Situated adjacent to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the Porsche Experience Center (PEC) is a stunning part of Porsche North America's new headquarters that is destined to become a Mecca for Porschephiles everywhere. The PEC is home to a new Technical Training Center for new and veteran Porsche mechanics, a Human Performance Center that uses the latest sports science techniques to aid Porsche race drivers, and a state-of-the-art Business Center available for hosting corporate meetings and events. What you'll want to come to the PEC for, however, is everything else-the awesome features that amount to a heck of an amusement park for grown-ups.
The amenities are posh: The Carrera Cafe serves coffee, drinks, and snacks, while Restaurant 356 serves top-notch food under the direction of Chef Kyle Forson (most recently of Atlanta hot spot The Spence). You can create your ultimate dream car in the Porsche Design Studio, with specialists on hand to assist you. The Classic Car Gallery provides both space for museum pieces and storage for customer/collector cars, along with a Restoration Center. The Driving Simulator allows you to get some virtual seat time in Porsche racers old and new, including the legendary 917 and the 919 that just won at the 24 Hours of LeMans.
The "big ride" at this different kind of theme park is the Test Track area. We should say "rides," though, as there are a variety of ways to live out your Porsche fantasies. There's an Off Road Circuit to push the abilities of the Cayenne SUV; the Handling Circuit simulates a nice country road, where you can unwind your Porsche; the Dynamics Area is a stretch of asphalt that simulates maneuvers one might have to make during daily driving; and the Low-Friction Circle is an endless loop of polished concrete oversteer heaven. It's stunning to see the fleet of nearly 80 cars available to be driven on the Test Track.
We spent most of our time in the 911 Carrera GTS and Cayman GTS. Driving both cars back to back through the Low-Friction Handling Circuit (which uses the same polished concrete as the Low-Friction Circle, incorporating unique curves and turns) really highlighted the innate handling characteristics of each. The Kick Plate features perhaps the best combination of fun and driver education of the Test Track sections: a hydraulically actuated plate "kicks" the car left or right randomly as you hit a wet stretch of epoxy surface. You'll learn more about car control in inclement weather over a few seconds than you would over hours of classroom instruction.
The Porsche Experience Center isn't a cheap ticket, with Test Track time running between $300-$350 for 90 minutes, but we can tell you firsthand that you'll definitely get your money's worth.