from a friend of mine here in Sydney.....

check out for the day, and for some shots

"Go on...want to take it out...?"

I had already had a run in this car as a passenger, not 30 minutes before, with one of my instructors behind the wheel. That was an experience...being in Australia's fastest production car - the Lamborghini Murcielago capable of 330kmh - with an experienced racing car driver at the wheel. As we pulled out of the pits, Mark gave the thing a boot full and the car leapt down the road, leaving my stomach sitting 100m back in pit lane.

If you ever get to the point where you think your driving is pretty good, I highly recommend sitting in the passenger seat of a performance sports car with an experienced race car driver at the wheel. I guarantee by the first corner, you'll re-assess your current ability! There hasn't been too many times I've got nervous in a car with Mark driving - using the whole "he's an experienced driver - he knows what he is doing" thought process. But when you are sitting in a $650,000 Lamborghini that only has 1000klm on the clock, and you are staring at a tight right hander before flicking across to the speedo and it's registering just over 200kmh, the nerves do tend to tingle just a little!!

The Lamborghini Murcielago is a 4 wheel drive, V12 producing 612bhp. Around Eastern Creek Raceway, Mark didn't get the car out of 3rd gear until reaching the straight where 4th was engaged to see 240kmh come in the blink of an eye. Turn 1 is the fastest left hander in Australia; we cruised through at just under 200!! Accelerate back over 200 with turn 2 streaming towards you. On go the anchors! It's an amazing feeling under heavy braking when you feel the rear of the car start to dance side to side like some demented waltz, watching the driver simultaneously dropping gears and counter-steering the car to create the perfect balance for the next bend. The fact they seem to do it so easily and with such little fuss makes you think they must secretly 'plug' themselves in to the car with a broadband connection to receive the feedback 1000 times faster than mere mortals - or at least, me! The next 3 laps went past in a blur...

Not wanting to be greedy, we pulled the Lambo into the pits and allowed a few lucky others to experience this supercar at full throttle on a clear track.

Shortly after the last passenger ride (rewind to the beginning of this piece) the Murcielago was sitting at the end of the pit straight with a crowd of people around inspecting its every luscious curve. With the engine running - to enable the sight of the side air intakes extended - I jumped in the driver's seat and closed the door. Only once before have I experienced the tingle of anticipation simply by sitting in the drivers seat of a car, and that was in the Ferrari Enzo at last years motor show. With the window down in the Lambo, I looked out (and up!) at the cars owner and raised my eyebrows. What happened next will remain with me forever.

"Go you want to take it out?"

It was one of those situations where if you hesitate, it could all come crashing down and the moment would be lost forever. I didn't even want to look at anyone else in case it turns out he was joking and I'd have to get out. Up went the window so they couldn't reach me! Mark the instructor came around and got in the passenger seat and I had a fleeting feeling of revenge for scaring the crap out of me earlier, quickly followed by a bright neon flashing sign in my mind displaying the price tag of the car like some Sale of the Century show case display. I'd behave!

With Mark in the car, I depressed -the very light - clutch and clicked first gear...what a sound! I was mindful of leaving the pits in an orderly manner, very aware of about 40 sets of eyes on the back of the car and one set in particular more than likely saying "Oh [oops], what have I done!" Feeding out the clutch Mark calls out his first instruction not to let it out too slow as, like older Lambo's, the clutch may not like it. With this in mind, the clutch came all the way out and the right foot went most of the way down. [oops]!

Exiting the pits I kept the car steady in second until I was sure no one was coming screaming through turn 1 to be met by a dawdling Murcielago. With clear mirrors, I nailed second gear and lost my breath!! The torque, or pick up at such low revs was phenomenal. Before I knew it, I was back on the anchors for turn 2, a left hand hairpin of which I took very gently. The remainder of the first lap was also done in the same manner, not really leaving 3rd gear, mainly because you really didn't have to.

When someone gives you the keys to their car for a few laps, you need to find the line of enjoying the car for as long as possible, without taking the piss! This was the situation I found myself in on lap 4! Having driven the first 2 laps very tentatively, I found the Lambo was instilling an unnerving amount of confidence in me - the sort that creates the red mist! The 2 hairpins were now being taken in 2nd, after nailing every heel toe down change thanks to perfectly positioned pedals, and the main straight was easily registering 240km/h in 4th. I was starting to feel the tendency for understeer through the tighter corners that was evident as a passenger with Mark driving, but what a joy when you back off the gas ever so slightly and see and feel the nose come back into line! After talking myself, with the help of Mark, into 1 more lap, I was totally and completely smitten with this car. It wasn't at all difficult to drive, it didn't feel as big as it really is, and the soundtrack that bellows behind your head when you have the accelerator to the floor is an experience in itself. I wish I had a recorder in the car to capture it forever! Put simply, if a car with this much grunt can make a monkey like me feel confident, it must be very well sorted in deed!

And so came to an end my very first Lamborghini driving experience. Not a bad way to start - in a Murcielago! Pottering down pit lane, I had an overwhelming urge to flash the xenon's so every one could share this experience with me - pitiful, I know!