22 August 2017

Porsche kicks off Media Driving Academy in Sepang, Malaysia

Photo: Porsche Centre Singapore

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The third edition of Porsche Asia Pacific’s Media Driving Academy kicked off from July 4th, 2017. The drive gave journalists from the region an opportunity to drive the new Panamera Turbo and Panamera 4s on the racetrack, among a fleet of other Porsche vehicles. In a first, the MDA also made the Cayman GT4 Clubsport, a 283 kW mid-engined racer for motorsport newcomers available for hot laps!

First launched in 2015 at Bira Circuit, Pattaya, Thailand, the MDA allows media to experience the maximum performance of Porsche cars through consecutive courses designed to sharpen driving skills in a safe environment with world class Porsche instructors. This year, journalists from 10 countries in the Asia Pacific region participated in one of the three courses – Individual, Professional and Elite. Apart from on track activities, participants also got to experience theory workshops, which included a motorsports conditioning session, driving physics workshop and a Q&A with Porsche’s certified instructors.

A journalist has to start with the Individual course and upon completion, he can graduate to the Professional and subsequently the Elite batch.

Earl Bamber, the winner of 24 hours of Le Mans – the world’s longest running endurance race – with his Porsche 919 Hybrid shared his inputs with the participants of Individual and Elite courses. He gave us a taste of a day in the life of a Porsche LMP1 driver.

I was a part of the Individual training program which focused on the fundamentals of vehicle control like slalom braking, drag race and cornering exercises. During the Slalom competition, I applied left foot brake method for a bit. However, the car did not seem responsive. It was then I realized the folly of the techniques.   This technique is not workable when foot and accelerator work at the same time due to the safety feature. This technique was applicable in cars produced until a few years ago, but not in current generation models. Further, we were also introduced to various Porsche electronic driving aids for the use on and off the race track.

Meanwhile the Professional training program guided journalists through the approaches in tackling bends accurately. The program also focused on modules where journalists were able to complete full laps of the circuit. Besides the usual brake and lane change exercise, instructors also integrated the curved slalom along with complex cornering exercises.

Finally, the Elite batch was mainly concentrated for journalists who are accomplished drivers themselves. The program was devised to support independent sport-oriented driving. Through the use of high performance Porsche cars, trail braking, controlled oversteering and driving on the track, journalists got to experience the full performance of Porsche cars along with insights.

The day was rounded off with a grand total of approximately eight laps around the famed Sepang track, which really allowed the journalists to put the days training to use.

Thanks to the kind people from Porsche who organize this media academy driving, a lot of budding journalists got the opportunity to brush shoulders with the who’s who of the industry and meet colleagues from other media houses as well.