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by Tegan Lawson

Every year Porsche hosts its much anticipated Woman With Drive event. This year a group of around 20 ladies took part in a driver training day at the Porsche Sport Driving School.

The group of successful Australian women — well known media and TV personalities, business women, writers, journalists and bloggers — flew in from across Australia. We stayed in Brisbane for the night and enjoyed a spirited dinner, before rising early the next day to head to the track facility at Mount Cotton.

Parked out the front of the facility was a shiny Porsche 911 Carrera GTS — would we get to test it out?

It was cold and blowing a gale, and there were certainly a few nervous ladies among the bunch as we waited to find out what was in store. The day was designed to teach us some new driving skills, get to know the range of cars and have a lot of fun.

I’m an advocate of everyone upgrading their driving skills and building confidence behind the wheel. When I looked around the room at the group of familiar faces, it was obvious that beyond the nerves, everyone was excited to be there.

We headed out of the briefing room and into a large garage space where a number of Porsche cars were lined up — the Cayman, Boxster, 911, Panamera, Cayenne and Macan – the gang were all there and it was an impressive sight!

Porsche Woman With Drive Drive Day

One of the driver trainers took us through a quick demonstration and stressed the importance of making sure our driving position was correct every time we drove, even if you’re just popping to the shops.

We’re split into groups to move through the various exercises. First up for our posse, the Road Tour Circuit.

Our expert instructors take us for a lap around the private test track, talking through the markers, when to brake, how to hit the apex and how to smoothly come out of the bends.

Then it’s our turn behind the wheel — we rotate through the Cayman S, Boxster S, 911 Carrera S and 911 Carrera 4S.

Each car is just as exciting as the last, I’m not sure if I’m more roused by getting to speed around a track or by the sheer beauty and power of the Porsche cars.

The 911 Carrera 4S is a standout for me, it’s sleek and I feel right at home in it. This four-wheel drive stuck to the track and made for confident cornering.

The ladies are loving it and of course a few cones fell victim — and the session was fast enough and challenging enough to get my adrenaline pumping.

One of the group, who shall remain unidentified, managed to wipe out a ridiculous number of cones. On the straight there were three rows set up in a chicane formation, this was designed to slow us down. She asked the instructor, ‘do I just go through the cones?’, to which he replied, ‘yes’. So she did — literally.

Porsche Woman With Drive Drive Day

Next it’s on to my favourite — oversteer and understeer on a slippery skid pan. This time we’re driving a 911 Carrera as well as a Cayman.

I was determined to slide my way around the whole circuit and after the instructors added a splash of something to the track to make it extra slippery, I was thinking — I could get lucky.

After quite a few spin outs and sideways slips, it started to feel more coordinated. Small inputs on the throttle and counter-steering finally seemed to be coming together for me and I managed a decent unbroken run around the course.

For me, throwing the Cayman side-to-side felt the most rewarding. Both being rear-wheel drive

The next exercise was a challenge for some participants. Let’s face it, being asked to hurtle towards a wet patch on the road and slam on the brakes seems needlessly risky at first.

However ABS braking on a wet track is a fantastic way to learn just how controlled the car remains throughout the entire manoeuvre. After a few deep breaths, it’s time for those who are a little nervous to slam their foot down on the accelerator and hope for the best.

It was great to see all of the women really get into it, even the most tentative managed to let go of their fears and trusted the capabilities of these machines.

We each get a couple of runs in the Cayenne Turbo, 911 Carrera, Boxster and Panamera.

Porsche Woman With Drive Drive Day

The Boxster was my pick of the bunch for this exercise. There was just something about roaring down the straight with the open roof.

Girls can get really competitive and this day was certainly no different. The motorkhana course was the final challenge and the chance to put all of the skills we’d learned across the day into practice.

Being one of the only people here that drive for a living, I felt some pressure to perform and felt a bit like the ‘smiling assassin’. Despite the huge smile on my face, inside I was determined to win.

It was great to see everyone supporting and cheering each other on, yet no one held back. Every one of these women was committed to clocking the best time they could.

It was interesting to take the different cars through the course. All paying homage to what Porsche is known for — dynamic performance, balanced handling and luxury — but there were big differences as well as subtle ones.

All were expectedly beautiful to handle around the track, the motorkhana line up consisted of the Boxster, 911 Carrera and Macan Turbo and we all had a number of runs in each.

I found the Macan Turbo an interesting drive. It’s a big rig compared to the two-seaters and weaving it through the slalom was fun, I was surprised at the ease at which it handled the quick changes in direction.

Porsche Woman With Drive Drive Day

I have to admit, despite all the tips and practice throughout the day, I was still not very smooth on the brakes or throttle.

Brake hard in a straight line, accelerate as you come out of the turn, smooth steering — I knew all of this in theory yet in the heat of the moment I was often anything but smooth.

As the laps were ticked off and times recorded, I kept a keen eye on the tally board. There were a few of us that were neck in neck.

In between turns, I took the opportunity to have a chat with Woman With Drive ambassador and our host for the day Sonia Kruger.

Here’s a fun fact, her first car was a mustard coloured Toyota Corona. Very vintage!

Sonia and I were among the leading pack, and during the interview we were keeping an eye on how the other ladies were performing.

I was cautiously confident going into the presentations at the end of the day, as we waited for the times to be averaged out.

And yes! I was the fastest and scored a brand new model Porsche.

Porsche Woman With Drive Drive Day

Getting behind the wheel of every Porsche in the range, driving on private test track with expert instructors, getting to know the capabilities of the cars, as well as learning new skills and driving techniques.

The Woman With Drive Drive Day was as much about the serious stuff, as it was about having fun and getting got know a bunch of truly remarkable women.

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