Porsche Kuwait Test Run Coverage

Screenshot_2013-12-17-22-13-37On the 15th and 16th of December, Porsche Kuwait held an exclusive event at the SIRBB Circuit in Shuwakh which allowed a selected number of car and Porsche enthusiasts to truly test out the various unique features of the current Porsche line-up. The event was organized by Porsche Kuwait and involved a number of driving experts/instructors to guide the participants through the event. The event was well organized, and the staff were extremely helpful and friendly, and this showed us what sets Porsche apart from their competitors.

The event was not open to the general public, and was an invite-only event. I got my Media/Participant pass thanks to my friend Ahmed, who is actively involved in car meetups and events.

The test run takes place on the 15th and 16th respectively with no difference between the two test runs. I participated on the test run that took place on the 16th. The event started 3.30 and the day was planned out according to the Schedule. The schedule was as follows:-

SIRBB Circuit

SIRBB Circuit

15.30 – Arrival & Welcome Speeches

16:00 – Section 1

17:00 – Section 2

18:00 – Coffee/Snack break

18:30 – Section 3

19:30 – Demo/Taxi Laps

20:30 – Awards & Farewell Speech

Upon arrival, each participant was assigned a group. After the arrival speeches that was given,we were introduced to our instructors, and each group went down the track with their groups, to start the series of exercises that were planned for us. We were given a brief safety talk about the correcIMG_5584t position of driving, and how to properly adjust your seats and the correct way to hold your steering wheel.

There were four different exercises that each team had to take part in. Before the start of each exercise, the instructor would briefly explain the point and technique of each exercise, and then would take each participant in a demo lap of the exercise, before finally allowing the participant to take part.

Paul describing the techniques for the Slalom

Paul describing the techniques for the Slalom

For our group, the first exercise for us was the Slalom exercise with the 911 Carrera S. If you aren’t familiar with what a Slalom exactly is; it’s basically an arranged “exercise” with laid out cones that you are supposed to navigate through. The point of this exercise was to test out the dynamic handling of the Carrera S. In all honestly, this is a superb car to drive hard.

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It’s extremely light (well, compared to my Titan anyway!) as well as very stable. Also, it’s direct steering doesn’t get “twitchy” with increasing speeds. The car is well balanced, and it’s chassis control reduces body roll while cornering. The car maneuvered around the cones with ease. 

The 911 Carrera S

The 911 Carrera S

After that adrenaline filled rush of the 911 Carrera S, we headed down the track towards the Panamera GTS for our second exercise: Launch Control and braking. If you aren’t familiar with Launch Control, it’s an electronic aid that helps drivers accelerate from a standing start. The procedure was to push the brake pedal as hard as you can, and then do the same with the gas pedal. Once the Control Launch signal shows up, you release the brakes while still flooring the gas pedal, which sends you out flying towards the cones. As soon as you reach the cones, you slam your brakes as hard as you can to test out the braking.

Panamera GTS

Panamera GTS

Interior of the Panamera GTS

Interior of the Panamera GTS

While I personally have a huge dislike of the Panamera because of it’s bulkiness and design (Which I feel is un-Porsche like) my opinion of the car slightly changed once I got the chance to actually try it out. It’s interior is very well and beautifully designed.It was luxurious, spacious, and very comfortable. The Panamera handled itself quiet well, had a smooth yet powerful acceleration, and the braking was extremely sensitive and highly responsive. Needles to say, the Panamera had grown on me a bit.

The third, and probably the most fun session was the Timing Lap with the Boxster S. The point of this session was to test out everything the car had to offer: Acceleration, handling, stability, braking and most importantly – your skills. Each participant got a practice lap and a timed lap, with each participants time being recorded and compared to the other’s times for a mini-competition. As for the car itself, it was a quiet enjoyable. It’s acceleration was great, the car was well  responsive and stable on turns and was overall a very smooth, comfortable and powerful ride.

Cayenne V6

Cayenne V6

The last exercise we took part in was the braking test with the Cayenne V6. We got to experience hands on Porsche’s ABS system. If you aren’t familiar with the ABS system, it’s a system designed to prevent your brakes from locking up during hard braking. This allows you to brake hard while at the same time retaining directional control and steer clear of any obstacles. With this exercise, you are basically told to drive like you’re about to crash. You are given instructions to drive the car as fast as you can (basically flooring the gas) and once reaching the cones, you slam the brakes as hard as you can while simultaneously navigating/steering the car out of the cones. While it was kind of a scary exercise, having driven the Porsche Cayenne before, I knew there was nothing to worry about. This is a car you can trust while doing such exericses.

20131216_201552_Richtone(HDR)The final event of the day was a drifting/demo taxi lap around the track. Each participant withdrew a paper from a hat and was randomly assigned a car. It was either the 911 Carrera S, the Boxster S or the Cayman. Each participant then got the chance to drive along with instructors with one of those cars. The instructors took 2 laps around the circuit – dirifting! And it was incredible. I got the chance to tag along with the instructor with the Cayman, and man was he a pro! (Afterall it is what they do for a living!) Incredible handling techniques and accuracy around the circuit.

