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Mercs do it for Mick

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-year-old 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.


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