Just weeks ago on September 11, Porsche held the opening ceremony for their newest Porsche Experience Centre or PEC. This time, the new facility is based in a country of rich history and fervent competition, especially in the realm of cars. Italy is the new home of Porsche Experience Centre Franciacorta.
Located in Castrezzato, Italy, this PEC is the eighth in a series of worldwide facilities that Porsche has opened over the last decade that focuses on the lifestyle that the Porsche brand offers. From handling circuits to skid plates to restaurants and gift shops the Porsche Experience Center has just about anything a Porsche enthusiast could ever desire.
This newest installment of PECs is not only notable for its amenities, which we will get into later, but also for its location. Castrezzato is in the province of Brescia in Northern Italy. Travel two hours south and you will find yourself in a place called Maranello, Italy, the birthplace of what we now know as Ferrari.
The two companies have been European juggernauts for decades, and while they don’t exactly compete in the same class with their road cars, they most certainly have a red-hot rivalry on their hands.
Porsche claims that this new eighth Porsche Experience Centre Franciacorta is placed strategically in close proximity with the airports and Lake Iseo, but we think a not-so-small reason for its existence in the vineyards of Italy comes from their friendly rivalry with Ferrari.
What PEC Franciacorta Has To Offer
Porsche Experience Centre Franciacorta has two main components: The driver’s paddock and the customer center. The 29-garage driver’s paddock consists of all the track day goodies that you probably don’t have at your local raceways and all the stuff that is required for Porsche-sponsored events.
First, there is the main handling circuit. Providing 2.5km of technical corners and chicanes to help train drivers on more unique tracks, this circuit was actually an existing raceway known as the Autodromo di Franciacorta. Next, there is a low-friction handling circuit. Though smaller than the main circuit, this track is made of a special polished concrete that is designed to allow cars to slide and drift when they otherwise would be gripped. Drivers can theoretically maintain a continuous drift or slide the entire time if they are skilled enough. If not, this surface is meant to teach how to catch a drift and maintain control.
Lastly in the driver’s paddock is the low-friction circle. This is where drivers learn to control oversteer in a safe environment. This type of circle is sometimes covered in water for drivers to train in rainy conditions. Chirs Harris used a circle just like it at Porsche’s Hockenheimring Experience Centre when he set the electric car continuous drift record in a Porsche Taycan.
Just outside the driver’s paddock is a complete offroad playground full of small jumps, gravel paths, and twisties to show off the capabilities of Porsche’s SUVs and other offroadable cars like the Taycan Cross Turismo.
The Customer Center
What’s the use of racing if you can’t party afterward? Well, Porsche has a solution for that, and yes we are using our own hyperbole here but they do offer access to a restaurant and bar area that has a panoramic view of the main handling circuit.
If you have kids, Porsche has you covered with the PEC’s very own kids area and a state-of-the-art racing simulator room with eight of the “latest-generation simulators.” For younger enthusiasts, there is also an e-kart track that uses fully electric go-karts.
The customer center also includes a shopping area that may include things like Porsche Design merchandise or smaller gift shop items as well. And if you have any work-related dealings to attend to while you are on your Italian vacation, there is a business center with a conference room available to guests.
Porsche also claims that by the end of the year there will be a dealer training area in the customer center for members of Porsche’s dealerships to come and learn about their newest products.
Porsche’s Goals For The PEC
In its press release, Porsche was very proud of its commitment to keeping the Porsche Experience Centre Franciacorta on an entirely renewable energy grid. Something that the company has invested in heavily over the past year with things like eFuel production.
Porsche claims that the facility was built from as much of the existing infrastructure as possible, as to waste the least amount of material when constructing this massive 148-acre complex.
These Porsche Experience Centres are starting to pop up more frequently as the years pass. Since October 2019, Porsche has opened PECs at the Hockenheimring, this brand new center at the Autodromo di Franciacorta, and coming in October 2021 will be, arguably, the coolest PEC yet located in Tokyo, Japan.
In total there are currently eight PECs around the world located respectively in Leipzig, Silverstone, Atlanta, Le Mans, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Hockenheimring, and now the Autodromo di Franciacorta in Italy.
From aesthetic improvements and color schemes to a powerful engine and upgraded parts, this car has revision and prestige written all over it.
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