A name that came and conquered at Phillip Island before and after his victorious 1959 Australian Drivers Championship (ADC) / CAMS Gold Star Award was that of Melbourne based exhaust manufacturer and gifted racer, Len Lukey. Determined and ...
A name that came and conquered at Phillip Island before and after his victorious 1959 Australian Drivers Championship (ADC) / CAMS Gold Star Award was that of Melbourne based exhaust manufacturer and gifted racer, Len Lukey.
Determined and fiercely competitive, Lukey was one of only a few drivers who attempted to complete the grueling twelve race 1959 ADC schedule, at the time the longest in the championship's history. Lukey finished just two points ahead of his season long rival, Sydney based Alec Mildren and in third was Stan Jones, father of 1980 Formula One World Champion Alan Jones. Mildren raced to three wins that season, Lukey, Jones and Bill Patterson each took two victories, with single wins going to Jack Brabham, Bib Stillwell and New Zealand racer Ross Jensen. Make no mistake, there was no margin for error with competitors of this calibre during that championship.
Lukey continued to race competitively throughout the 60's in a range of open wheelers and touring cars, all fitted with his own specially engineered high performance exhaust systems manufactured from his Melbourne factory. This constant motor racing test bed ensured that all Lukey high performance exhaust products were in a class of their own and Lukey Exhaust became the brand of choice for motoring enthusiasts and Australian automotive repairers.
Len Lukey's special link to Phillip Island would continue during and well beyond his successful motor racing career. The running of the 1962 Armstrong 500 saw extensive track damage take place on the Victorian circuit and the Phillip Island Auto Racing Club (PIARC) could not afford to make the necessary repairs. The track then sat idle for two years. In 1964, Lukey bought the circuit and its surrounding property for $40,000, which was a massive amount of money back in those days. This investment provided a new lease of life to the majestic seaside circuit and the first public race meeting was held on the re-opened circuit three years later in September 1967.
Lukey passed away in 1978 still owning the circuit and it was purchased from Lukey's estate in 1984 for $800,000. In the decades to follow the popular Victorian motor racing venue grew to become an international standard Grand Prix circuit and one of the most popular motorcycle, sportscar, open wheeler and V8 Supercar circuits on this side of the world.
A permanent link to Len Lukey's Phillip Island legacy is the daunting Lukey Heights corner (Turn 9) that marks the highest elevation of the spectacular 4.4 kilometre seaside circuit.
Now, more than half a century after Lukey won the 1959 Australian Drivers' Championship and some 41 years since he purchased the Phillip Island motor racing circuit, Lukey's competitive spirit and the enduring success of his Lukey Performance Exhaust brand returns to Phillip Island this September at the L & H 500 as the personal sponsor of FPR V8 Supercar endurance race driver, Luke "Lukey" Youlden.
Youlden will compete in the L&H 500 at Phillip Island this September as co-driver to Mark "Frosty" Winterbottom in the number 5 Ford Performance Racing FG Falcon V8 Supercar, without a doubt one of most formidable driver partnerships in the 2010 field.
Lukey Performance Exhaust has joined forces with the highly experienced Youlden for the three 2010 V8 Supercar two driver endurance races, starting with the L&H 500 from September 10-12, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 during October 7-9 and the Armor All Gold Coast 600 be held from October 21-24.
Taking on his nickname of "Lukey" Youlden for these three endurance races, this Lukey Performance Exhaust personal sponsorship in 2010 celebrates the decades of success that has made the Lukey brand a national automotive industry icon, while paying homage to its founder's gutsy motor racing exploits. Now owned by Tenneco, one of the world's largest automotive ride control and exhaust system manufacturers and marketers, Lukey Performance Exhaust continues to enjoy aftermarket leadership based on the same principles of quality, performance and value that were introduced decades before by Len Lukey in his humble Melbourne factory.
The distinctive white, blue and black Lukey Performance Exhaust brand identity colours and logos will be visible in a newly designed endurance race helmet used by Youlden at all three 2010 V8 Supercar two-driver endurance racing events.
Sharing the driving duties at Phillip Island's L & H 500 with one of the V8 Supercar Championship Series' top three V8 Supercar drivers in Mark Winterbottom, Youlden's chances of taking the Lukey brand back to the Phillip Island and Bathurst podiums are stronger than ever before. He is driving one of the series' fastest Falcons paired with one of the series' fastest drivers. The role carries enormous responsibility for Youlden, while also being a glowing accolade for his talent behind the wheel.
According to FPR endurance race co-driver Luke "Lukey" Youlden, "It is a privilege to be the driver who returns the iconic Lukey brand back to where it all began for this automotive brand both on and off the track. Mark and I will be working hard to win at Phillip Island, Bathurst and on the streets of Surfers Paradise and its great to have Lukey Performance Exhaust on board for what is sure to be an exciting ride."
Roger Lassen, Tenneco Aftermarket Director stated, "The return of the Lukey Performance Exhaust brand to front line Australian motorsport at Phillip Island, where the brand's visionary founder had successfully competed and passionately owned the property makes perfect sense. It marks a return to the Aussie performance exhaust brand's traditional home. The fact that Luke shares the same nickname is also a great link. We wish Lukey Youlden and our Monroe brand sponsored Mark Winterbottom every success in the 2010 V8 Supercar endurance races."
Tradition is on Winterbottom and Youlden's side during this season of endurance, as during Len Lukey's 1959 Championship winning season, he was racing a Cooper Bristol bearing the number 5. Winterbottom and Youlden will also be carrying race number 5 at Phillip Island and in the V8 Supercar endurance races to follow on their Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon.
-source: marinelli pr