The wind tears at the top of my head as we plunge into the last braking area before the straight on Porsche’s Weissach test circuit.
This is our out lap, but within a few seconds we’re doing 170mph.
I’m strapped into the company’s road-car flagship, the £800,000 918 Spyder, with R&D boss Wolfgang Hatz at the wheel, and although I’ve been driven fast in places like this before, I can hardly believe the speeds or the braking and cornering loads.
Most drivers wouldn’t see the kinked tarmac expanse ahead as a straight. Not a proper one, anyway.
It’s more a collection of kinks through which drivers of skill, confidence and experience – such as Hatz – can see a line sufficiently straight for potent cars to accept full power.
This is one of several reasons why Porsche is very careful who it allows to drive flat out at Weissach.
Another is the fact that, for most of a lap, there’s an unforgiving concrete wall on one side of the circuit or the other, sometimes both. Luckily, Hatz isn’t out to kill me.
He has driven this track thousands of times since coming here more than 30 years ago and this all-action episode is a practical reward for my coming to Germany to tell him he’s just won Autocar’s highest accolade, the 2015 Issigonis Trophy, which goes to car creators we especially admire, not only for the quality of their work but also for their way of doing it.
For all his familiarity with the circuit, you can tell in an instant that Hatz continues to have an abiding love for the place.
He revels in Porsche’s history and aura and his chance to contribute to both, in spite of a career that has taken him to BMW, Opel, Fiat-Ferrari, Audi and Volkswagen – and into sundry winning Formula 1 teams.
He considers himself a Porsche man and always will, having done his first laps here as a postgraduate engineering student in 1982.
“Everything is so concentrated here,” he says, “and that makes for a very special atmosphere.
"Our workshop people are so important and so knowledgeable, and we all have the same determination to reach our goals. It leads to a unique kind of team spirit.”
The post of director of R&D at Porsche is one of those roles in the car business that carry far more responsibility than the mere words imply.
Far from being some back-room researcher, Porsche’s R&D boss is fully exposed in the front line of management and car creation.
You lead the teams that devise the company’s racing and road car strategies, and it’s your responsibility to deliver wins and new models every bit as good as you’ve promised, preferably better.
You hire, deploy and inspire the company’s most creative people – and you get plenty of freedom and glory yourself if things go well.
But there’s a boardroom full of founding family members and money men looking down in case you don’t.
Oh, and somewhere along the road, you’d better direct your thoughts towards the R&D in your title.
Depending on how you view it, the future for high-performance premium cars, and especially sports cars, can look rather problematic.