Right at the entrance of the tracks, neatly lined up and prepped for high-revving action were 27 Porsche nameplates at the beck and call of the participants of the Porsche World Road Show 2023.
The excitement was quite palpable, as this year’s event was the first since 2020, and Porsche has been at it for years through 45 countries around the world. With their cars flown in directly from Germany, Porsche also fielded-in professional driving instructors (many of them former race car drivers) to provide their customers and guests alike, with an adrenaline-filled experience showcasing the features and capabilities of the latest models in their exceptional lineup, while sharpening their driving skills as well.
Porsche Indonesia General Manager Alexander Riedel was ecstatic that they were chosen to kick off this year’s road show, and they chose to do it at the 3.965-kilometer track of the Sentul Circuit, which includes a 900-meter straight, complemented by tight challenging curves–exactly what Porsches are very much at home with. This roadshow kick-off is also very significant, for it coincides with Porsche’s 75th anniversary, also the celebration of the Porsche 911’s 60th year, and the 19 decisive victories for Porsche so far at the GT Class of the 24 Hours Of Le Mans–and they’re currently gunning for a 20th victory!
Breathtaking roll call
Porsche customers know very well the capabilities of their beloved rides borne out of exacting design and engineering that are geared towards uncompromising sporty performance, but Porsche is relentless in outdoing themselves with every single new release, hence a hands-on demonstration of what’s new and made better on each 2023 model–from the fully electric Taycan, the Boxster and Cayman models, the Panamera, Macan and Cayenne SUV models, Hybrid variants of such, and of course their iconic 911. While we were wowed by the 718 Cayman GT4 RS glimmering under the spotlight, we were pleasantly surprised by the special reveal of the 992-generation all-new Porsche 911 GT3 RS; Porsche’s flagship road-legal track-ready weapon. It was certainly a treat, for its extreme (all functional) aerodynamic details decked-out in carbon fiber were stunning. It was hard to miss its massive rear wing, which was active like an aircraft’s flaps, activated upon braking. And its exhaust sound from its high-revving flat-six engine was enough to raise any car enthusiast’s pulse rate. All participants, this author included, were promised extensive seat time on various activities with all the nameplates, on and off-track. And to sweeten the deal, some of us were to have an asphalt-peeling shotgun ride on the newly launched 911 GT3 RS as well. Whoa.
While Porsche owners know all too well what they’re getting into when they signed up for high-performance highs when they signed on the dotted line, some if not most of them can still benefit from advanced instruction when it comes to maximizing (or getting a good dose of, at the very least) their Porsches. I’m not quite there yet as an aspiring owner, but as a media participant, I fortunately get the same exact experience. While I’d like to narrate each exercise in detail, I’ll just sprint on over to what I consider as the highlights of an entire day of driving Porsches on a racetrack overseas. Geez, I just love the sound of the last part of that sentence.
The slalom was the last driving exercise of the day, not the biggest highlight for me, but the most rewarding. Literally. Behind the wheel of a 2023 Porsche 718 Cayman GTS, we all took turns on a short course strewn out with traffic cones as obstacles. The objective was to stitch through them as fast as we could without touching or knocking any of them down, go through a quick U-turn, go back at full speed, to hard-brake and stop in a designated box. Simple as it reads, it’s a game of nerves and precision, driving the quick and agile Cayman while avoiding errors brought about by adrenaline, and well- miscalculation. Glad to say, out of five teams that competed for the fastest run, yours truly bagged the second fastest time, to the delight of an adoptive team of Indonesians. Fastest time was by an ex-racecar pro driver, which made this author’s win all the more fulfilling.
We took Porsche Cayennes through a lengthy off-road course to demonstrate the premium luxury SUV’s worthiness, way off the tarmac with considerably difficult obstacles, that predictably, was a walk-in-the-park for the Cayennes, which are actually some of the most capably-equipped SUVs in that regard, with the benefit of being remarkably quick on-road of course. We also got the chance to do launch control in a Porsche 911 GT3 to test its slingshot-like acceleration and immense braking capability, getting a good feel of its 0-100 km/h speed as well, which is rated at only 3.2 seconds. Via launch control (left foot on the brake, right foot floored on the throttle–then release the Kraken!), the experience was delightfully brutal. I also was one of the few that was given the opportunity to ride shotgun in the all-new 911 GT3 RS, and my Indonesian pro driving instructor named Admi, gave me facial cramps from smiling too much throughout the smoking hot lap. The 911 GT3 RS certainly was engineered to thrill, with its immensely sharp handling and stunningly fast yet tenacious dynamics–whew! Still intoxicated with adrenaline, I was given the wheel of a 911 GT3 to drive for a hot lap myself–and boy, I almost lost composure from the thrill of blasting through the straights, carving the curves, and right there, I simply repeated to myself Tom Cruise’s signature line: “Porsche, there is no substitute.”
That wasn’t my first Porsche World Roadshow experience, as the Philippines hosted it as well a few years back via PGA Cars, but this indeed has been the most memorable to date. With Porsche’s latest advancements in precision engineered performance, timeless design and advanced tech and safety features on its latest nameplates, it’s a roadshow meant not only to showcase all that, but to reiterate what the brand is all about.
One needs to experience a Porsche to fully understand. Wunderbar!