Up until last week, I was never a "rev head" but for the swift, admiring glance when a unique sports car rumbled past at excessive speeds. But it took an experience that began in Kiama, New South Wales to become a convert.
Yup. I'm a Supercar Junky.
Get your drive on
On a stunning Friday, a co-driving mate and I sipped our morning drinks while hosts Walter Szyszka and Matt Thio of Prancing Horse Drive Experiences greeted four two-somes with an introduction to what lay ahead. We listened, but it was tough to focus as our attention was drawn over their shoulders - the stable was waiting to be driven.
Immediately it became apparent this isn't just a "hire a supercar for the day". Prancing Horse is a luxury touring experience of Australia that tugs at a driver's all five senses.
Starting with the eyes: four in a row, a parade of luxury awaited us. A 2018 Ferrari 488 GTB and Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 led the pack with a powerful Porsche 911 Carrera S and a sporty, lightweight Alfa Romeo 4C just behind.
Each automobile is unique, but it's the Lamborghini and Ferrari that won't let you look away. The Lamborghini looks like it belongs on a Navy's aircraft carrier with it's interior reflecting that design, whereas every centimetre of the Ferrari oozes European style and design.
Throughout the day, there are views of the stunning Pacific Ocean and rolling Southern Highlands but no matter where you are, your eyes keep reverting to the style and elegance of your opulent touring machines.
The touch: each automobile is its own dangerous, beautiful, wild beast, yet the engineering is so masterful they are incredibly easy to drive. The touring experience lies within the fusion of power-speed-control when tearing into turns and accelerating on straights from 0 to a speed with such force you're driven up from your seat. At 100kph, the pedals of these European stallions beg for a firmer nudge – it's at this pace (and above) where they discover their comfort zones.
As impressive as the acceleration is, equally amazing is these cars don't "brake" but rather glide to a decreasing, controlled speed in a millisecond. Whether speeding up or slowing down, on a straight or accelerating into a turn it's crystal clear you're controlling an instrument designed and produced by the world's best engineers.
From purr to roar
The ears: it's that noise. We've all heard it before, but it's luscious when it's you who generates it. As these supercars accelerate, they produce a horsepower rev, a quick pause, then a rapid-powerful "pop" as they change gears. That "sound" becomes a fondness that's no doubt mechanical but complemented with an engine that massages your body – it becomes sensual.
Up in your grill
The nose: the sense least utilised but still part of the attraction is tweaked as soon as you sit in a brand new machine. It continues as you smell the crisp, clean air of a beautiful countryside bordering the ocean. At high speeds, only the most experienced of arborists and horticulturalists will breathe in the Southern Highlands' varied and spectacular flora and fauna.
The taste: we are spoiled to live in a country where rural areas are littered with gorgeous wineries and former mining towns turned quaint villages. Our first stop for a cake and caffeine to relax and chat with fellow drivers was at the charming Burrawang's General Store Café. After a few more hours of driving we stopped for a late lunch where city chefs leave for a relaxing sea change. The Blue Swimmer at Seahaven, Gerroa, was a culinary delight.
Perhaps you've chartered a private boat and toured the Great Barrier Reef. You've done a helicopter ride with champagne picnic at The Twelve Apostles and a seaplane for lunch up at Whale Beach.
More than that
To call Prancing Horse a "luxury car rental" is to call a meal prepared by Chef Massimo Bottura at Italy's Osteria Francescana "just lunch". This is an expertly hosted, luxurious, exhilarating Super Car Driving Tour of Australia. Their stable is varied, from Ferrari and Lamborghini to McLaren, Aston Martin and Maserati. You might treat this as a gift for somebody looking to experience their local surroundings in a way never travelled before. Or? You might package it within a long weekend away with a loved one. Tours run from Byron Bay, Hunter Valley, Margaret River, the Yarra and Barossa and beyond.
Prancing Horse provides a luxurious day that tickles the senses while showcasing spectacular Australia. Yet, there was a let down. The day ended when my 2016 Nissan Pulsar Uber X ride home flaunted a hint of bravado when he picked up the pace to catch the lights. I thought, "Ah mate. You have no idea."