Porsche adds more driving thrills in Georgia


ATLANTA — Porsche will invest more than $50 million to build a second driving track at its Atlanta Experience Center, the automaker said Monday.

The 1.3-mile circuit, which will open in the first quarter of 2023, will be connected to the current 1.6-mile driver development track at Porsche’s North American headquarters campus next to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

At the track — which includes on-road and off-road courses — visitors can push their favorite Porsche models to their limit coached by professional drivers.

The expansion is the cornerstone of a 33-acre “multimillion-dollar development” at the headquarters campus that includes a 20,815-square-foot service center and a classic factory restoration center.

“The physical connection a driver enjoys with our sports cars is core to the Porsche brand, which is why we’re expanding this option even as we and our dealers invest in new digital touch points for customers,” Porsche Cars North America CEO Kjell Gruner noted. “The two worlds – digital and real – complement each other.”

The new track will feature elements inspired by iconic racecourses, such as the plunging Corkscrew turn at California’s Laguna Seca Raceway; the steeply banked Karussel (Carousel) corner at Germany’s Nurburgring-Nordschleife; and the curves of Tail of the Dragon in the Smoky Mountains.

The Porsche circuit will feature three new driving modules: a low-friction, wetted 60-meter asphalt circle; an ice hill, with a wet and slick surface along with a hill to demonstrate traction control; and long stretch of asphalt to demonstrate handling capabilities.

The nine Experience Centers globally, including one in Los Angeles, sell the Porsche experience as much as the brand’s sports cars and crossovers.

The Atlanta facility features a classic sports car display, a racing simulator lab, a customization studio and a restaurant.

The Experience Centers create “advocates for the brand,” said Robert DiStanislao, owner of RDS Automotive, which operates a Porsche store in suburban Philadelphia.

The closed circuit gives people a chance to experience the performance of a Porsche, typically not possible when driving on public roads.

“To the degree that they can see the capability of the car, they come back with a new level of enthusiasm and confidence in the brand,” DiStanislao said.

Indeed. About 60 percent of visitors to the Experience Centers don’t own a Porsche. But after a spin around the tracks, 30 percent say they are “very likely” to buy one, Porsche said.

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