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Supercar driving licences: why you could soon need a special licence to drive a Ferrari

New Ultra-High Performance licence will mean Australian drivers will have to attend a course in order to get behind the wheel of the fastest cars

You may soon need a special licence to drive a supercar as the Australian government has launched a new scheme described as “worthy of consideration in the UK”.

As of 1 December 2024, those wanting to drive a vehicle that produces over 370bhp per tonne will need, according to South Australian law, what has been designated a U-Class (also known as an Ultra-High Performance Vehicle) driving licence.

This means that many sports and supercars, such as the Ferrari 296 GTB (557bhp per tonne), Porsche 991 Turbo S (373bhp per tonne), McLaren Artura (385bhp per tonne) and even the Caterham Seven 420 (375bhp per tonne) can only be driven by someone with a U-Class licence.

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One must apply for such a licence online, pay a fee of $61 (roughly £32) and complete an online course. This, according to the South Australian Department for Transport and Infrastructure, will teach drivers “how to safely operate an UHPV” and break down the purpose of functions such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC). It doesn’t, however, require an additional practical driving test.

Speaking to Auto Express, driving safety charity IAM RoadSmart, cited that such an idea “has its merits.” Director of Policy and Standards, Nicholas Lyes, said: “Some drivers getting behind the wheel of such vehicles will struggle to handle the huge changes in acceleration, braking, and cornering; therefore, teaching them more tailored skills is worthy of consideration in the UK.”

While it may be a while before we see this type of licensing system implemented in the UK – if it happens at all – the steps to introduce Graduated Driving Licences are already underway. Earlier this year, Labour MP Kim Leadbeater introduced the new Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (New Drivers) Bill to the House of Commons which would see newly-qualified drivers prohibited from carrying young people for the first six months of driving. 

Such a scheme has been described by the RAC as something “that has the potential to save lives”, with the leader of bereaved parents group, Forget-me-not Families Uniting, stating that “we can’t sit back any longer and just watch as more and more young people are killed or seriously injured in road collisions.”

Do you think the introduction of a Ultra-High Performance Vehicle driving license would be a good idea in the UK? Let us know in the comments below...

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Consumer reporter

Tom is Auto Express' Consumer reporter, meaning he spends his time investigating the stories that matter to all motorists - enthusiasts or otherwise. An ex-BBC journalist and Multimedia Journalism graduate, Tom previously wrote for partner sites Carbuyer and DrivingElectric and you may also spot him throwing away his dignity by filming videos for the Auto Express social media channels.

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