By Jason McGarry.
After seeing an email advertisement from Lotus Australia relating to experiencing the Monaco GP on Sydney Harbour organised with Ultimate Driving Tours, I thought what a great short break where I could mix driving and pleasure without the stress of competing.
So Deb and I packed lightly and headed off in the Exige to Sydney, yes we drove it to Sydney and not on a trailer! After softening the suspension before I left I was quite amazed how comfortable the drive was except we should have put ear plugs in! The coast road is excellent now from Brisbane to Sydney but need to watch the speed.
So we left Brisbane on Friday morning and headed down the M1 with a planned stop for lunch at “The Farm” at Byron Bay, and then on to Taree as a sleepover. We had to be in Sydney by lunchtime as we had bought tickets to see the musical Hamilton (which btw is excellent). Dinner that night was at my favourite restaurant in Australia “Mr Wongs”, which was excellent as always.
Sunday morning we left from the Crown Hotel lobby where my Exige was surrounded by Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Rolls Royce and Audis. We were given a closed channel radio, some final instructions and told to “warm” the engines up for the guests of the hotel before getting on our way. After leaving the Sydney CBD we headed north to our first stop at Estuary Waterfront Restaurant where I had a discussion with a local policeman about where I parked illegally – my way out of the situation was that I told him I was from Queensland. I also said hello to a MG Car Club group that was on an EMR that morning as well.
From there we headed towards Mooney Mooney, where I got to watch the rear of Lambos and Ferraris as they weaved through the narrow country roads. The scenery was awesome and the roads were great for the Exige where it could stretch its legs at times. From there we travelled to our lunch spot at Bells at Killcare. At this point we were able to have a chat to the other tourers, most of whom had been on tours with Ultimate Driving Tours driving Supercars in Europe on route to events like Monaco F1.
After a delicious lunch it was time to head back into Sydney to prepare for our boat departure from the wharf at Crown Towers at 4.30 pm where we were entertained whilst enjoying the sunset on Sydney Harbour. The experience on the boat was in line with the experience that Ultimate Driving Tours offer in Monaco. With a live covers band, excellent food and the alcohol flowing it was a great build up to watch the race on the screen. An hour before the race Mark Webber called in to share his feeling on how the race was going to unfold and gave an account of the atmosphere on the track, which was a great surprise.
We returned back to the wharf around 2:00 am, by 10:00 am we were on the road heading back to Brisbane in the Exige. If you ever have the opportunity to book a tour with Ultimate Driving Tours either in Australia or overseas I would totally recommend it. They understand how to tailor a package together where there is something for the car enthusiast and their partner.