One melody, one scent and the mental images start pouring in. Memories, associations and dreams are like pages from very personal adventure stories. On rare occasions, even a single word is enough to awaken powerful feelings and aspirations. A word like Porsche.
“Porsche is more than just a car. Porsche is a promise of a unique brand and product experience,” affirms Detlev von Platen, Board Member for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG. “And since we opened at Silverstone in 2008, our Porsche Experience Centres have been delivering on that promise in the best way possible.”
The tenth experience centre of this kind is now being built. Its opening is scheduled for 2024 in Toronto, the fastest growing city in North America with its ever-increasing community of sports car fans from Zuffenhausen. PECs turn dreams into real world experiences for all of the senses. The soul of the Porsche brand can be experienced here, whether they own a car with the crest or not (yet).
The PEC world is diverse and one-of-a-kind in the automotive industry. Every centre is different, uniquely integrated into the specific culture and landscape of the location, and yet still carries the same genes. Toronto will be the first city version, located just
“Porsche is more than just a car. Porsche is a promise of a unique brand and product experience.” Detlev von Platen
30 minutes by car from the downtown area in a very urban environment. Driving is part of the experience here, too. Porsche is building a two-kilometre track that, like all PECs, can offer year-round driving and instructor-led training. The building was designed by HOK, the global architecture, engineering and planning firm. It is known for projects such as the Apple campus in Cupertino, the Dali Museum in Florida and the headquarter of Porsche Cars North America in Atlanta. This PEC is also geared towards sustainability through the use of innovative technologies.
Home of British Motor Racing
It has been a decade and a half since Porsche opened its first PEC on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. “Home of British Motor Racing” is written above the entrance to the circuit where the first official Formula 1 World Championship race ever took place in 1950. The presence of racing history and historic vehicles is one of the elements that characterises all of the PECs. In thrilling exhibitions, with films, literature and simulated experiences – for example at the wheel of the brand's successful race cars. The current models of the present are derived from the past. The entire range can be experienced on the on-site tracks, from all-electric to hybrid or combustion engine sports cars. Challenging handling courses, wet or dry skid pads, low-friction handling courses and offroad courses. Virtually any driving situation can be represented in the PECs.
On the one hand to improve your own vehicle control, on the other to safely experience the performance of these sports cars and to better understand vehicles and technology. Highly qualified instructors are always responsive to the exact needs of their guests and accompany them on their journey toward achieving their personal goals. The focus is on the person as the decisive element in every cockpit. That's why drivers in Silverstone and other locations can also undergo health checks or relaxing massages in the integrated Porsche Human Performance facilities.
The simulator training in the state-of-the-art SimLabs includes features that range from fun laps on international racetracks to a serious running-gear setup including virtual reality technology. Fine cuisine and bookable event locations are an invitation to exchange ideas at every location.
At the opening ceremony in England in 2008, no one could really have known that the idea of translating a brand into an approachable cosmos of experiences would actually become a worldwide success model. But the idea was already being planned at the turn of the millennium as part of the design of the Porsche factory in Leipzig. The location, which opened in 2002, now welcomes more than 40,000 guests from all over the world each year and has also officially been called a Porsche Experience Centre since May 2021. In 2019, Porsche's home country received its second PEC at the Hockenheimring.
Expansion across continents
Just like in Hockenheim and Silverstone, the PECs in Le Mans (opened in 2015) and Shanghai (2018) are also ideal for visiting the nearby racetracks. In the USA, Porsche created its first PEC overseas with the centre at the headquarters of Porsche Cars North America in 2015. Just one year later, the second opened in Los Angeles in light of the particularly large Californian community.
The uniqueness of the two properties quickly made them popular venues for corporate parties, galas and fundraising events as well as backdrops for television shows and films. Imagination knows no limits. The first dynamic wedding took place in Atlanta in 2018 – a couple tied the knot at a speed of 110 km/h in the back of a Cayenne.
Porsche created new architectural highlights in 2021 with its PECs in Franciacorta in northern Italy and in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo. Franciacorta is a futuristic statement with a striking arched structure, nestled in the vineyards of Lombardy and easily accessible from Milan, Bergamo and Verona airports. At the gates of Tokyo, on the other hand, in the area surrounding the largest city in the world, the inspiration for the architecture has local roots.
The exterior design is inspired by Edo Kiriko, a traditional Japanese craft. A pattern of diagonal lines, called yaraimon, characterises and protects the facade of the main building. The detailed interior features Japanese stucco and gardens. Highly qualified instructors are always responsive to the exact needs of their guests and accompany them on their journey toward achieving their personal goals.
Wherever and however people plan to visit a Porsche Experience Centre – when they leave, they are left with memories to reminisce over. Maybe it's the smell of a leather interior, the tactile experience of a steering wheel, the visual delight of the iconic lines, the encounter with moving history or the gut feeling at high lateral acceleration. Every second, their brains will take in vast amounts of stimuli and translate them into emotions. They can revel in these sensory experiences like a page right out of their own adventure story. That's a promise.
Text first published in the Porsche magazine STORIES.
Author: Heike Hientzsch
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