Mercs do it for Mick

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

MICK Doohan was best-of-the-best dur­ing his World Mo­tor­cy­cle Cham­pi­onship ca­reer. He won five 500cc ti­tles from 1994 to 1998, claim­ing 54 vic­to­ries from 137 starts, and only re­tired af­ter a life-threat­en­ing crash that still causes him to limp.

Doohan’s re­sults make him among Aus­tralia’s most-dec­o­rated in­ter­na­tional sports­men, but he has also be­come a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man since leav­ing the glam­our of Monaco to live with his wife Selina— and nine-year-old daugh­ter Allexis and five-yearold son Jack— on the Gold Coast.

His busi­nesses in­clude Global Jet In­ter­na­tional, an air char­ter com­pany, the CatHouse restau­rant and night­club at the Luxor casino in Las Ve­gas, and Czech-based CDT, a com­pany in­volved in motorsport, which has David Coulthard as a part­ner.

When he is not fly­ing his he­li­copter or re­lax­ing in his private jet, Doohan likes to slide into a Mercedes-Benz that has been tweaked by the com­pany’s hotrod AMG di­vi­sion. What was your first car? A 1975 HJ Holden sta­tion wagon I bought in 1982 for about $1400. It was a V8, but also ran on seven cylin­ders. What do you drive now? A dark grey Mercedes E63 AMG with a 6.3-litre V8 and an S65 with a V12 twin-turbo en­gine. They are both civilised ve­hi­cles with am­ple room for fam­ily. Both have torque when you need it with­out be­ing ag­gres­sive. They are smooth and quiet, but if you want a bit ex­tra they can give it to you. Both are sporty look­ing cars with­out be­ing over the top. Do you have a favourite drive and who would you take? The drive from Mugello in Italy to Monaco is al­ways good. It’s about 400km along the Mediter­ranean coast through tun­nels and along wind­ing roads, by­pass­ing Florence and Genoa. You can cruise at about 130km/h, which is quick enough to en­joy the drive and also take in the views. I would take my wife Selina with me. How far would you drive in an av­er­age year? About 10,000km, mostly be­tween my home and the Gold Coast, and around south­east Queens­land. I’ve also got a Mercedes CL65 coupe in Ve­gas to drive when I’m over there. When I was rac­ing and liv­ing in Europe in the 1990s I used to drive a lot more. In 1990 I had a Porsche and I drove to many of the races all over Europe from Monaco. Do you have a favourite mo­tor­ing me­mory? Wayne Gard­ner and I driv­ing back to Monaco af­ter a race at Mugello in the early ’90s. I was in a Porsche and he was in a Honda NSX. We weren’t rac­ing, but we made sure we got home be­fore the restau­rants and bars closed! What would you buy if money was no ob­ject? I don’t re­ally have a dream car, but the McLaren SLR 722 Edi­tion is a se­ri­ous piece of equip­ment. It’s a sports car de­vel­oped by Mercedes and McLaren Au­to­mo­tive and gets from 0-100km/h in less than three sec­onds. What mu­sic is play­ing in your car? What­ever is on the ra­dio. How much is too much for a new car? It’s all rel­a­tive to what you earn and what your pas­sion is. The prob­lem in Aus­tralia is the large taxes on cars. In the US you can pay half the price you would spend on the same car. What should be done to make driv­ing safer? With­out a doubt, bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion and com­pul­sory driver train­ing is needed in Aus­tralia. In Aus­tralia they seem to hand out car li­cences so long as you can start on a hill and do a re­verse park. Peo­ple should be taught how to con­trol a ve­hi­cle and what dan­ger signs to look for up ahead so they know what to do to pre­vent a crash. Are you spon­sored by a car com­pany? I don’t have any spon­sor­ship.

Pas­sion: Mick Doohan shakes down a AMG Mercedes-Benz at Phillip Is­land.

King: Doohan dur­ing his two-wheel ca­reer.

Plenty of power: Doohan gets air­borne in a Mercedes CLK 63 AMG.

Fam­ily man: with wife Selina.

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