- January 27, 1978
- Supercars Championship
- Erebus Motorsport
Luke Youlden is an Australian racing driver who serves his entire career as an endurance co-driver in the Supercars Championship. He made a debut in 2000 and reached a peak in 2017 when he won the Bathurst 1000 race together with David Reynolds in the #9 Erebus Motorsport Holden Commodore.
Outside Supercars Championship, Youlden gained some success in other racing competitions. He was a champion in the 2000 Australian Formula Ford, the Class E champion in the 2001 Australian GT Production Car Championship and the vice-champion in the 2004 V8 Supercar Series.
Outside racing, Youlden works at performance driving school together with fellow racing driver Dean Canto. They started the Ultimate Stunt Driving business in 2009.
Formula Ford champion early in a career
Born in January 1978 in Melbourne, Victoria, as a son of the Australian Production Car champion Kent Youlden, Luke started his racing career in the Victorian Formula Ford in 1995. Due to lack of funds, Youlden stayed for few more years in the Victorian series, not progressing to the national championship. He won the Victorian championship in 1999.
Youlden made a debut in the Australian Formula Ford in 1999 as a replacement for Greg Ritter, who won the championship that year and participated at Bathurst 1000. Youlden took Ritter's seat at Bathurst non-championship round and won both races.
Next year, driving the #53 Mygale for Dougal McDougal Motorsport, Youlden collected seven podiums, including one victory, to take the Australian Formula Ford title ahead of Rick Kelly and Leanne Ferrier.
Supercars Championship debut in 2000
In 2000, Youlden also made his debut in the Supercars (Shell Championship Series) by joining Castrol Perkins Racing at Queensland 500 and Bathurst 1000. He was sharing the #8 Holden VT Commodore with Christian Murchison.
At Queensland, they were 27th on the grid and retired after 68 laps. At Bathurst 1000, they were just 40th on the grid but reached the top 5 before retirement on lap 129.
Australian GT Production Car Class E champion in 2001
In 2001, Youlden entered the Australian GT Production Car Championship with Holden Astra SRi. He competed in Class E, reserved for 4-cylinder touring cars, taking the championship title ahead of David Russell in a Proton Satria. One of the competitors in the championship was Luke's father Kent who was driving Ford Falcon in Class C competition.
Luke Youlden rejoined Perkins Motorsport in Supercars endurance races, sharing the #8 Holden with Adam Macrow. They retired both at Queensland 500 and Bathurst 1000.
Joining Steven Ellery Racing in 2002
Unable to secure a full-time ride in the V8 Supercars Championship, Youlden made a deal with Steven Ellery Racing to compete part-time in development series sponsored by Konica. Driving the #30 Ford AU Falcon, he participated in two of five rounds and scored five top 5 results in six races.
Youlden and Steven Ellery were sharing the #31 Supercheap Auto Racing Ford Falcon in endurance races, finishing 14th at Queensland 500 and 9th at Bathurst 1000.
Two podiums in two endurance races in 2003
The season 2003 was Youlden's first full season in the Konica V8 Supercar Series. Driving the #30 Ford Falcon, he scored one victory and three more podiums to finish fifth in the points.
That year, Youlden scored sensational results in two endurance races of the V8 Supercars Championship, finishing on a podium in both. He and Steven Ellery were second at Sandown 500, losing to Mark Skaife and Todd Kelly. At Bathurst 1000, Youlden and Ellery finished third in the #31 Supercheap Auto Racing Ford BA Falcon.
In 2003, Youlden also participated in Bathurst 24 Hour race, driving a Lamborghini Diablo GTR for Mark Coffey Racing. He was sharing a car with Allan Simonsen, Paul Stokell and Peter Hackett, finishing 8th overall and 6th in Class A.
V8 Supercar Series vice-champion in 2004
Youlden continued to drive the #30 Ford Falcon in the Konica Minolta V8 Supercar Series, finishing a season tied in points with Andrew Jones. With more wins on his account, Jones was declared the champion. Youlden was a race winner once, at Winton, while Jones scored two wins.
In the V8 Supercars Championship endurance races, Youlden joined Steven Ellery again, finishing 22nd at Sandown and 16th at Bathurst.
Entering Australian Carrera Cup in 2005
Steven Ellery's team left Supercars in 2005 so Youlden moved to another competition. He joined Team VIP Petfoods in the Australian Porsche Carrera Cup. Driving the Porsche 996 GT3 Cup, he was on a podium eleven times, including one victory, to finish fourth in the points.
