Scuderia 250 Supercar Club
Helena Frith Powell tests the Scuderia 250 Supercar Club, the first and only high-end sports car club in the Middle East
WHAT WE TRIED: The first and only high-end sports car club in the Middle East. For info, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.scudiera-250.com
WHAT WE HOPED FOR: A red Ferrari driven by a George Clooney lookalike. As I didn’t have the Dh55,000 needed for membership, I couldn’t be insured to drive any of the cars the club owns myself, so I had to be allocated a driver for the test drive.
WHAT WE EXPERIENCED: Joy of all joys… a red Ferrari F435 driven by Tim Conniff, the sales manager, who as luck would have it bears an uncanny resemblance to George Clooney.
But before we could roar around town I had some paperwork to complete to emulate the real process, which goes like this: 1. First you register on their website, www.scudiera-250.com. A very nice lady called Susan comes to your office or home, and you fill in a form, which on a scale of form-filling in the UAE, is as easy as working a Formula 1 gearbox (very easy since you ask). 2. Then you pay your membership fee, which is on one of four levels starting from Dhs55,000 and going up to Dhs135,000 for the top membership. There is also a one-off joining fee of Dh10,000.
The membership entitles you to points, which you use to borrow one of 30 cars the club owns. These include a Lamborghini Gallardo, an Aston Martin DB9 and a Porsche 997 Turbo (is there any other kind of Porsche?). 3. You collect the car in Dubai or they bring it to you, whatever suits. They deliver to Abu Dhabi. The club will be limited to 250 members – hence the name – and membership will entitle you to an average of 50 driving days a year.
“It is a great way to enjoy high-performance cars without actually incurring the expense of owning one,” says Conniff, who estimates that the cost of owning a Ferrari for a year is around Dh280,000 if you take into account insurance, depreciation and maintenance. “You get all the driving experience without all the cost.”
THE FINAL VERDICT: A perfect solution for credit-crunch-hit car enthusiasts. Everyone will think you own not one but several drop-dead cars. And the best of it is that you get your own car valet-cleaned while you roar up and down the Atlantis tunnel in a red Ferrari as I did. It’s an experience I highly recommend, with or without the George Clooney lookalike.
Helena Frith Powell was born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Italian father, but grew up mainly in England. She is the author of eleven books, translated into several languages including Chinese and Russian. She wrote the French Mistress column The Sunday Times about life in France for several years. She is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Tatler Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar.
Helena has been the editor of four magazines, including M Magazine, a supplement for the Abu Dhabi based National Newspaper and FIVE, a high-end fashion glossy, also published in Abu Dhabi. Helena was also editor in chief of 360 Life, a quarterly glossy magazine published with the Sports 360 Newspaper in Dubai, part of the Chalhoub Group. She writes a beauty blog wwwbeautyorbeast.uk.
Her third novel, The Arnolfini Marriage, based on a romance that evolves around a van Eyck masterpiece came out in 2016. As well as writing regularly for newspapers and magazines, Helena is also working on a thriller called Welcome to Sweden that will be published in spring 2018. Her latest non-fiction work Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles is out in hardback and will be out in paperback in January 2018.
Helena was educated at Durham University and lived in the Languedoc region of France for eight years, where the family still have a home. She lives in London with her husband Rupert and their three children.
More France Please, we’re British; Gibson Square 2004
Two Lipsticks and a Lover 2005; Gibson Square (hardback)
All You Need to be Impossibly French; (US version of above) Penguin 2006
Two Lipsticks and a Lover; Arrow Books (paperback) 2007
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (hardback) 2006
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (paperback) 2007
So Chic! (French version of Two Lipsticks) Leduc Editions 2008 (also translated into Chinese, Russian and Thai)
More, More France; Gibson Square 2009
To Hell in High Heels; Arrow Books 2009 (also translated into Polish)
The Viva Mayr Diet; Harper Collins 2009
Love in a Warm Climate; Gibson Square 2011
The Ex-Factor; Gibson Square 2013
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles; Gibson Square 2016
The Arnolfini Marriage; Amazon Kindle December 2016
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles (paperback); Gibson Square January 2018
Welcome to Sweden; Gibson Square spring 2018