WATCH: Trip of a Lifetime — Racing Porsches in Spain

Laura Begley Bloom
·Editor-in-Chief

Some people are golf widows. You could call me a Porsche widow. My husband, Jonathan, bought a vintage 911 a couple of years ago. I didn’t get his obsession with the car, which has become the other woman in our relationship.

So when I got an invitation from Porsche to meet the newest model of Jonathan’s mistress, how could I resist?

We went to Ascari, a renowned racetrack in Andalusia, Spain, for the travel experience of a lifetime: test-driving Porsche’s new line of GTS cars.

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There I am with Jonathan and a Porsche Panamera at the Ascari racetrack. (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)

Set just outside the fortified city of Ronda, Ascari looked more like something out of a Bond film. Deep-throated engine sounds emanated from the racing paddocks that line the courtyard. Up a hill was a hacienda-style reception area next to a lovely pool. The course itself snaked around rolling hills covered with ancient olive groves. (Having trees next to a track is a rarity in the racing world, but rumor has it that Ascari’s owner insisted on them for the scenic factor.)

A Porsche instructor graciously offered to take me for a lap in a 911 Turbo S. “Just scream if you want me to slow down,” the pro-driver advised.

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A Porsche pro-driver in a 911 Turbo S. (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)

I have a lead foot and consider myself a speed demon, but as the car accelerated quickly, I was humbled. My eyes focused on the next turn. The precision of this car and its driver were really something to be experienced. We made another lap, this time even more focused — and faster.

It was incredible, as close as I’ll ever get to going mach 2.

Reaching the pit lane, I saw a lineup of gorgeous Porsches. I wanted to drive them all. And today, I could.

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Porsches lined up in the pit. (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)

One of the amazing things about Porsche is that the company has access to incredible racetracks around the world. For a few hundred dollars, you can go out for a half day on the track with an instructor. Ascari also offers remarkable experiences, like learning to drive a Formula One car.

Then it was my turn to navigate the track — solo. The instructor was in the car ahead. You don’t really know what it means to go from zero to 60 in just four seconds until you hit the pedal of a Porsche GTS. I was flying.

And it was good.

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Speeding around the track in a 911 Targa 4 GTS. (Photo: Frank Ratering)

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Look at me go! (Photo: Frank Ratering)

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Jonathan behind the wheel. (Photo: Frank Ratering)

A very happy driver. (Photo: Frank Ratering)

All Porsches are racecars at heart. Hugging the corners in a 991 Targa 4 GTS, you begin to appreciate 50-plus years of rear-engine, flat-six engineering. The PDK transmission was prescient, knowing what gear to be in before I ever did.

I tried almost a dozen cars, but my favorite was the Boxster, which can hit 174 miles per hour. It was empowering to crush it on the track driving a stick shift.

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Sexy details. (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)

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A 911 Carrera up close. (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)

Even the Cayenne — Porsche’s crossover SUV — was a rocket ship on the racetrack. Zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Top speeds of 163 mph. That’s not your momma’s SUV (though it could be for this momma).

So how was the whole experience? Well, good and bad. Jonathan has been fantasizing ever since about how he can save up the money to buy a brand-new GTS. As for me? Now I get it. I really do.

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