On 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:-
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 correct 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To find out more about Porsche Kuwait, visit their site as they often update it with upcoming events and the latest news concerning Porsche:
The Porsche Club Kuwait Website/Instagram