Practice makes perfect, and where driving is concerned, there can never be enough especially when it comes to honing the finer elements of car control beyond what’s needed for the daily commute. High performance driving, in particular, should only be attempted in the confines of a closed environment – this makes constant practice of the art difficult without access to a suitable venue.
Some people may say that advanced car control is relevant only for racing drivers, but that could not be further from the truth. Emergency situations can happen in the most mundane of conditions and the unfortunate truth is that the regular driving curriculum does not quite do an adequate job in equipping drivers with the necessary skills to face the unexpected.
Our line of work in this industry gives more frequent access than most to performance driving events organized by car and tyre makers. Having went through the easiest Individual difficulty in the Porsche Media Driving Academy last year, this writer recently returned to Sepang International Circuit to further sharpen his teeth at the next difficulty level – Professional.
The day starts with a briefing covering the topic of safety and a quick refresh on theories regarding grip circles, understeer, oversteer, and the like. The inevitable run-through on finding a good seating position followed – same old stuff, but no understating the importance of getting the basics right before moving on to more advanced learnings.
This being the intermediate course, we get more time behind the wheel. Three of the exercises lined up – slalom, emergency braking, and emergency lane change – were repeats from Individual level experienced last year, however, although we were taught more aggressive lines during the guided track runs in the various Porsche models.
We were also given half-laps behind the wheel of the all-new Porsche Panamera 4S and Turbo, but more on that in a separate article.
Whilst the Porsche MDA was an exclusive event for journalists, similar programmes are replicated for customers and any members of the public willing to pay the admission fee. The chance to practice advanced driving techniques within safe confines is always welcomed and each outing help us sharpen our skills behind the wheel that little bit more.
This being the intermediate of a three-level course, the practices of the day felt largely like revision of the previous year's Individual level exercises but with less theory, more practice, and a little more aggression thrown in. It all adds up to extra practice of things we already know, and in an art as fine as driving, no extra minute of practice ever goes to waste.