I recently booked an experience at the Porsche Experience Center in L.A. As my event time was in the afternoon, I thought it would be great to have lunch at the 917 on site restaurant beforehand too. Here was the experience:
- Check in – check in was quick and painless. You will get an ID badge on a lanyard and then you are good to go. They tell you where and when to meet your instructor. Just remember to fill out any forms prior to going there (waivers etc).
- Retail store – I was looking forward to buying some merchandise, but I was a bit disappointed by the clothing selection. I didn’t end up getting anything.
- Displays – they have a number of production and race cars on display. You can view everything in a few minutes. Here are some of them:
There are also simulators and other things to look at.
4. Lunch – We headed upstairs to the 917 restaurant and were seated promptly. Try to get a seat by the window overlooking the track.
To start, they sent out some pretzels (staying true to all things German) and some butter shaped as 911s. The pretzels were warm, soft and delicious.
I had a burger with fries. The fries were food – well seasoned and crispy. The burger was delicious. A nice charred taste and well seasoned. The only issue was I asked for med-rare and it was more medium. Service was very good.
5. The viewing areas – unfortunately, passengers are not allowed to accompany drivers. There are two viewing areas. A downstairs patio and upstairs balcony. I would recommend upstairs.
6. The experience – I met my instructor at the allotted time. He accompanied us outside (you are only allowed into the track area when accompanied). We were able to take pics with the cars and then my wife left to the viewing area. I had signed up for the turbo vs GT3 experience.
We started with the turbo in the autocross area. Did some slalom, and autocross. One thing I was disappointed about was that video was banned and there were not many photo ops. After autocross we did some oversteer recovery.
I enjoyed this part of the experience and is an important lesson that can be applied in the real world. After that, we did some launch control and low friction circles. When we switched to the GT3, we then repeated some of the same exercises. Then we did lead follow on the track:
Overall, it was a great day, especially if you are a fan of Porsche. It wasn’t perfect though:
- the track time was very short; I think we only did 3 laps and then 2 laps as a passenger; there was some debris on the track and we had to stop but they should not take this time away from the experience
- video should be allowed and more photo ops
- more time with each car should be provided
- they should give you something to take away from the experience, especially considering the cost; even the restaurant will give you rubber coasters shaped like a wheel to take home
Overall, I would not go back and do it again, but I would recommend someone to experience it once. As for the restaurant, it was good, but its located far from the main areas of LA so probably not worth the trip if you are not in the area. If you are in the area and a fan of Porsche, then I would recommend you go check out the cars on display and grab something to eat.