December 18, 2022

Porsche Driving Experience in Atlanta, Georgia


Porsche Driving Experience in Atlanta, Georgia
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 18, 2022

As has become something of a holiday tradition for us, we visited the Mayo Clinic for Luke's 6 month check-up with his doctors.  It was great to see them.  This was one of the least eventful check-ups I can ever remember.  Everything looks good & stable which we love to hear.  That's always my biggest wish for Santa.

We had a bunch more wet, heavy snow drop down on us this week.  It sure looks beautiful, but it definitely doesn't weigh beautiful.

I had the opportunity to get away from the blizzard for a couple of nights when I flew down to Atlanta, Georgia to visit the Porsche Driving Experience Center.

I had dinner with my manager, Jeremiah, and my colleague, Breyon, on the first evening.  They're both mentors and friends of mine and we always have fun spending time together.  I'm part of a really great team at Oracle.

On Thursday, we spent the day at the Porsche Experience Center.  It's a 1.6 mile driver development course to showcase the incredible performance of Porsche Vehicles.  

We hosted an event for customers & prospects to educate them about the benefits of partnering with Oracle.  I had a chance to visit with a customer, a prospect, and some of our ISV leadership including David and Joe.  It was a really great day.

We spent a few hours in a conference room and then had the opportunity to go outside and take out some Porsches for a drive through a variety of tracks and obstacles.

We'd been watching other groups drive cars on the tracks all day, so we were all pretty anxious to get our own turns behind the wheel.  We had quite a few Porsches to choose from.

I had the opportunity to drive the red Boxster in the first photo as well as this Porsche 911 which was my favorite of the two.  We had coaches go with us for the ride to teach us about the features of the automobile and to help keep us safe.  I appreciated that.  These machines have a lot of power and I really didn't want to be liable for driving one of them through the guardrail.

They take you through a variety of obstacles and have you do "Launch Control" tests by holding on the brake and pushing the gas pedal down to the floor, then releasing the brake.  That's a bit of a rush as you accelerate to 70 miles an hour in 3 or 4 seconds before they have you slam on the brakes as hard as you can.  The cars do have incredible control, but it's still a little anxiety inducing.   This track in the picture had something called a "Kick-Plate" which is a computer-controlled hydraulic plate set flush to the road surface and it's designed to cause loss of rear wheel traction, send you spinning in a random direction, while you try to recover.  The coaches told me I did good because I was able to recover both times I tried it, but I don't think I was going as fast as some of the others who ended up doing a doughnut or two before coming to a stop.

After we drove the real cars for an hour or so, we had the chance to go inside and try out the simulators.  I'm glad I didn't drive the real cars the way I did the simulations because I ended up in the wall more than a few times.

 On Saturday, Luke and I headed down to US Bank Stadium to cheer on our beloved Minnesota Vikings.

Matt Ryan and the 4-8-1 Indianapolis Colts were in town.  We were hopeful for the Vikings to win a game in a dominant fashion for once as they've had so many close games this year.

Of course, in typical Vikings Fashion, they didn't start by dominating the opposing team.  Instead, they had a horrible first half which led to a 33-0 score by halftime.  It was pretty depressing.  We even saw some people sitting around us leave the game, although we didn't contemplate anything like that.

Unbelievably in the second half, Kirk Cousins and the Vikings started battling back and ended up scoring 5 touchdowns.  

 They tied up the game at 36 and took it into Overtime.  They eventually hit a field goal to win the game.  It was the greatest comeback in NFL history and one of the most electric crowd experiences I've ever witnessed.  SKOL!

On Saturday night, we connected with our old buddies, Karl & Tina Zitzewitz, for dinner, drinks and some laughs.  It was a nice way to end the week!

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