast and get off on speed, you will not be disappointed!

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