From track to table
About half an hour ago, Jan and Ryan were each driving a Porsche 911 GT3 around one the best racetracks in the world – the Circuit Paul Ricard in southern France. The two men have since parked their ‘track tools’ right in front of Le Pied de Nez, a small restaurant in Le Castellet, a village a few kilometres south of a circuit that currently hosts the Formula 1 French Grand Prix. They’ve gone from the roar of the 4.0-litre flat six of the 911 GT3 (911 GT3 Models: Fuel consumption combined: 13,3-12,4 l/100 km (NEDC); 13,0-12,9 l/100 km (WLTP); CO2 emissions combined: 304-283 g/km (NEDC); 294-292 g/km (WLTP); State 04/2022) on a Porsche Racing Experience GT Trackday to a slice of rustic charm on a cobbled Provençal street, overlooking green hills, vineyards and olive groves.
“That’s what’s so special about a 911 GT3. You can drive it on the racetrack and then drive it straight home… or to the restaurant,” says Ryan, as he and Jan enjoy the welcome and hospitality at Le Pied de Nez.
With a 911 GT3 you can drive on the racetrack… and then straight to the restaurant
“My first Porsche was a 911 Turbo (996). I’ll never forget the feeling of that first drive,” he says in conversation with Jan, who he only met a few hours earlier at the racetrack. Ryan and Jan have both already completed Level 1 of the Porsche Racing Experience. Now they want to gain more racetrack experience with their sports cars.
A place to escape: behind the wheel of a 911 GT3
The GT Trackday is a two-day format of the Racing Experience, exclusively for Porsche GT road vehicles and racing cars. The two men can enjoy the speed, safe environment and intoxicating sound of the naturally-aspirated, high-revving engine of their Porsche sportscars. “When you’re on the track, you can’t think about anything else. When one lap is over, you start at zero with the next one again,” says Jan, who grew up in Switzerland and now lives in Monaco. “There’s no other hobby where I’m more in the moment than with motorsport,” adds Ryan, tucking into a plate of mussels au gratin.
“One of the best ways to exchange ideas with friends and like-minded people is over good food,” says Jan, who raves about his meal of Provençal potatoes, green beans and Côte de Boeuf – arguably the best beef chops you’ll find in Europe. Ryan laughs, perhaps because it's difficult to pull a fast one on an American when it comes to barbecue. Like Jan, he also invests professionally in real estate and appreciates the good life away from the intensity of the business world – and, for him, there is no greater way to do that than at a Porsche Racing Experience GT Trackday.
“Ever since I first drove on a racetrack almost 13 years ago, motorsport has never really let go of me,” says Ryan, a self-professed Porsche enthusiast. “My first Porsche Racing Experience GT Trackday last year completely changed my life. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about the racetrack and Porsche.” Jan nods in recognition. “Thanks to the Racing Experience, I’ve gained a lot of new friends and a lot of self-confidence,” he adds.
Learning curves – and more – at a Porsche Racing Experience GT Trackday
Both agree that their driving style has improved enormously thanks to their training at the Porsche Racing Experience. “Driving with a professional has taught me a lot, as has the data analysis,” says Jan of the recommendations given to him by his personal instructor and race engineer. Implementing their tips and comparing it to the reference lap brought him to a new level of driving. “For example, if I lose a whole second in turn 12 because I brake too early, then I immediately learn from the critique and do it successfully on the next lap. If you’re willing to understand the analysis and use their tips, then you’ll get far here,” he adds.
Both say that they can’t imagine a life without racetracks, sportscars and the opportunity they give you to constantly drive at the limit. It’s a chance to forget everything going on around you for a while. Almost like having a great dinner with a friend. Almost. But, perhaps, just a bit little more.