Porsche Team

All in all, this final demo lap concluded the activities for the event. Everyone then headed back to the gathering point in which we were given a farewell speech by  the  Porsche Kuwait staff and the instructors. The top three with the best timed laps were announced, and the winner was Salem Sawrij (and honestly it was a well deserved win – guy is a talent!)

Before I left, I managed to interview Andy Boux,  a registered Porsche trainer as well as the Head of Operations EMEA, who was responsible organizing and getting the instructors together.

Me: What would you say the purpose of this event was?

Andy: The purpose of the Porsche Test Run here in Kuwait is to give existing potential Porsche customers the opportunity to drive the cars in a dynamic environment and also ofcourse a safe environment.

Me: How would you execute one of the Porsche Test Runs?

Andy: From our side,we come over and sit with the Porsche Center here in Kuwait, and we would choose our model line up (based on the popular models here in Kuwait) and then we would look at the venue and decide what would be the most safe way to show off the car and also the most exciting way for the customer test drive the car as well.

Me: And how would you rate this event overall?

Andy: It’s been fantastic,again one of the main part of the event is always the people and here in Kuwait the welcome is always really really good and the people are always really fun to work with and ofcourse car crazy aswell and again this new venue is fantastic it’s absolutely ideal for what we need to do and again it’s a big step for Kuwait

Me: So would you do it again here?

Andy: Absolutely. We are already planning to come back. Everyone here is really welcoming and we can’t think of anything more positive to say about Kuwait it’s fantastic.

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All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful event by Porsche. Very well executed and organized. All the staff involved were extremely friendly and professional and they even took time to get to know the participants and converse with them. The only complaint I have, is that there were no parking spaces organized for us near the circuit and some participants (including me) hand to park quiet far off from the circuit as there were no available places to park.

Paul handing over my Certificate!

Paul handing over my Certificate!

Porsche Team with some participants!

Porsche Team with some participants!

To find out more about Porsche Kuwait, visit their site as they often update it with upcoming events and the latest news concerning Porsche:

http://www.porsche.com/middle-east/_kuwait_/

The Porsche Club Kuwait Website/Instagram

http://porscheclubkuwait.com.kw/

@porscheclubq8

The Struggle of being a Female Car Enthusiast(s) in Kuwait.

 

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“This car is not for a girl.”

“Why are you even into that? It’s a guy thing.”

“Umm..Girls shouldn’t even be driving that.”

“You have short hair..you like cars..you’re a tomboy aren’t you?”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I’d be a millionaire by now. Being a Female Car enthusiast is tough, especially since it’s a male dominant field. But you know when it becomes even more tougher? Being a Female Car Enthusiast, in Kuwait.

I, by occupation, am a mechanic (for clarification: I work in the oil sector, not in an automotive shop). I studied it for two years, I studied the theory. I’ve done the practical. I ran a full restoration project on my 1965 Chevrolet Impala. I’ve taken apart and put together engines. That doesn’t make me an expert, I still learn new stuff every single day.  that doesn’t make better than the guys, but that doesn’t make the guys any better than me.

My passion for cars started from a young age. Being heavily influenced by my late Uncle, who was heavily involved with cars and motorcycles, the first car that I wanted to own when I was a kid, was either a 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS or a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T. So when I graduated highschool, it wasn’t shocking that I picked Mechanical Engineering. It would be the next natural step for me . And I always knew, from the moment that I entered college, being in the mechanical Field/Car Enthusiast field would be a challenge.

In 2011, I got my licence. The first car I owned was the Hummer H3. I didn’t really want the car, but since I had no other option and no job, my hands were tied. I am a firm believer that your car is a reflection of who you are. And the H3? Wasn’t even close to defining me. So it wasn’t until I got my first job, and my first salary, that I began being interested into changing the car to make it look more like “me”. The rush of the sudden financial freedom, meant that I could pretty much do what I wanted. So the first thing I spent my salary on was new Mud Terrain Tires. It was here at this moment, that began my mark as a car enthusiast. I realized that by modding the car, be it just by appearance, kind of makes you develop a relationship with a car. To quote Jeremy Clarkson:

 “It’s what non-car people don’t get. They see two-tons of wires, glass, metal, and rubber. That’s all they see. People like you and I, have an unshakeable belief that cars are living entities. You can develop a relationship with a car. And that’s what non-car people don’t get.”

Fortunately for me the H3 didn’t stay with me for too long. The Inline 5 just wasn’t cutting it out for me. So the next thing I laid my hands on was a 2006 Nissan Titan. And my god, it is a beauty. The car itself just screams “THIS IS SARAH!” . Running on a 5.6 L V8 and a 6-inch lift of awesomeness. This car was an offroad goddess.

