Porsche World Road Show Indonesia 2023 : On The Right Track
Porsche World Road Show Indonesia 2023 : On The Right Track
Sentul International Circuit, Jakarta - It’s not often that I’d find myself waking up before 5 am. Short of red-eye flights, wedding gate crashing and tea ceremonies or during my conscript military service years, there is precious little that would stir me from a siesta before the crack of dawn.
But this was no ordinary morning. I was in Jakarta attending the 2023 instalment of the Porsche World Road Show Indonesia, and the prospect of piloting a Porsche around Sentul International Circuit was more rousing than a cold shower followed by a strong shot of espresso.
Which explains why I was dressed, geared up and ready even before the lovely concierge at the Sheraton Grand Gandaria gave me a wake-up call at 5am.
This year’s instalment of PWRS Indonesia is a rather special one. Having been on hiatus for the last two years, the event is back again in full swing with 27 Porsche models flown in from Germany - including the South East Asian debut of the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS. PWRS Indonesia 2023 is the largest one to date, and Jakarta is the first city to play host to the PWRS festivities this year (before it comes to Singapore).
For many, the opportunity to be amongst the latest and greatest machines to come out of Porsche would be the stuff of dreams. And I am part of the aforementioned “many”.
Given our limited land space, track events in Singapore are few and far between. Throw in the fact that the next closest race circuit is over 400 kilometres away in Kuala Lumpur, us Singaporeans are starved of proper track experience and seat time in performance vehicles. Thankfully in my line of work, the latter issue isn’t prevalent. But any opportunity to partake in the former is one to be grasped firmly.
From maniacal track machines, sleek EVs, “everyday” Porsches to marvellous off-roaders, all of the vehicles used at the Porsche World Road Show have been prepped for the impending onslaught of track debris, loose gravel and mud. Vents covered, indicators taped up, cars laboriously wrapped in PPF. With activities both on track and off the paved asphalt, us attendees were split into various groups where we’d take turns at each activity before rotating on to the next.
Guiding my team through the day’s activities was Wim, a seasoned Porsche instructor hailing from Belgium. A man that was praised by CK (who led me around my first Sepang stint), which in my book was the highest possible accolade for a driving instructor.
PWRS Indonesia 2023 - Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet
Our first activity was an acceleration and braking run. A 100-or so meter sprint to a set of cones followed by an immediate hard stop to stretch the limits of the PCCBs (Porsche Carbon Ceramic Brakes) in the 992-generation 911 Turbo S.
But as the overcast skies opened up when my turn approached, I was more concerned about the tyres’ ability to get traction in the rain. Fortunately, the Turbo S’ AWD powertrain enabled me to put all 650hp/750Nm down to the wet tarmac with little drama - only minor sawing motions of the steering wheel as the back end wiggled a little.
I didn’t time time the car’s 2.8-second 0-100km/h sprint time in the wet, but my my rough estimate the car still clocked the century sprint in 3 seconds or thereabouts. If you’re the sort of person who thinks those speeds aren’t enough, perhaps you should place an order for a Taycan Turbo S. Or call a doctor to artificially induce some vertigo in your system.
PWRS Indonesia 2023 - Porsche Cayenne GTS
Fresh out of the 911 Turbo S, we headed off to our next activity: partaking in some off-roading shenanigans. Of the 5 different Cayenne models we had up for grabs, my copilot and I made a beeline for the Carmine Red Cayenne GTS. The novelty of driving a V8-powered SUV off-road was too great to pass up.
For lack of a better word, our progress off-road was slow. That, coupled with the rain just half an hour before meant that we barely crossed two-digit speeds in the damp, muddied tracks. It might sound easy, but keeping the Cayenne moving straight took a considerable amount of steering input. Even at speeds no higher than 15km/h.
One particularly slippery crest saw me hustling the steering wheel lock to lock just to keep the car tracking straight. We relied on the car’s hill descent control system to ensure we didn’t lose any grip heading down the rocky declines. So it was slow going, but that isn’t to say it wasn’t fun, because it was. Exceedingly so when you’re doing it in the rain.
PWRS Indonesia 2023 - Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, Carrera GTS, Targa 4 GTS
The rain didn’t let up as we headed back to the paddock for our track-handling activity session. After a (brief) briefing about the track layout and prerequisite Dos and Don’ts, I got behind the wheel of a 911 Carerra GTS for my sighting lap of the Sentul Circuit before we opened the taps a little.
Following that was a stint in the 911 Targa 4 GTS before I clambered into a 911 Carrera 4S for my last lap of the activity. The wet track and inexperienced drivers in my detail kept me below speeds of 130km/h, even on the straights. But given that it’s my first time in a 911 (on a wet track no less), being conservative isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this particular instance.
PWRS Indonesia 2023 - Porsche Boxster GTS
Post lunch (and about half a kilogram heavier), we were back at the track for our Slalom activity. We’d be at the helm of a Porsche Boxster GTS navigating through a short circuit weaving in and out of cones. We each had two practice laps with Wim showing us the ropes before we did our two timed runs. Regretfully, my laps weren’t quick enough to net me the quickest time in my detail. That honour went to my copilot.
PWRS Indonesia 2023 - Porsche Macan GTS, Taycan Turbo, Panamera GTS
Our last activity of the day saw us back at the track for yet another handling session. This time, we’d be in some of Porsche’s four-door offerings. The Macan GTS, Taycan Turbo followed by the Panamera GTS. Thankfully, the skies cleared up post lunch, so the dry track surface enabled us to hit higher speeds In the straights and dive into the corners with more gumption. Despite that, Wim was rather conservative in the Panamera Turbo S leading the convoy, so we were still inhibited from putting the pedal to the metal.
PWRS Indonesia 2023 - Taxi Laps in a 992 GT3 RS
Before the day’s festivities ended, we were invited back out onto the track for a taxi lap with an instructor behind the wheel. We drew straws to find out which car we’d all be getting into. Of the 5 cars they had on hand, I was relegated to riding shotgun in the Cayenne Turbo GT coupe.
Others were lucky enough to get laps in the Cayman GT4 RS or the 911 GT3. But the luckiest of the bunch got to experience the latest 992 GT3 RS that was unveiled before the driving activities even started.
(Click HERE to read more about the 992-generation 911 GT3 RS)
Sadly though, I never got any seat time in the 911 GT3 RS. Or the 911 GT3. Or the Cayman GT4 RS for that matter. But the Porsche World Road Show Indonesia was perhaps the best induction into the world of Porsche. Of the 27 cars, I've driven a third of them. That isn't something you'd get to do every day.
Perhaps we could experience the leanest, meanest track machine within the Porsche stable when PWRS arrives in Singapore later this year. Perhaps…
PHOTOS Porsche Indonesia and Jay Tee