For Australian petrolheads, there are few better ways to end Summer than with a spectacular drive along the Great Ocean Road.
Situated on the coast of Victoria, the Great Ocean Road is known internationally for its wondrous strips of tarmac and breathtaking coastal views.
With enough thrilling corners to satisfy even the keenest driving enthusiasts, it isn't surprising that this ribbon of road is regarded as one of the best, not only in Australia, but anywhere in the world. Consider it the Southern Hemisphere’s equivalent of the Pacific Coast Highway.
On February 20, we were fortunate enough to be invited along for an unforgettable drive on the Victorian coast with the Otium Club, a Melbourne based car and lifestyle collective that has some of the country's finest vehicles in its midsts.
Whether its the array of AMGs, including a manic supercharged C63 from Weistec, or the host of Porsches, Ferraris and Lamborghinis, the club never fails to stop other motorists in awe in the pursuit of having an incredible time.
For Otium's Great Ocean Road drive, we jumped onboard a stunning 997.2-generation Porsche 911 GT3 with over a dozen trackdays under its belt. While the latest GT3 is certainly faster, the previous model remains unique as the last (not for long) to utilize a six-speed manual transmission, providing driving thrills unmatched by the German marque's greatest PDK gearboxes. For the roads we were tackling, the stick shift proved the perfect companion alongside the experienced driver's masterful heel-and-toe maneuvers.
As the chilly morning fog lifted and made way for the piercing daytime heat at the gathering point near Melbourne's CBD, over 80 performance cars showed up, offering a glimpse of the insanity which would follow throughout the day.
Getting to the Great Ocean Road requires a lengthy drive along some uninspiring highways, but as you'd imagine, dozens of supercars and sports cars driving together always makes for an incredible time, even if the roads are nothing more than mundane.
After a quick pitstop at a petrol station to feed the beasts some fuel, driving nirvana beckoned as we passed more and more coastal towns. Before long, we arrived on the Great Ocean Road and given that it was Sunday afternoon, some slow moving cars did hamper progress. Nevertheless, even quick bursts of acceleration and daring overtakes in a car as well-respected and regarded as the 911 GT3 is as addictive as the deadliest crystal meth.
Just two months prior, this area was crippled by huge bushfires leaving the road's neighbouring shrubbery blackened and charred. Juxtaposed with the glistening blue water just meters away, it made for a surreal scene.
Following a break in traffic, we were able to experience just how fast the GT3 is and boy does it leave a positive impression, even from the passenger seat. Thanks to the screaming Mezger engine freely revving to 8,500 rpm, the GT3 sings like the finest choir, a symphony further enhanced by our car's SharkWerks exhaust. Courtesy of its rear-engined layout, sticky tires and rear-wheel drive, the German beast tugs into the ground like a child grips to its favorite toy, clamping down the seatbelts and forcing you to grip on for dear life. It's unrelenting, yet-oh-so enjoyable.
After a lunch stop, the journey home started but to spice things up, organizers opted to ditch the Great Ocean Road for the less-popular and smoother roads twisting their way through the Otway Rainforest. Here, we were chasing a supercharged Jaguar F-Type and while it wasn't as fast as we would've liked, hearing the Jag's exhaust pop and burble more than made up for it.
Within the blink of an eye, the return back to Melbourne started in earnest, wrapping up an incredible day filled with laughs, some unforgettable stories and most importantly, more fun than we could have wished for.
Hats off to the Otium Club for inviting us along, we can't wait for the next!