A word of advice: if you have the means to ride 150 mph down Shoreline Drive in a Porsche GT3, I highly recommend it. One caveat though, do so at the discretion of a championship racing driver. And let the professional do the driving.
My opportunity to be chauffeured at "race" speeds around the streets of Long Beach presented itself with the Long Beach Grand Prix coming to town April 15-17. Despite little to no racing experience, yours truly dutifully accepted and later found myself signing waivers and trying on helmets.
At the track, I met my would be charioteer, Michael Lewis. A local driver from Laguna Beach, Michael was the winner of back-to-backPirelli World Challenge GT races in Florida last month and a Cal State Fullerton alum. Only trust a fellow Titan with cargo as valuable as myself.
The No. 41 Circle Porsche GT3 R.
Riding in the No. 41 Circle Porsche GT3 R is not the exercise in sitting that most car rides entail. Part rollercoaster, part bucking bronco, the car makes very clear it doesn’t want you inside and is doing all it can to throw you out the side window.
Luckily, I was strapped down to the point of near suffocation before departing and the crew did bestow one tip to survival: breathe. Simple enough. Although after feeling the initial lift of the Porsche on the straight and through a couple of tight corners at high speed, my recollection is of maybe breathing twice.
But there were times I had the presence of mind to enjoy the scenery and even glimpse over at my tame racing driver at work. He was the picture of calm, in total control while my extremities bounced about his car. Asked after our ride how he kept his head and body so still, Michael humbly noted he had the benefit of knowing when he was braking and turning — I’m sure that’s the only reason I looked like a toddler who’s just learned to lift his head for the first time.
My entire career as a mere "racecar rider" consisted of just two laps around the Long Beach Grand Prix track, a ride I deem a success by the fact my breakfast remained in its proper place. But the real racing will commence this weekend, as Michael vies for his third straight PWC win on Sunday, April 17.