For Supercars endurance races, Youlden was invited to drive for Stone Brothers Racing alongside Russell Ingall in the #9 Ford BA Falcon. They were 7th at Sandown and 5th at Bathurst, helping Ingall to win the 2005 title.
Two more seasons with Stone Brothers Racing
Youlden had a diverse racing programme in 2006, starting with New Zealand's V8 Championship in which he finished fifth. In the Carrera Cup, he scored two podiums in six races. He participated part-time in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series and rejoined Stone Brothers Racing in V8SC endurance races. He and Russell Ingall finished fourth at Bathurst 1000 in the #1 Ford BA Falcon.
Youlden and Ingall were teammates again in 2007, sharing the #9 Ford BF Falcon. They finished seventh at Sandown and retired at Bathurst. In other championships, Youlden finished ninth in the New Zealand's V8 Championship and fifth in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series.
Driving for Ford Performance Racing from 2008 to 2011
Luke Youlden joined Ford Performance Racing for the 2008 endurance races, driving the team's second car (#5 Ford BF Falcon) with Dean Canto. The pair finished 24th at Phillip Island and seventh at Bathurst. Youlden and Canto were sharing the #5 Ford again in 2009, finishing ninth at Phillip Island and retiring at Bathurst after Canto hit the wall.
In 2010 endurance races, Youlden stayed with FPR but joined Mark Winterbottom in the #5 Ford FG Falcon. In four races, they were on a podium twice, at Phillip Island and Surfers Paradise. At Bathurst 1000, they were ninth.
In 2011, his last year with Ford Performance Racing, Youlden paired Will Davison in the #6 Ford FG Falcon. After starting from pole at Phillip Island, they finished third. At Bathurst 1000, they finished in 18th place.
2012 – a full season in the Dunlop V8 Supercar Series
In 2012, Youlden returned to Dunlop V8 Supercar Series with a full-time schedule in the #28 Ford Falcon of MW Motorsport. With three podiums on his account, he finished fifth in the points.
In V8SC endurance races, he rejoined Stone Brothers Racing to partner Shane Van Gisbergen in the #9 Ford FG Falcon. They started Sandown 500 from a pole and finished fifth. At Bathurst 1000, they finished in twelfth place.
Three seasons with Brad Jones Racing
Youlden joined Brad Jones Racing in 2013, participating in three races of the Dunlop V8 Supercar Series and four races of the V8SC Endurance Cup alongside Fabian Coulthard in the #14 Holden VF Commodore. They finished ninth in the Endurance Cup standings, with a second-place finish in the second race of the Gold Coast 600 as their best result.
In 2014, Youlden and Coulthard were teammates again in four endurance races, finishing best in the seventh place in Sunday's race at Surfers Paradise. In 2015, his third year with Fabian Coulthard, the best result was the fourth place at Bathurst 1000.
One class victory and two class podiums at Bathurst 12 Hour
While competing with Brad Jones Racing in V8SC Enduro Cup, Youlden had various commitments in other competitions. In 2013, he won one race of the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia and then scored a victory with Porsche at Wanneroo 300 race in 2014.
At 2014 Bathurst 12 Hour, he was driving a Fiat 500 Abarth, finishing 18th overall and first in class. He was sharing a car with Paul Gover, Gregory Hede and Mike Sinclair.
At 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour, Youlden was 17th overall and second in Class B in the #4 Grove Group Porsche 997 GT3 Cup. His partners were Stephen Grove and Ben Barker. At 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour, Youlden was again on a podium after finishing second in Class A-Am, together with Roger Lago and Steve Owen in the #32 Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX.
2017 Bathurst 1000 victory for Luke Youlden and David Reynolds
After three endurance seasons together with Fabian Coulthard in BJR's Holden, Youlden joined Coulthard in DJR Team Penske's #12 Ford Falcon in 2016. They were sixth at Sandown and Bathurst, finishing 8th in Enduro Cup classification.
For the 2017 endurance season, Youlden joined David Reynolds in the #9 Holden VF Commodore of Erebus Motorsport. A pair scored a sensational victory at Bathurst 1000 but finished only 10th in Enduro Cup because other results were bad.
In 2018, Youlden re-joined Reynolds in Supercars endurance races, finishing 5th at Sandown, 13th at Bathurst and 4th at Gold Coast. They were partners again in 2019, with third place in Saturday's race at Surfers paradise as their best result.
Photos: Luke Youlden, motorsport.com, Getty Images,