Bathurst 1000 winner Luke Youlden says he has made his final endurance campaign, though will remain an integral part of Erebus Motorsport, wearing several hats with the team as he continues his impressive career.
Youlden has raced at every endurance round since 2000, shifting to Erebus for the beginning of 2017.
“After 20 years I have decided to step away from Supercars as a driver,” he said.
“It’s getting increasingly difficult to turn up off the couch and race at the top level and then not race one of these cars for another 8 months.
“I’ve done that for 20 years and I think I’ve done a good job, and I’m proud of the fact I have managed to hang around for so long.
“I have the most Bathurst’s under my belts without having done any sprint rounds so to be able to match the other guys is my badge of honor.”
Having partnered with Penrite Racing’s David Reynold for the last three seasons, he immediately impressed when he jumped from the blocks winning the co-driver race at Sandown and taking pole with Reynolds in 2017.
The pair then achieved every team’s dream when they conquered Mount Panorama and Luke followed the following year by topping the co-driver session at Bathurst by a second.
In 2019 he won the team’s first surfboard with Reynolds, finishing third on Sunday at the Gold Coast.
His total tally includes 57 races with one victory, 8 podiums and 29 top ten finishes.
“From day one I knew I had found a home at Erebus and I was never going to drive with anyone else, I’m just stoked I can continue to be a big part of the family and the business moving forward.
“I want to thank Betty and Barry and the entire team for the last three years and obviously ticking that Bathurst box; I’d like to think I was a big part of that win.”
But it is as much about what Youlden has done for the team off the track that has impressed CEO Barry Ryan, who has asked him to stay on in various roles across the business.
“What Luke has done for us is incredible, and we all have so much respect for him as a driver and as a person,” Ryan said.
“We’ve always said he is the ‘baseline’ for who we want all of our drivers to be; he’s always organised, respectful, fast, great with fans and media, and most of all a top bloke.
‘’What guys like Luke bring to an organisation is invaluable and the entire team love having him around.
“He is a great support to Dave and Anton and our young drivers as he has walked in their shoes and with the Erebus Academy as well as other initiatives moving forward, Luke will be an integral part of that.’’
For Youlden, the opportunity to continue to work with and be part of Erebus Motorsport combined with his own GT Racing and driver training is a perfect fit.
He will take part at the Erebus Academy Creating Pathways program, a dedicated Young Racing Driver Program that will launch at Norwell in Queensland on December 4.