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Part of a very exclusive club

Members of the P1 performance club get the pick of some of the world's hottest and most expensive supercars, including brands such as Ferrari, Aston Martin and Lamborghini. P1 Australia director Peter Dempsey says the club has 12 cars and plans to add one new car for every extra five members.

"With our collection they can take any car out that suits them," he says. The cars are divided into five categories, the top one featuring the most expensive cars, such as a Ferrari F430 Spider and soon a Scaglietti, an Aston Martin DB9 Volante and Vanquish and a Lamborghini Murcielago.

Other cars in the mix include a Bentley Continental GT, a Ferrari F430, Aston Martin V8 Vantage and various Porsches. The lower categories might not be quite as impressive, but they'll still turn heads. A BMW M5 and Z4 M Coupe, a Range Rover Sport and a Lotus Exige S2, add to the list.

Dempsey says a Hummer H2 will be next to arrive, dressed with a leather package. He is also expecting the arrival of the Audi R8. But getting to drive your dream cars doesn't come cheap.

"There's a joining fee of $5000 and then there are three different levels of membership, $27,000, $32,000 or $36,500," Dempsey says.

Top-end members have a possible 70 driving days a year, with the cheaper membership offering 50 days a year.

The company originated in England six years ago, and was co-founded by former Formula One world champion Damon Hill.

After two months of operation, the Sydney branch has 50 members. "In Sydney, we cap it at 150 members," Dempsey says. "That's a reflection of the size

of commercial property that is available to store the cars."

The founding British club has 74 cars, including a Ford GT and an Aerial Atom. But Dempsey says they haven't been able to bring these models, as the Atom isn't road legal in Australia and customs won't allow the GT in as it is a left-hand drive. "(But) we're the only ones doing it with the supercars, brand new cars," he says.

And it seems that it's not just the usual suspects, the wealthy bankers, lawyers and financiers, who are getting on board.

Dempsey says members come from all walks of life and include a greengrocer and a professional golfer. Doctors, dentists, solicitors and barristers are also taking up the chance to get behind the wheel of some amazing cars.

The youngest member is a 22-year-old refrigeration engineer from western Sydney.

The club takes care of all insurance, maintenance and storage fees and Dempsey says one of the main benefits is that members don't have to worry about huge depreciation on the vehicles.

"With high taxation, people understand that they're better off putting half a million dollars in an investment and getting to play the field (with) the cars," he says.

And while the majority of those taking up the membership are male, Dempsey says women are also driving them as a memberships include two names as drivers.

"Often guys show the interest and then bring their wives on board as the second name driver," he says.

The cars can be taken out for as little as a day, or it can run into months -- depending on members' wants and needs.

Dempsey says the weather often forecasts what vehicles will be popular, with the convertibles a hit on the sunny weekends.

A second British branch of the club opened in 2004 in Manchester.

The Australian section will expand in March, when a Melbourne club is opened, with Formula One driver Mark Weber in attendance again. And Dempsey says that P1 International is also looking towards expanding into Dubai and Hong Kong.

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