By Miranda Lightstone-Styker
Yesterday, despite the rather
shitty bad weather in Calabogie, I made my way to the track once again to get behind the wheel of some rather fast cars: the Porsche Targa4 and the brand new Porsche Boxster Spyder.
Oh faithful reader, I wish you could have been with me in the passenger’s seat. What an incredible feeling these cars have on the track. I tried to think of the appropriate word: fantastic (not good enough), phenomenal (it’s not a rare occurence, they are like that all the time), amazing (what, are we in high school here?), incredible (Disney ruined this one) … so I’ve decided to come up with my own term for the day.
Thank you very much, I’ll be here all week.
No, but seriously. Porsche has successfully designed car which they claim is track ready and, surprisingly, it is. The cars we were in yesterday were stock, straight from the dealer cars. And they handled the track like pro race cars.
I started my afternoon off behind the wheel of the Spyder, top down (despite the grey clouds and eminent rain). The first few laps were all about getting to know the track. With a professional driver beside me, he guided me through the turns and gears so I took the perfect line around the circuit. When I finally had a feel for the track (and the car) and was able to really experience all the car had to offer, it was just inspiring.
Like I said a few days ago when I explained why I love horsepower; it’s so important to have a healthy respect for the cars you drive. Sure, I knew technically the car could handle the track. With a mid-engine design and rigid chassis, I knew my stability through the corners was going to be great. But mentally, it took some getting used to. I had a healthy dose of fear for the car’s abilities, and that allowed me to feel out the situation before I barreled nose-first into the barrier with overconfidence.
Once I’d had my fill of the Spyder (read: the next journalist wanted a go and I had to get out), I hopped into the Targa4. I expected to experience the same feeling on the track and jump right into a fast lap with the Targa. Such was not the case. It felt so different in the corners from the Spyder, that I had to learn the track all over again. With all the weight in the back (engine) and all-wheel drive, the Targa was a completely different beast — still an incredible beast, but so different nonetheless.
When my time was up with the Targa, I sat and chatted with the Porsche rep for a few minutes as we sat in the car.
Rick had a massive accident a few years back, and he was telling me about how he watched a physiotherapist treat her patient while we was waiting to have his session with her. He was telling me the story because I asked how they chose their instructors at Porsche. Rick said that the moment he saw the compassion in the physiotherapist towards her patient, he knew that that was the quality he wanted to see in his instructors on the road.
And that’s when a little lightbulb went off in my head.
Porsche is a supercar company. They are right up there with Lamborghini and Ferrari and yet they always seemed a bit different to me. And now I know why.
Porsche has compassion for its drivers and its owners. Porsche understands why people buy Porsches, and if they think their owners don’t have that understanding then they help them discover it.
Case in point; while I was at the track yesterday there were about 30 other privately owned Porsches at the track all being given driving lessons and track time in their cars. From Cayennes to a Carrera GT, they were all there. And they were learning why they bought a Porsche over the others.
Ferrari and Lamborghini (not to name names of course) sit high and mighty, even when it comes to their products and standing behind their beliefs. They are the ultimates in the automotive world and they want everyone to know that; even their customers. They don’t have compassion for their customer’s (essentially their lifeblood, their family) needs emotionally behind the wheel.
You could say that Ferrari is the douche of all cars and Lambo is his little wannabe sidekick. While Porsche is the cool, popoular kid who stays after school to help the special needs kids with their homework.
Did I just make some really bad analogies there?
Anyways, I hope my point is in there somewhere; Porsche is about passion on the road and compassion behind the wheel.