Just a few weeks ago, September 11 Porsche hosted the opening ceremony of their brand new Porsche Experience Center or PEC. This time, the new facility is based in a country with a rich history and fierce competition, especially in the automotive sector. Italy is the new headquarters of the Porsche Experience Center Franciacorta.
Located in Castrezzato, Italy, this PEC is the eighth in a series of global facilities that Porsche has opened over the past decade that focus on the lifestyle offered by the Porsche brand. From material handling circuits and skid plates to restaurants and gift shops, the Porsche Experience Center has just about everything a Porsche enthusiast could want.
This new installment from PEC is not only notable for its equipment, which we’ll cover later, but also for its location. Castrezzato is in the province of Brescia in northern Italy. Travel two hours south and you’ll find yourself in a place called Maranello, Italy, the birthplace of what we now know as Ferrari.
The two companies have been European behemoths for decades, and while they don’t exactly compete in the same class with their road cars, they most certainly have a fiery rivalry in their hands.
Porsche claims this new eighth Porsche Experience Center Franciacorta is strategically placed near airports and Lake Iseo, but we believe a not-so-small reason for its existence in Italian vineyards is their friendly rivalry with Ferrari.
What PEC Franciacorta has to offer
The Porsche Experience Center Franciacorta consists of two main elements: the driver’s paddock and the customer center. The drivers’ paddock of 29 garages includes all the goodies you probably don’t have on your local circuits and all that is needed for Porsche sponsored events.
First of all, there is the main handling circuit. Providing 2.5km of technical turns and chicanes to help drivers train on more unique tracks, this circuit was in fact an existing circuit known as the Autodromo di Franciacorta. Then there is a low friction handling circuit. Although smaller than the main circuit, this track is made of a special polished concrete that is designed to allow cars to glide and drift when they would otherwise be grabbed. Drivers can theoretically maintain continuous drift or slide all the time if they are skilled enough. Otherwise, this surface is intended for learning to catch a drift and maintain control.
Finally, in the driver’s paddock is the low friction hoop. This is where drivers learn to control oversteer in a safe environment. This type of circle is sometimes covered with water to allow drivers to practice in rainy weather. Chirs Harris used a circle like this at Porsche’s Hockenheimring Experience Center when he set the record for continuous drift of an electric car in a Porsche Taycan.
Just outside the driver’s paddock is a full off-road playground full of small jumps, gravel paths, and turns to show off the capabilities of Porsche SUVs and other off-road cars like the Taycan Cross. Turismo.
What’s the point of running if you can’t party afterwards? Well, Porsche has a solution for that, and yes, we’re using our own hyperbole here, but they offer access to a restaurant and bar with a panoramic view of the main handling circuit.
If you have children, Porsche offers you the PEC children’s area and a state-of-the-art racing simulation room with eight of the “latest generation simulators”. For the youngest enthusiasts, there is also an electric go-kart track that uses fully electric go-karts.
The customer center also includes a shopping area which may include items such as Porsche Design products or smaller gift shop items. And if you have business matters to take care of while on vacation in Italy, a business center with a conference room is 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 dealers to come and learn about their new products.
Porsche’s goals for the PEC
In its press release, Porsche was very proud of its commitment to keep the Porsche Experience Center Franciacorta on a fully renewable energy grid. Something the company has invested heavily in over the past year with things like the production of eFuel.
Porsche says the facility was built from existing infrastructure as much as possible, in order to waste as little material as possible when building this massive 148-acre complex.
These Porsche Experience Centers are starting to appear more and more frequently over the years. Since October 2019, Porsche has opened PECs at the Hockenheimring, this brand new Autodromo di Franciacorta hub, and coming in October 2021 will arguably be the coolest PEC to date 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 Autodromo di Franciacorta in Italy.
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