In a colourful apartment, furnished with great attention to detail, in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, a woman is sitting on her sofa talking excitedly. Fresh flowers and herbs adorn the kitchen. Jazz music is playing in the background. Such a calm scene is somewhat of a contrast to the subject matter that Nela, the apartment’s owner, is getting increasingly animated about as she talks. For Nela is telling us all about her first ever Porsche trackday. One with a difference, as it turns out – a Porsche women-only trackday.
Nela is head of HR and Corporate Communications for a global beauty tech company. “Two-thirds of my colleagues in management positions are women,” she says. “It makes me incredibly proud to see my company’s managers of the future mature under my guidance,” she adds. “People inspire me. I find it really interesting to see how the world looks through their eyes.”
She says she likes to make quick decisions, which often have to be carried out instinctively. So when a call came from a friend who asked her if she would like to take part in a Porsche women-only trackday, Nela agreed immediately. Her love of cars goes back to when she was growing up, when she would spend time in the passenger seat observing her dad – who used to drive rally cars for a hobby – at the wheel. “I was never scared sitting in the car with him. His vehicle control fascinated me ever since I was a child. I admired him,” says Nela.
The venue for this special women-only trackday was the Automotodrom Grobnik in Soboli, Croatia, just north of the port city of Rijeka. Here, Nela and her fellow the participants learned how to drive a car quickly but safely along the 4.1km-long track with its 18 turns. To teach perfect vehicle control, the instructors started by demonstrating the correct seating position and correct line of sight. The next step was to help internalise cornering and braking behaviour, initially at the wheel of four-door models. Then it was onto faster vehicles such as the 911 Turbo S, Taycan Turbo S and Taycan 4S. Nela and her fellow participants even got to try out their off-roading skills in a Cayenne before the day concluded with slalom and launch control training, and then a ride in the passenger seat next to an instructor on a hot lap.
So why, Nela is asked, was this women-only event so appealing? “It’s the best opportunity for me to get to know the variety of Porsche cars without being embarrassed,” she explains. “I felt so much more comfortable being in front of other women. We all treated each other with respect and had a lot of fun.” Progress, Nela says, was perfectly pitched – starting gently before the pace of learning got faster and faster. “I was so excited I laughed the entire time in the Taycan. Accelerating felt like riding on a roller coaster. It was unbelievable.”
Nela says she fell in love twice on the Porsche women-only trackday. Once with the colour Mamba Green, and again with a Cayenne E-Hybrid Coupé model that she drove. So much so, in fact, that she’s vowed to buy one for herself as a birthday present. “Whenever something changes in my life, I give myself a gift,” she says, laughing as she rattles the collection of bracelets on her wrist. Life is about creating beautiful moments, she says. Like her father before her, she concedes that she doesn’t like to stand still. For women like Nela, you understand, moving forward is the only option.