In Canada, the Porsche Driving Experience consists of two separate programs including Camp4 (winter) and the Porsche Performance Tour (fall). Both take place in La Belle Province and allow participants to hone their driving skills, sharpen their reflexes, and push their limits. And it’s all about driving a bunch of fantastic Porsche cars on some of the most beautiful roads in the province.
More specifically, the Porsche Performance Tour is a 3-day event that starts and ends in Ottawa, with stops in Montebello, Mont-Tremblant, and Circuit ICAR in between. You get to drive cars like the Porsche Cayman S, 911 Carrera 4S, and Cayenne S on the road, on the track, and even off-road. It costs $3,995 (plus taxes). Is it worth it? Read on.
Following a short briefing inside a hall at the Ottawa airport, we were introduced to the two instructors and informed about various restrictions. Then we headed for our designated test car, namely a Porsche Cayman S, and off to Montebello we went.
After my driving partner and I each took a turn behind the wheel, sampling some delightfully twisty roads, we arrived at Château Montebello where a lineup of Porsche Cayennes greeted us. We barely had time to unload the cars as we quickly hit the road again in the big SUV.
The Kenauk Nature private reserve is a great place to put the Cayenne to the test. An off-road course had been set up by Porsche, and the vehicle made it through not just once, but twice without breaking a sweat. We also witnessed an impressive display of body stiffness when our instructor willingly left the Cayenne unbalanced (some of the wheels didn’t even touch the ground) and opened and closed the doors and hatch without any issue. The Porsche Cayenne isn’t just a status symbol for parading around town; it is rugged and capable enough off the road to actually rival a number of 4x4s.
At the end of the afternoon, we headed back to Château Montebello and called it a day.
Right after breakfast, we returned to our Cayman S from the previous day. It may not look like it, but this small two-seater was able to store a pair of travel bags, two briefcases containing our laptops, and two more bags with all our camera equipment. We were pleasantly surprised.
While Montebello-Tremblant is normally a 60-minute trip, the Porsche Performance Tour took us on some amazing, extra-twisty roads. We spent just shy of eight hours on them -- eight hours of pure fun. And before we arrived at Hôtel Quintessence, we switched cars and drivers to get a better understanding of the differences between the Cayman S and 911 Carrera 4S.
On the final day of the event, we hit Circuit ICAR to test these Porsches on a track. But before we even got there, we took time to rediscover and fully appreciate part of the incredible roads we had the privilege of devouring on Day 2.
Another briefing, and then we slid back into the Cayman and Carrera for some memorable lapping. These Porsche cars are so agile and confident on the track that you must be an extremely skilled driver to even flirt with their limits. In fact, we reached ours well before the car’s. Throughout the various sessions, the instructors did an excellent job of pinpointing our mistakes and weaknesses then giving us precious tips to get rid of our fears and become better drivers.
After four hours at ICAR, more than half of which we spent on the track, we left for Ottawa and the conclusion of the Porsche Performance Tour.
A real experience
I know, the Porsche Performance Tour is far from cheap, but after taking part in it I can guarantee you it’s much more than a simple gathering of Porsche cars and enthusiasts. In addition to being treated like a king for three days and spending an awful lot of time behind the wheel of world-class sports cars, you will return home with way more confidence in your ability to drive any car in any condition.