Porsches are meant to be driven hard. So that's exactly what we did when we got to Sepang for the Porsche Driving Experience 2014.
It's a tough job. But someone's got to do it. We were given the 'task' of driving some of the best Porsches recently at a driving event at Sepang, Malaysia. Along with the 911 Turbo S, a car most would consider to be the flagship of the 911 range, were two other variants that were waiting to be spanked on the Malaysian track, a Carrera 2S and a Carrera 4.
The latest GT3 had been brought in as well, but as some of you would know by now from the widespread news, it was facing some technical issues so it had to sit this one out. Shame.
On hand at the track event were Porsche Carrera Cup Asia drivers/instructors who nanny-ed each driver for the laps around the circuit. Having driven on Sepang only a handful of times, I appreciated the tips and pointers they gave and found myself able to take each subsequent lap faster and more confidently.
First up was the Carrera 2S. I should say at this point that this was my favorite drive. With 400 bhp and rear-wheel drive, the C2S was sharp, nimble and had more than adequate power. The noise it made as it roared down the back straight was simply orgasmic too. On the track where the tarmac is smooth, the 911 felt totally at home. There's truly nothing like a naturally-aspirated, rear-wheel driven sports car. The drive was incredible.
Moving onto the Carrera 4, you can immediately feel the difference in the way the car behaves. The 4WD drivetrain is there to keep you safe, and it doesn't waste time in displaying that attribute. The C4 definitely feels sure-footed even when you go hard into a corner and gun out of it. But as a result, there is a weighty-ness about how it handles. The C4 comes across as being less agile than the C2S, but it is precise nonetheless.
It was time to hop into the brand new 911 Turbo S. With 560 bhp and 700 Nm, the Turbo S is a heat-seeking missile looking for a hot target! Floor it and it will fly. From corner to corner, and down the long straights, the Turbo S will hit 248 km/h before having to brake for the first corner on the track. Of course, with my skill level, I was a lot more gentle with the throttle than my instructor was when he took me out on a hot lap.
Yet, the stupendous power of the Turbo S is jaw-droppingly massive. Like the C4, it is equipped with 4WD and inspires confidence even when you building us crazy speeds. Porsche's excellent 7-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox is the sole transmission available on the Turbo and Turbo S. You could use the flappy paddles to switch gears, but we left the gearbox to its own devices and focused on coming back to the pits in one piece.
Back at the pit reception, Porsche experts were on hand to take us through the new models. The Turbo S we drove was fitted with a Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) package as standard equipment, with six and four piston monobloc aluminum calipers. Center-locking hubs are in place of the conventional wheel bolts on the Turbo S too. To improve downforce, the front lip extends automatically - as does the rear spoiler - giving the car the up to a total of 132 kg of downforce at 300km/h.
All in all it was an excellent experience with each of the three Porsches on the F1-class circuit. The C2S may be my favourite drive, but the mighty Turbo S will remain as one of the most insanely quick and capable cars I've driven. I couldn't help but wonder what the track-focused GT3 would have been like though...