We discovered one of the most fun places in L.A. — and we’re not talking about Disneyland. At the Porsche Experience Center in L.A., you can try out almost any model Porsche on one of the eight driving courses (totaling 4.1 miles.) There’s even an off-road course for the Cayenne and Macan, complete with steep hills and fallen timbers.
Whether you’ve always wanted to drive a Porsche or you want to improve your driving skills — while having the time of your life — this is the place to do it.
Prices range but our visit cost $600 for 90 minutes. Check out all the different Porshes’ you can drive here.
We were lucky enough to test the all-electric Taycan Turbo S (pronounced Tie-khan), a beautiful beast with breath-taking power. The 90 minutes experience pairs you with an expert coach who takes you through the 1.3-mile “handling circuit.”
Our coach — Eric San Vicente — was patient and passionate about teaching us how to handle everything the track throws at a driver.
Test your skills on the ‘modules’ such as the low friction circle, the slippery skidpad, the ice hill and for pure exhilaration, there’s the ‘acceleration straight’ where you can floor it. Fun fact: the track takes you through the banked “Carousel” curve at the Nürburgring.
Think you know how to handle a sportscar in the rain? Wait till you try the slippery skidpad. With the Porsche stability system, you stick to the road no matter how wet but when it’s deliberately deactivated you drift — which of course is great fun — but Eric showed us how not to oversteer, your natural reaction.
Then there’s an “acceleration straight” that functions as a drag strip. When you launch — and it’s really called ‘Launch mode’ — the Taycan Turbo S takes off like a rocket and the G force thrusts you back into the seat. It’s exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.
And even though the Taycan weighs in at 5,000-pounds the high-performance sports car handles like a dream.
If you just want to watch the drivers, that’s fine too. There’s a prime viewing area on the second balcony, a Porsche retail shop, you can peek at race cars at Porsche Motorsport North America, or try one of the state-of-the-art simulators that digitally replicate more than 20 of the most famous racetracks around the world, or simply have a bite to eat at the Speedster Cafe.
Afterward, to reward ourselves, we had sat outside at the 917 (K)afe which overlooks the track. Chef Matt Lee, formerly of the Getty, creates the fresh menu. (The Wagu hamburger was perfect after such an adrenaline adventure!)
The fancy Restaurant 917 dining room is closed due to COVID, so we’ll try that on a return visit.
Did we want to drive the Taycan Turbo S home? Of course, we did.