2010 Porsche 911 Turbo
Apparently, I'm a rain god.
I came to it late in life, admittedly. In the last three weeks, from what I can piece together. Just since I turned forty.
How do I know? Good question. Fact one: Atlanta suffered a five-year drought that ended just recently. Now we've had a month of rain and a 200-year flood. I miss my backyard. Fact two: I've been on two press events in the intervening 11 days since I aged prematurely, and both have been washouts.
The first? The 2010 Kia Sorento. It's an all-wheel-drive family crossover so, psshh, it's a bonus wrinkle on the test-drive experience. The second drencher? Far sadder, here in Portugal, where I skytripped this week to drive the 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. All last week, nothing but sunshine and blue skies. This week? Sheets of rain. Torrential downpours. Driving wind.
Ascension comes with a heavy price. You can make all the personal-wetness jokes you want, but this is one time I wished my powers would have disappeared for a few hours. Rain is a big-time bummer when you're about to set out on Estoril, the "challenging" track laid out west of Lisbon like some Keith Haring figure dropped dead on its back. It's a bit notorious: not-so-adorable F1 plushie Nigel Mansell got black-flagged here and then slid into Ayrton Senna. It's the scene of many deceptively fast runs that end in a thud instead of glory. Before it fell off the F1 circuit in 1996 it was ticketed by the FIA for multiple safety violations. (If it were an airline, it would either be Chinese or Russian or would have a direction in its name. These are nature's signs to steer clear.)
F1 is gone, but Estoril is very much alive. And dangerous. Even the pro Porsche drivers flown to Portugal to herd journalists safely through its esses call it a difficult track. It's knotted with lots of double apexes, a tight uphill run through curbs that slows down even cars with Turbo-level traction. And it has a huge paddock area, quintupling the possibility that 60 colleagues will watch you blow a shift. Or worse.