And PGA Cars brought the electrics!
Photos by Tope Crisostomo
After too long a hiatus, PGA Cars brought the big guns out to track again. With the running of its much-awaited and very exclusive World Of Supercars event just before the lunar new year, the Clark International Speedway was again the place to go for its unique combination of passion, excellence and elegance.
A most interesting and quick selection of the country’s best Porsche, Audi, Lamborghini and Bentley vehicles were seen in the pits, paddocks, and on the circuit. Owners and guests arrived to a very much-appreciated detail, in-car driver registration under a shaded canopy.
From there, you would be directed either to parking, or, if you wanted to bring your car out onto the track, to a special area where they gave everything a quick check. Excitement began almost immediately.
The three days were built to offer a wide variety of experiences. Briefings were held after breakfast or lunch, depending on when you arrived. Two special drivers flew in for support. Frenchman Benjamin Rouget and Macanese Rodolfo Avila brought forth their years of race car experience and instruction as they spoke to everyone about how things would go.
Very interesting was the explanation of the ladder of passion and education set up, but Porsche, where the two instructors spoke of the track that could begin with days like this and training at places like the Porsche Experience Center in China or Japan. Interested drivers could work their way up the ladder with additional training that could actually lead to Porsche racing series runs.
On-track education and experience brought guests through several courses, including acceleration and brake runs where they could feel the straight line performance of different cars. Tight slalom runs allowed them to see how the cars and SUVs could really handle. Open circuit guided lapping allowed them to put their experience and education to the test, all watched over by the instructors. Later in the day, owners were allowed to bring their own vehicles onto the track, if they so wished.
Off-track sessions, meanwhile, included a road course to feel how the vehicles would be in real life, and a special course was set up to allow all to see, feel and hear what happens when a Cayenne balances on three wheels or an e-Tron SUV goes into a pool of water that reaches the doors.
The event wasn’t just designed for the gearheads. Families were in attendance, and partners were choosing to get behind the wheel or take the passenger seat while the experienced race car drivers went around the track at close to racing speeds.
The event wasn’t just about the technical, it was also about the feel. There were drivers who were regular track day attendees and others who had just bought their Porsches or Lamborghinis. There was a Bentley Bentayga Speed in attendance. Couples wanted to learn about their new cars together, for fun and for safety.
What made the event special was also the ambience. Everyone was happy to be back, and it was a day both exciting and relaxing. Attendees got a lot of time with the Porsche drives and asked questions about the Porsche Experience Center programs, instructors and guests swapped stories about their own cars and drives, and as always the merchandise on hand drew its own traffic.
The World Of Supercars event and other such experiences held by PGA Cars have had to take a break over the last few years. The commitment to bring the passion back to the Philippines though was constant, and it was great to see everything come back stronger. Guests were happy to be trained and guided by the Porsche race car drivers on hand, and also just to chat with them and ask questions and listen to their stories. While the vast majority of guests had the iconic engines under their hoods, they were also very interested in talking electrics. The full electrics from Audi opened many eyes, with the SUVs surprising both because of what they could do in water and on simulated rough terrain but also how planted they were at speed on a fast racetrack. The electric sedans like the e-Tron GT were just astounding for their well-balanced low center of gravity handling. The newly-launched Porsche Cayennes showed the value of their two-chamber air suspension by providing a wider range from Normal, Comfort to Sport, and Sport Plus with very tactile responses.
And yes, pushing the “burst of speed” button that sits on the steering wheel dial of the right Porsche sports cars will definitely still make your heart race a little faster on the straights and slaloms.