Australia?s newest driver training centre was officially opened this past week by Federal Shadow Parliamentary Secretary Don Randall MP, and carmaker Proton is set to play a key role in the centre?s services.
The Marulan Driver Training Centre was built and financed by former car racer and circuit manager Garry Willmington, over 15 years.
Proton will be the vehicle supplier for Safe Drive Training, the company tasked with running the driver training courses at the new Marulan centre.
Mr Randall praised Proton for its support in the quest to better prepare young drivers for the challenges they confront on the road each day.
"Without the help of companies such as this the task of completing this vital training for our young drivers would be almost impossible.
The community needs to have the involvement of corporations to help reduce the appalling accident rate amongst younger motorists," said Mr Randall.
He added that drivers under 25 accounted for almost a third of the 1400 people killed on Australian roads in 2008.
Proton Cars Australia managing director John Startari said that Proton is proud to be involved with the new Marulan Driver Training Centre (MDTC) and Safe Drive Training?s program, but that the company?s involvement with Safe Drive Training is not new.
"Proton has been involved with Safe Drive Training for more than a decade and is committed to helping train young Australians to be better and safer drivers," said Mr Startari.
"In the time Proton has been involved with Safe Drive Training more than 30,000 school students have received driver training and we are looking forward to being involved with the new Marulan Driver Training Centre.
Safe Drive Training principal Joel Nielsen says the involvement of Proton will be vital to the work his company is doing with young drivers.
?This is an exciting new facility that will be an important addition to the driver training industry in NSW, particularly given the imminent closure of Oran Park, the constant demands on Eastern Creek and Wakefield Park and the heavy schedule for Canberra's driver training facility" said Joel Nielsen.
"Proton has been a close partner with us over the past 11 years and we look forward to having them involved with our programs at Marulan where the supply of Protons will allow us to give young drivers the chance to get behind the wheel and be taught some important and valuable lessons," he said.
Photo: Matthew Mead, Driver: TMR?s Alan Li
The facility at Marulan includes a one kilometre handling circuit, incorporating a range of different turns and challenges.
A sprinkler-equipped skid pan, dirt training track, and class rooms are also features of the facility.
The MDTC will host more than 2500 high school students each year from schools located within two hours of Marulan.
The Safe Drive Test Drive focuses on four fatal factors for novice drivers: over-confidence, inexperience, risk taking and peer influence.
The course will be open to year 11 and 12 students, with at least a learner's permit.