Luddenham Raceway officially opened by radio broadcaster Alan Jones

Luddenham Raceway has been open since March. Many car companies have used the venue to showcase five-star safety technology to sales personnel.
Luddenham Raceway has been open since March. Many car companies have used the venue to showcase five-star safety technology to sales personnel.

M8, stp txg n drivg. Srsly. I’m not LOL. Now, if Ian Luff was to send a text message to drivers, that would be it.

It would be followed by: speed belongs on the racetrack and not on public roads.

Speaking at the launch of Luddenham Raceway, Luff – a former motorsport driver turned driver trainer – said driving was all about ABC  – attitude, behavior and choice.

“We’re using this facility to develop and change people’s attitudes and impact their behaviour which is based on their choices,” Luff said.

“The simple message is to avoid a collision you have to use your vision. You can be impaired by alcohol, drugs, fatigue, stress – and the big one is texting.

“If you’re looking down, you’re not looking up and an accident can happen quickly. Drivers, especially young drivers, need to concentrate. 

“I see a lot of what I call ‘perving’ – drivers who are going one way but looking another or rubbernecking and talking to passengers in back seat.

“In cricket, if you’re in the outfield running to catch the ball, their eyes are focused on one thing: the ball. When your not focused on the road, it can have fatal consequences.”

Luff used cricket in another analogy when describing speed on the roads: “If you’re going to play cricket, you don’t go to Woolworths and start hitting sixes in the aisles because someone will get hurt.”

Luddenham Raceway provides a safe environment where enthusiasts can drive their own vehicle or motorbike at speed without getting booked.

IAN LUFF

His philosophy comes back to the campaign he launched at the 1994 Bathurst 12 Hour Endurance Race titled: Taking Speed off the Roads.

“The race track is the legal place where speeding is acceptable,” said Luff, who runs driving safety courses through his business Ian Luff Track Attack at the track.

“Public roads are not race tracks, all drivers should adjust their speed to suit the driving conditions.”

Green light: Drive To Survive principal Ian Luff at Luddenham Raceway. His son Warren has come second the last two years at the Bathurst 1000.

Green light: Drive To Survive principal Ian Luff at Luddenham Raceway. His son Warren has come second the last two years at the Bathurst 1000.

Luff said Luddenham Raceway provides a safe environment where enthusiasts can drive their own vehicle or motorbike at speed without getting “busted”.

Construction of the raceway began in 2013 when a Luddenham family donated their property for the development and it opened in March.

The raceway holds open track days, academy days and driver safety lessons for cars and motorbikes. Car manufacturers have also used the facility to launch products and it also has two go-kart tracks and a paintball centre. The track was officially launched on Thursday by radio broadcaster Alan Jones. Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Chief Inspector Phillip Brooks was also in attendance to talk road safety in the lead up to Christmas.

Having started driver training and development in 1983 and with more than 200,000 people (including Formula One driver Mark Webber) going through his academy, Luff knows a thing or two about driver training.

And for him it starts at the beginning.  “Cars don’t crash, people do. Everyone wants to blame the car. The car skidded, it went off the road. That’s the end result but it comes back to driver competency,” he said. “Most people are taught to drive by mums, dads, brothers, sisters, friends, relatives. The system is broken because well-intention parents who were taught on a older technology car which might not have had airbags.

“If you have got your hands on the wrong place on the steering wheel and the airbag goes off at over 240km/h you can get injured very dramatically.

“I believe having a driver’s licence is a privilege, it’s not a right.The system we have to get a driver's licence is a little more than a three-point turn, a reverse park and a hill start. We have cars that can park themselves now.

An overhead shot of the Luddenham Raceway, Sydney’s newest motorsport precinct. It's on more than 100 acres of rolling hills in south-west Sydney.

An overhead shot of the Luddenham Raceway, Sydney’s newest motorsport precinct. It's on more than 100 acres of rolling hills in south-west Sydney.

“Road crashes cost the Australian economy $27 billion a year – that’s a lot of people getting it wrong and yet we’re not fixing the problem.

“We are trying to put a Band-aid on it with more speed cameras.

“Speed does not kill. Inappropriate speeding for the conditions is the problem.

“If you’re driving in the pouring rain and cant see or there is fog, you probably shouldn’t be driving because if you can’t see, you can’t react

“I’ve done 300 kilometres at Bathurst, so does that mean I should be dead because the speed limit is 60.

“It’s all about the right place at the right time.”

In a wide-ranging interview Luff also covered off on a range of topics including: 

Tailgating: “People travel way too close. 30 per cent of crashes are from people running into he back of someone. People say they braked... well, they are allowed to.” 

Luddenham Raceway as a homage to Oran Park raceway: “Our track is slightly shorter than Oran Park but we believe the Luddenham Raceway fills the void left by Oran Park.”

Race meetings: “We won’t host race meetings at this stage but we have long-term plans to grow the track.”

Ian Luff and radio broadcaster Alan Jones officially unveil the plaque at Luddenham raceway. The opening included a parade lap of more than 50 old and new vehicles.

Ian Luff and radio broadcaster Alan Jones officially unveil the plaque at Luddenham raceway. The opening included a parade lap of more than 50 old and new vehicles.

Luddenham Raceway 

  • It’s at 821-849 Luddenham Road and is certified by the Confederation of Australian Motorsport. 
  • The track length is 1.4 kilometres and it’s 10 metres wide in a clockwise direction.
  • The rise and fall is more than 20 metres with eight corners. 
  • It has two go-kart tracks, including one for younger kids and a paintball centre.