- Paul Maric
Okay, so I was a member of a chess club when I was younger. No big deal, I just made sure I didn't tell anybody about it - especially girls. This club on the other hand is one that all members aren't afraid of boasting about.
The title says it all – the Supercar Club.
For those of us who don’t find the idea of owning and experiencing the depreciation of a supercar, there is hope at hand.
The team at the Supercar Club offer members a variety of cars to drive throughout the year, ranging from city runabouts like the HUMMER H2, right through to earth shaking supercars like the Ford GT. After paying a once off joining fee and an annual fee, members are entitled to a certain number of days behind the wheel of the exotics of their choice – the number of days varying with each membership level.
Sitting on the Supercar Club’s fleet at any given point are cars such as the Audi R8, Ferrari F430 and F430 Spider, one of only two right-hand drive Ford GTs in the world, Aston Martin V8 Vantage and DB9, Porsche 911 Turbo and GT2, Lotus Exige S and even an Aerial Atom - amongst others.
This unique program runs out of Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast. The Supercar Club has plans to expand to Perth by years end and Adelaide early next year (2009).
Members book their desired vehicles through an online portion of the Supercar Club’s website which gives priority to early birds. Members have the ability to book 30-days in advance and have the ability to use a limited number of wildcards to book cars up to 12-months in advance for special occasions.
Although you may have heard of many exotic car rental companies operating throughout Australia, but the Supercar Club is unique as it owns every car on its fleet. Those exotic car rental companies generally rent out privately owned cars and can’t guarantee availability as the actual owner of the vehicle has the final say.
The Supercar Club recently launched an initiative allowing Australian members to own a share of a truly exclusive hypercar – the Bugatti Veyron. This exclusive experience is still in the development stage and will finally depend on a minimum number of acceptances.
The idea behind the Bugatti deal is to allow Australian members time behind the wheel of the Veyron. Although the car can’t be driven on Australian roads, members will be given the opportunity to access about one month in total behind the wheel overseas. After driving the Bugatti Veyron myself earlier this year, there is simply nothing that compares in terms of the driving experience and pleasure.
Once the car is sold at the end of its use, members receive a return on their investment – certainly not too bad for a person with around $200,000 in expendable income.
After joining the Supercar Club, members are put through a driving course to help them cope with the size and driveability of a supercar. One of the club’s major repair costs comes from scratched wheels – no wrecked cars to speak of yet, touch wood!
Also on the cards are track days at major racing circuits with the club’s cars. These days will give members a unique opportunity to throw some exotic machinery around the race track in an environment where they can exploit the cars full potential. Instead of owning just the one vehicle and taking it to track days, members will be able to drive a whole range of supercars under controlled conditions.
Some manufacturers were initially threatened by the Supercar Club’s presence in Australia, but soon realised it was a benefit rather than a detriment. Members are able to sample a wide variety of cars and will likely purchase the car that really polarises them. After driving machinery like the Audi S5 and several Lamborghinis, it takes a proper drive to cement the decision to purchase such a car.
A cap of five members to one car means that new cars are added frequently to meet member demands. Prospective members will be happy to hear that it’s a democracy at the Supercar Club. Members are given the chance to vote at frequent meetings and share the decision about the next vehicles entering the fleet.
Members are the ones who ultimately choose the car they’re after, opposed to the big wigs and bean counters of the operation.
According to the Supercar Club, New South Wales members are around 39-years old, on average, and evenly split between business owners and employees. Victoria is somewhat different though with the average age lingering around 47-years old, while about 97 per cent run their own business, indicating entrepreneurial skills are directly related to hot cars ... sort of!
Although the general income of members is in the vicinity of $300,000 a year, there is a high school teacher who has recently joined the exclusive club. It’s certainly not a bad way to con students into school work!
Boys, if you have access to your Dad’s black Amex, pop it back in his wallet. The minimum joining age is 30 – although the Supercar Club is willing to make exceptions after prior approval from their insurers.
The most popular cars on the fleet are the Ferrari F430, Ferrari 360, Audi R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. Victoria is also hung on Aston Martins, with the V8 Vantage and DB9 Volante striking a chord with southern state members. With the recent addition of a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, this could soon change!
The general feel of the place is that members are key and are treated with the utmost respect. In the Supercar Club it doesn’t matter how much you earn or who you are, or even whether you are part of a chess club. Everyone is on the same level and shares the one passion – fast cars.
To find out more information about the Supercar Club, please visit http://www.supercarclub.com.au. You can also call the club on 1300 798 900. If you are interested in Bugatti Veyron ownership, follow this link.