It was also during this time, that I started my move into the classic car field. The field I always wanted to be in. I purchased a 1965 Chevrolet Impala. The car required alot of work. It was here that I laid down a full restoration project. With the advice of friends, the help of the automotive shop. We worked 6-7 months to restore the car, to what I wanted it to be.

Besides all of this, barely anyone takes you seriously here. In fact, the majority of feedback I have gotten here is quiet negative. Ranging from dirty looks, to sexist comments, people believing that I have no idea what I’m talking about (Just because I happen to be a female), and that I’m into this just because I crave attention. The back talk, hypocrisy, and the amount of times people tried to rip me off (in shops and what not) is something I’ve dealt with, quiet a lot. This is just goddamn sexist nonsense.

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On my way to work!

In Kuwait, “mechanic” and “girl” are not mutually exclusive states of existence. In fact, the number of girls I personally know who are interested in cars and mechanics, is next to zero. It’s not to say that  they don’t exist, because they do, and some of them are getting up there. Girl Street Racers, Drifters, Dragsters, Motorcyclists, and a couple of others who also work in this line of work/own autoshops. However, they are, we are, the minority. Being a female in Kuwait is hard enough. But being a Car Enthusiast and a female. Is even more harder.

There is a concept called gender essentialism. If you guys have no idea what that is, I’ll just explain it in a few words. It’s the basic idea that men are men because they are men and there are a certain set of characteristics that are manly. The opposite is the same. Women are women because they follow a certain set of characteristics. And guess what? This is all just determined by your genetics. This just basically means that all women don’t like to work on cars, aren’t supposed to buy “serious” cars (performance/offroading/classics etc). Because we, as woman, aren’t really biologically capable of it.

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Me, taking apart a Smallblock Chevy V8 (350)

Where automotives are involved, the gearhead sexism is also here.

Going to Shuwaikh (The Industrial area, where most automotive shops are located) is a nightmare. Ripoffs, Dirty looks. Like, an alien creature that has just arrived at Earth. I do remember when I was looking to buy an engine for my Chevy, a guy tried to sell me a 350 that was in awful condition for 350 K.D (That’s about 1300 dollars). Why? Because he assumed that I, a female, did not know what a clean engine is supposed to look like.

I’ll give you that a woman who knows about car is not something common. But ripping us off? With this amount of money? That’s just damn pathetic.

And let me tell you something else, it’s not just with the guys here. I have to deal with women as well. I’ve had a couple of times women who come up to me and tell me that I shouldn’t be driving this car, or being involved in cars because it’s not womanly. “How are you supposed to get married when you are into this manly things!”  This question isn’t worth wasting my time to answer. Trust me, if I ever choose to marry, I won’t be marrying someone who has a mentality of an idiot. Seriously ladies. How are we supposed to move forward when we can’t even get support from our own? We get enough of it from the guys, now we have to deal with you too? Yes, I’m a girl, yes I love working on my cars and getting my hand dirty. That doesn’t make me any less different than you. You shouldn’t be making this even more difficult for us.

The complete restoration/work of my 1965 Chevrolet Impala includes: Engine Swap, Paint Job, Working on the Car Body, Brakes Exhaust and Electrical work completely redone.

The complete restoration/work of my 1965 Chevrolet Impala includes: Engine Swap, Paint Job, Working on the Car Body, Brakes Exhaust and Electrical work completely redone.

I am a grown adult. You are a grown adult. So get your brain in gear and start thinking. Just because you were born with XY chromosomes does not give you the right to undermine my capabilities/knowledge, to judge or to talk about me. The Automotive industry is not mutually exclusive for men. Not in Kuwait, Not in the Middle East, Not in the rest of the world.

I will continue to do what I do, despite what anyone thinks. If you think I’m a tomboy? Well, I really don’t care. You don’t like what I drive? Guess what? I don’t care either. What I do hope for though is for this society to grow up, and start respecting each other. Start supporting each other. How is any progress supposed to be made when all people are hating and trying to destroy one another? Be supportive. Be respectful. As a gearhead, I am no different than anyone. We are all joined by our passion for cars, the smell of burning petrol and rubber, the sound and power your engine makes, so we should not let any differences, especially ones that we have no control over, like our gender, come between that. We aren’t living in جاهلية anymore.

What I do have to say is thanks to all my female and male friends/family who have been supportive through my ongoing  journey in this field. You are awesome and I hope this society learns from good hearted people like you.

“She believed she could. So she did.”

And to all you who still think that females can’t do it? Well. Here you go:

http://jalopnik.com/5848758/meet-the-first-woman-to-lead-a-lemans+winning-race-team

http://jalopnik.com/5813981/ten-awesome-women-drivers/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/goodwood-festival-of-speed/8618437/Goodwood-Festival-of-Speed-2011-sister-act.html