Pirtek founder and long-time motorsport supporter Peter Duncan has been awarded a Member of the Order (AM) in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Duncan, who founded Pirtek in Sydney in 1980, was rewarded for his significant services to business and manufacturing, to medical research, and to sport.
Pirtek has become one of the most recognisable brands in Australian and international motorsport and was a founding Platinum Partner of Speedcafe.com in 2009.
One of Pirtek’s earliest tastes of sponsorship success came in 1998 when it sponsored a Stone Brothers Racing Falcon at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 driven by Jason Bright and Steve Richards.
The car won the race, leading to overnight recognition of the brand and a long association with SBR which produced two famous Supercar championships with Marcos Ambrose in a Pirtek-backed Falcon in 2003 and 2004.
Pirtek’s return to the world of Supercar team sponsorship came in 2014 when US-based automotive billionaire Roger Penske saved Australia’s most famous motor racing team, Dick Johnson Racing, by becoming a majority shareholder.
Pirtek is a major secondary sponsor of the Shell V-Power Racing Team which won last year’s Supercars Championship and currently sits one-two in this year’s title chase with Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard respectively.
It is also a long-term sponsor of Supercars’ Pirtek Enduro Cup, the annual pit stop challenge and this year took up naming rights of the Perth night event.
In 2016, Pirtek was the primary sponsor of an entry in the 100th Indianapolis 500 for young Australian rookie Matt Brabham.
It has also sponsored cars in the British Touring Car Championship and NASCAR.
Pirtek was also a long and successful sponsor of the Parramatta Eels in the National Rugby League and has been major sponsor of the New Zealand national rugby league team since 2008, when the Kiwis won their first World Cup.
The world’s leading supplier of premium fluid transfer solutions, Pirtek remains a family-owned operation having expanded to 23 countries with more than 400 Service and Supply Centres and 1750 mobile service units servicing more than 200,000 customers with more than 13,000 product lines.
There are currently 96 franchises in Australia with the head office remaining in Kings Park in Sydney where Duncan is still actively involved in the business on a daily basis as its Chairman.
Apart from continually striving to grow the business, Duncan, 76, has ensured his companies maintain a great community and social responsibility programme.
Pirtek this year celebrated its 11th year of sponsorship of the Pirtek Fishing Challenge which has grown into the world’s largest one-day fishing event and which raises significant funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and other charities.
In 2012, the Peter Duncan Neuroscience Research Unit was opened at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. The aim is to develop treatments for chronic neurological and neurodegenerative disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, HIV-associated Neurocognitive Disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson Disease, and Stroke.
Sadly, Peter’s wife of 57 years and one of the driving forces behind his success, Val, lost a short battle with an aggressive cancer last month.
“It really is quite humbling to be awarded such an honour,” said Duncan.
“The success of Pirtek has changed a lot of people’s lives through the years and has also allowed us to give back and contribute to the community on a sponsorship and charitable level.
“We are proud of our success and the expansion of our business and brand, but I have preferred a lower personal profile.
“There will always be business goals to achieve, especially through our recent international expansion. At the same time, we look forward to watching research doors being opened as a result of the tireless work happening at the Neuroscience Research Unit and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
“The AM is a recognition of the work and support of a lot of people, especially my wife Val, who is sadly not here to share it with us.”
Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove paid tribute to all the recipients.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from or whether you’re known to millions or just a few,” said the Governor-General.
“If you have constantly put others ahead of yourself, served tirelessly and made a difference you can be nominated and recognised by a grateful nation.”
Other notable recipients on this year’s honours list include actors Hugh Jackman and Eric Bana, ABC Chair Ita Buttrose, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Polar explorers Jade and Paul Hameister, and rugby league greats Cameron Smith and Jonathon Thurston.