The Franciacorta racetrack becomes the largest Porsche Experience Center in the world

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Today – 11 September – Porsche inaugurates its largest Experience Center in the world in Castrezzato, near Brescia. Moreover, we do not care about the disastrous suggestions of this date, because 11/9 in the American style is written 9/11, that is 911. And in Stuttgart, where we make money with SUVs and invest above all in the construction of a new electric and eco-friendly image, they know what the value of an icon is.

Buying circuits in Italy is nothing new for Porsche. In 2012 the German company had bought the splendid test, research and development plant in Nardò, in the province of Lecce, which Fiat had built in the mid-1970s. Then, in 2019, it got its hands on the Franciacorta racetrack. . And after two years of renovations, in which many car and motorcycle enthusiasts who had made the Lombard track a reference point for their track days remained on foot, it has now reopened it with the name of Porsche Experience Center . Unlike Nardò, it is not intended for “professional” uses, but will become an attraction for customers or aspiring customers, as well as the venue for family events such as the Porsche Festival on October 2-3.

Whoever buys a new car will be entitled to a free one-day driving course on the 2.5 km track, homologated for everything except Formula 1, and on the other test areas. And he can even ask for his immaculate Porsche to be delivered here. Those who want to evaluate a possible purchase, will be able to try the eligible models under the guidance of the instructors, with training of variable duration and in-depth analysis and prices ranging between 190 and 900 euros. The fact remains that the center can also be rented for events not necessarily connected with hosts.

The goal of the structure, which covers an area of ​​60 hectares, is to attract up to 20 thousand visitors / customers per year, with evident positive effects also for the entire Franciacorta area, famous for its sparkling and non-sparkling wines. alone.

In addition to the actual circuit – which maintains the original layout – there are a low-grip track and an off-road track, a “0 emissions” kart track and a room with driving simulators, where you can virtually test Porsches from every era. both on the indigenous circuit and on the most famous ones in world motorsport. The facility also includes showrooms, merchandising shops, meeting rooms, business center, helipad and a restaurant. Which, curiously, in the previous management was called 911, while now it has been “downgraded” to Speedster, which is still a very significant name for fans of the German brand. A hotel could also be built in the future.

All this cost the Porsche 28 million euros, part of which was used to heal the debt situation left by the previous management.

But it is worth dedicating a few lines to the history of the old Franciacorta racetrack: an Italian dream that lasted only 14 years. It was born on the initiative of Ettore Bonara, a local entrepreneur, with a past as a kart driver and owner of the quarry in which the circuit was built, which is therefore positioned 12 meters below the road surface and surrounded by very panoramic “natural” stands.

The life of the racetrack was tormented from the beginning due to local tensions, including political ones, because the authorities in the area wanted to transform the now former quarry into a landfill.

Not only. One of Bonara’s sons, Daniel, a car enthusiast and driver, was supposed to be in charge of the facility, but was the victim of a car accident in 2005, a few months before the inauguration. So the circuit was named after him, as well as a small memorial chapel behind the paddock which, however, disappeared with the renovation.

Bonara’s dreams were many, including the extension of the track up to 4.2 km and the homologation for Formula 1. Unfortunately, there have been some unwise administrations that, despite having also brought the rallycross world championship to Franciacorta, they exhausted the balance sheets of the racetrack and led to an agreement with Porsche.

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