Friday June 25th marked the beginning of our 2-day, 4th annual Porsche Centre Langley Track Experience. A weekend in the South Okanagan full of group driving, gourmet dining, and track instruction, it is the perfect experience for a Porsche enthusiast looking to explore the capabilities of their vehicle. With record breaking heat, and our largest group ever, the weekend also served as a test of the vehicles we proudly sell; more on that later.
The experience began here in Langley, with a morning gathering to stage for our group drive, or rally, to Osoyoos. As guests enjoyed their coffee and conversed over each other's cars, the hot morning sun served as a less than gentle reminder of the 40 something degree temperatures that laid ahead in the forecast. We departed Langley for Osoyoos with a convoy of Porsches and headed towards our stopover point in Manning Park. After pushing through some mid-morning traffic, we made it to Highway 3 where the cars had a chance to stretch their legs through the winding mountain roads. Eventually we made it to our scenic stopover point for lunch, where we were able to do some leg stretching of our own. After the food was settled and the oil had cooled, the group rolled out towards its final destination.
As we reached Spirit Ridge resort in Osoyoos, temperatures had reached 40 plus degrees and would stay there all weekend. After everyone had a chance to freshen up, we regrouped on the patio for our welcome dinner. Guests enjoyed a 4 course meal with wine pairings and a generous amount of water to prepare for the day ahead. Conversation was made easy by the unifying factor of Porsche ownership and, of course, the excellent local wines.
In an attempt to beat the heat, we began our trackday bright and early on the Saturday. Guests arrived at Area 27 around 7am, and began the day with breakfast and a brief classroom instruction session. There was a bit of tension as guests anxiously listened to the head instructor describe the intricate dangers of track driving. His instruction was interjected with the sounds of our own 911 Cup Car screaming down the start-finish straight during its shakedown laps. With each passing of the Cup Car, the tension eased and the guests were ready to go out on track.
Driving was split up into autocross and on track instruction. More experienced drivers were given the space for open lapping. The instructors focussed their efforts on getting the novice group ready to experience the track on their own. Temperatures quickly caught up to our early start, and by the time both groups were out on track it was over 45 degrees celsius. Area 27 is already a technical circuit with high speed braking zones, banking and elevation changes, and tire eating corners. The added high track temperatures made this an especially challenging day of driving; even for the advanced group. To counter this, we quickly relieved some tire pressures and the guests got back to improving on track.
After a quick break for lunch, we headed out for a parade lap with all 24 cars, followed by longer sessions of open lapping with both groups. With a better understanding of the complexities of the circuit -- and a morning of professional instruction under their belts -- the drivers headed out to explore the limits of their vehicles. As guests lapped the track in their own vehicles, they also had the unique opportunity to experience the track as a passenger in our Cup Car.
As the day drew to a close, the temperature at the track was reading 47 degrees in the air and up to 65 degrees on the tarmac. Despite these conditions, there was not a single incident of spinning, going off track, or a vehicle overheating. The head instructor (with thousands of days of track experience) remarked that any other brand-specific event would have had at least one vehicle failure under those conditions. However, there was not a single issue with vehicles or drivers throughout the entire weekend. For that we would like to thank our service team, the great people in Stuttgart, and our excellent group of guests.Written June 2021