BMW vs. Porsche Experience Centers
Just in case you ladies need a gift idea this season for the men in your lives... how about giving them the chance to drive sports cars ... on a variety of race tracks ... alongside racing experts?
Jon and I have both gone to the BMW Performance Center at Thermal, CA and the Porsche Experience Center in LA (PECLA) and here's a quick comparison.
BMW @ Thermal
- More geared towards learning about racing: The day begins with class instruction on the dynamics and physics of racing. You'll watch instructors demonstrate on the different race tracks / situations, then you hop in. Drivers communicate via walkie talkie so everyone knows what's coming next. Furthermore, Thermal is an actual racetrack independent from BMW.
- Price: We did the "1 Day M School". ~$1600 for 8 hours
- One partner per each driver is allowed to be on the track (e.g. to film them / take photos).
- Jon says: this is best for "general" car enthusiasts -- if you haven't done either the BMW@Thermal nor PECLA yet, start with the BMW. You get more bang for your buck.
- More geared towards learning about Porsche cars: You'll get more out of it if you're already a Porsche enthusiast
- Price: We did the "911 Turbo S vs. 911 GT3" for 1.5 hrs for $1k.
- At PECLA only drivers are allowed to be on the track (partners can view drivers from the upstairs balcony.)
- Jon says: Some might balk at the huge difference in drive time vs. price between BMW and PECLA, but you have to remember... BMW M cars are ~$80k. The Porsche cars that you'll be driving are ~$200k. (For example, although our package was supposed to include a 911 GT3, we actually were given a 911 GT3RS which is appx $250k). Jon says if you're on a budget, the "911 Carrera S" package for $495 would be the most bang for your buck.
Photos: the little blue remote-control 911 toy I used to hint to Jon about going to PECLA; us after his drive; his new 911 S being delivered just last week!