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South Australia introduces new ultra-high performance driver's licence

In South Australia you'll need a special licence to drive car's as powerful as a Ferrari 812 GTS.

South Australia will require owners of certain high-performance cars to undergo testing and meet other criteria before being given a special licence to drive their vehicles from December 1 this year.

The "U-Class" licence will be needed by anybody living in South Australia who’s planning to drive what the government has categorised as an Ultra High-Powered Vehicle (UHPV).

"The creation of a new U licence class for people who drive Ultra High-Powered Vehicles (UHPV) delivers on a commitment made by the State Government to introduce a suite of reforms in the wake of the tragic death of Sophia Naismith," a spokesperson for South Australia’s Department of Infrastructure and Transport told CarsGuide.

In June 2019, 15-year-old Sophia Naismith was struck by a Lamborghini Huracan. The driver - 35-year-old Alexander Campbell - claims he lost control of the vehicle while changing gear and was given a four-month sentence after pleading guilty to aggravated driving without due care.

For anybody unsure if they need to have the new licence to drive their car, the South Australian government outlines exactly what a UHPV is.

"A UHPV is defined as any vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Mass less than 4.5 tonnes (not including a bus or motorbike) with a power-to-weight ratio equal to or greater than 276 kilowatts per tonne," the spokesperson told CarsGuide.

That means you’ll need the licence to drive cars such as the Ferrari 812 GTS, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and of course a Lamborghini Huracan. A regular Porsche 911, however, just slips under the maximum power-to-weight cut off.

"To obtain this new U class licence, a person will have to complete an online training course. This course is currently being developed and will ensure a person is aware of the risks associated with driving an UHPV and the use of common vehicle features within Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.

"There will be no exemption for prior experience or graduation process. Existing high-powered vehicle restrictions will continue to apply for provisional drivers.

"To be eligible for this U licence classification, a person must have held one of the following licences for at least three years: car (C); light rigid (LR); medium rigid (MR); heavy rigid (HR); heavy combination (HC); multi-combination (MC)."

South Australia has become the first state in Australia to introduce the high-performance car driving licence and is one of the first jurisdictions in the world to do so, too.

Currently only probation licence holders are restricted from driving high-performance vehicles in Australia and only in certain states. New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland prohibit P-platers from driving cars with power-to-weight ratios of more than 130kW/tonne, while Western Australia, the ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have no restrictions.