As the afternoon rays ricochet off the glass-encased, modern building that houses the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, Latisha Williams slips effortlessly into a leather-covered cockpit for the drive of her life. Tish has come to drive a Porsche, a bucket-list item she has held close to her heart since she was in high school. “I’ve always liked the ‘zoom’ of fast cars,” says the award-winning Fayette County realtor. Williams grew up spending afternoons at the neighborhood arcade driving video game cars with her friends.
Now Tish, her hubby, Lawrence Sr., and three children, Lawrence Jr., Larissa and Layla, enjoy most of their free time on the go. “We’re an adventurous lot,” Tish said. The family has tubed down the Chattahoochee River, hiked the Georgia State Parks, and are frequent spectators at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Here at the Porsche Experience Center, the car enthusiast says she’s looking forward to “taking on the curves” on the track.
For her power ride, Tish wears a sparkling smile behind cool aviator shades. She is styled in a soft champagne-hued blouse, untucked for extra comfort; relaxed white trousers; and a pair of sneakers, painted with bright orange poppies that add extra fun to the driving adventure ahead.
As a guest of the Porsche Experience Center at One Porsche Drive, you’ll make your way into an ultra-modern building boasting floor-to-ceiling windows and a multi-level atrium filled with cars in every color of the rainbow. Once you're at the registration desk, you’ll be greeted by the PEC staff, smiling and proudly and uniformed in the Porsche brand colors. Your personal Driving Coach will brief you on what to expect on your drive, offer explanations on how your vehicle will respond, details of the course, and a discussion of safety. Finally, you'll be escorted down the stairs where your ride awaits.
Tish’s car for the day, a 2021 Boxster S in metallic agate gray! It sits alongside another dozen shiny machines all waiting for their next excited guest. At the touch of the pedal, with a sneakered foot, the speedometer of the turbocharged four-cylinder convertible will blast up to 60 miles per hour, in just over 4.0 seconds. That’s a few more breaths it takes to utter, “Wow, that’s fast!”
The Williams family has come to witness the show, and to support Tish. In an open-air lounge overlooking the track, the family enjoys a panoramic view of the course and cars blasting by at near triple-digit speeds. The outdoor area, complete with sofas and high-top tables, is designed for spectators to capture the cars in motion via photo or video. The barista-style Carrera Cafe, adjacent to the outdoor sitting area, serves coffee, drinks and light fare: flaky pastries, fresh fruit and yogurt, and a selection of water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages (but only after you drive!).
The Porsche 1.6-mile track encircles six different driver modules designed to test the driver’s skills and showcase the vehicles' capabilities. In the wet low friction areas, you will find yourself slipping and sliding across “black ice,” or “drifting” in a circle on wet concrete. At low friction handling, you'll feel the sensation of the car slipping as you navigate a slick track. On the dynamics pad, you'll experience the raw acceleration and incredible braking of the Porsche cars. Finally, you'll utilize all the skills from those exercises to take on the handling circuit at full speed, for wide-open thrills.
When you’ve completed your driving, you can relax at the 356, a fine-dining restaurant (named after the first Porsche sports car), with panoramic views of the course, and of Atlanta's airport. Don’t forget to tour the Heritage Gallery where you can trace the remarkable history of Porsche, from Ferdinand Porsche’s founding of the company to the present day. You can also pick up a branded souvenir for a loved one, or for yourself, from the gift shop right behind the registration desk.
Tish rates her ride as “Memorable!" "The most fun part was being able to let go and knowing that I was going to be OK. My instructor taught me to drive with safety in mind.” Another fun aspect of Tish’s adventure was “drifting” where she learned to control the car while sliding on a concrete circle kept wet with sprinklers. She also enjoyed learning techniques on how to maneuver the Boxster S on black ice or snow that could help her drive in bad conditions.
When asked if she’ll be a proud Porsche owner one day, Tish says, “That’s the goal! It was also great that my family was able to experience this with me.”