Have you ever felt that some things in life would be really amazing to do, but never thought you would actually do them?
That’s how I felt about Porsche’s European Delivery… that is, until the spring of 2018.
My story begins a little earlier than that. In February of 2008, my lovely wife Vivienne surprised me with a brand-new Cayman for my 50th birthday – my first Porsche! I have had so much fun with that car –whether taking it to work as my daily driver, heading out for track experiences, or enjoying wonderful weekend trips. Over the years, I would come across articles about European Delivery and would daydream about the idea, but never with any seriousness.
Fast forward ten years to my 60th birthday. This time, Vivienne suggested that an upgrade to my Cayman was in order. Well, ok dear, that sounds great!
A fellow Cayman guy I know recommended that I talk to Mitzi Brown at Porsche Centre Oakville if I was ever in the market for a new P-Car. I reached out and found her to be very helpful and a pleasure to deal with. So, in March of 2018, following some test drives and encouragement from my son and Vivienne, Mitzi and my daughter and her husband, I placed an order for a 2019 911 Carrera GTS! Just a small upgrade from the Cayman.
I started telling my good friends about having ordered my new car. Two of them, Laird Robertson and Adrian Conrad, convinced me that I just had to do the European Delivery experience. Adrian has done it twice previously and had nothing but great things to say about the whole experience. Laird just thought it was a cool idea, but I credit him with suggesting it in the first place.
At that point, I suddenly found myself seriously thinking about doing something I had only dreamt of doing. My next step was to convince my wife. I surmise it was my excitement about the whole European delivery experience that won her over and she agreed that we could make the trip to Germany. I got in touch with Mitzi soon after to get the ball rolling.
The experience includes:
• Airport transfers
• One-night accommodation at a hotel in
Zuffenhausen or Leipzig
• Vehicle insurance for 16 days of driving
• Complimentary lunch at the respective factory
• Factory tour at Zuffenhausen or Leipzig offers on-site test track (Porsche supplies vehicles) and
• Dropoff at the respective delivering factory for free or for a fee at 16 other locations across Europe.
The first order of business was to determine the actual manufacture date of the car. July turned out to be our allocation and when our car would be built. Vivienne and I began to check our work schedules for a suitable week for this adventure. We eventually found time in August that worked for both of us. Then Mitzi burst our balloon telling us that Porsche shuts down for all of August. We now had to let go of our allotment and hope for another one in the fall. Fortunately, we received a new allocation for late September, and we settled on October 19th as our delivery date at Zuffenhausen.
Flights were booked immediately!
I started to work on what I wanted to do in Germany. Factory tours and track experiences were at the top of my list. Vivienne wanted to hike and sightsee. “Ok, no problem dear.” I started looking into places to visit and booking hotels that were in convenient locations.
As part of the European Delivery experience, Porsche AG arranged (and paid for) hotel accommodations near the main train station in Stuttgart at a beautiful downtown hotel. Our first night in Germany was covered. The rest of the places to visit and stay took some time to figure out. My wife wanted to hike in the Black Forest, so a little town called Baden Baden quickly became a good choice. However, I found that even trying to book two months ahead, hotels were in short supply. I was able to find a room (the last one available) in a quaint multi-generational family-owned hotel called Hotel Am Markt. Perfect.
But what else? This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I wanted to check off as many boxes as possible.
Mitzi had previously suggested seeing the Porsche plant in Leipzig. Since there is a test track on site, I could check off another item on my to do list. I also found that I could sign up for a co-pilot ride in a 911 Cup Car! Great! I decided to book a few nights in that city.
Another check box for me was to drive the Autobahn in my new Porsche. I know that’s an odd thing to do – why would anyone want to drive a Porsche on the Autobahn if they visit Germany? I found a map online of all the sections of the various Autobahn highways that have no speed limit. They are everywhere!
As a final touch, I really wanted to see the Nürburgring track, a.k.a. the ‘Green Hell’. On a whim, I started looking into whether it was possible to do more than just see the circuit. Amazingly, I found that on October 26th, the ’Ring was reserved for an open Track Day. That was the last full day we would be in Germany as we were set to depart on the 27th. I went ahead and booked the Hotel Am Tiergarten in Nürburg, which is located two km from the Nürburgring track entrance. Again, I got one of the last two rooms. I couldn’t believe that hotel space in Germany was at such a premium, especially in October.
Through this research process, I found out that a Track Day at the Nürburgring is set aside strictly for track capable cars. Touristenfahrten (Tourist Days) on the other hand are free-for-alls, and drivers pay by the lap. Vehicles for “Terrorist Days”, as they are sometimes referred to, include such modes of transport as family station wagons, motorcycles, mini-vans, motorhomes (really) and Ring Taxis. Another difference is that during Track Day, the long straight (Dottinger Hohe) is fully open allowing the more powerful cars to reach their top speeds. Tourist Days require drivers to exit the track mid-way along the straight and then re-enter to avoid nasty high-speed mishaps. The Nürburgring is officially a public one-way road and normal rules of the road apply on public use days – aside from having no speed limit.
Finally, the hotels were booked, and the test track co-pilot ride was reserved. Driving on Autobahn roads was a given. The one thing that I was still hesitant about was the possibility of driving the Nürburgring. I began checking out a number of YouTube videos of how to drive the ‘ring for first timers’. Even on a screen, it looked downright intimidating. The numerous videos of car crashes at the Nordschliefe didn’t help either. OK, so maybe I’m not about to commit myself at this point.
Fast forward to October 17th and we’re on our way.
Our flight from Toronto to Frankfurt was smooth sailing and we arrived at FraPort on the morning of October 18th. We then hopped on the high-speed train to Stuttgart and a few hours later, we checked into our hotel room. To combat jet-lag, my wife and I went for a run. Little did we know how hilly it was there! We toured around the city centre (Zentrum) for the rest of that day and tried to get a good night’s sleep, but that didn’t quite happen. I was simply too excited about the coming day to sleep very well.
[In part 2 of Roy’s journey, being featured in May’s issue of Provinz, we get to join him in picking up his Carrera GTS, which he uses to tour the German countryside and (maybe) head to the Nürburgring. Stay tuned in our next issue to find out what happens!]
Provinz: April 2019