TESTING TIMES FOR YOULDEN After just a handful of short outings in the Castrol FPR Falcon, Luke Youlden is looking forward to some quality time in the car at Ford Performance Racing's Winton test tomorrow (Thursday) in preparation for the L&H...
TESTING TIMES FOR YOULDEN
After just a handful of short outings in the Castrol FPR Falcon, Luke Youlden is looking forward to some quality time in the car at Ford Performance Racing's Winton test tomorrow (Thursday) in preparation for the L&H 500 next month.
The 30-year-old enduro regular has been unlucky in several of the race-based, 30-minute practice sessions this year, with rain and oil on the track affecting everyone at Sandown and a flat-spotted tyre ruining his Ipswich run.
An FPR ride day gave him a longer stint earlier this month and now this latest test will give him his best evaluation yet before his competitive FPR debut at Phillip Island.
"Half an hour is better than nothing," said the 30-year-old, who is now in his ninth season of enduro driving. "But at the race meeting, it can be a little bit messy. It's not like the test day when the pressure isn't on as much. It's a competition and you want to be at the top of the time sheets and look after the car for the main driver. There's a lot going on in your head in terms of how hard to push so you can be over conservative.
"I've no idea why the sessions are so short; they have to have time limits and an hour may be too long for the schedule but I would like to see it go as long as possible. I'm just talking strictly from the selfish perspective of being as prepared as I possibly can be."
Youlden's times in these micro-sessions have been right up to standard according to FPR's Chief Engineer Phil Keed, but he agrees that the value of such short sessions is limited. "Those sessions are hopeless at showing the potential of a driver," he said. "For a start there are 15 regular drivers in with him so anywhere higher than 10th is probably equivalent to P1 for the none-regulars.
"There have been things that slowed Luke down, through no fault of his own, and he's had very little time in the car but when we've been able to compare him, his pace has been exactly where we needed him to be. More importantly he's been driving completely to instructions in these sessions."
Youlden's 2007 season marked him out to FPR after he won the NZ Trans-Am Series in dominant fashion and finished fifth in the V8 Supercar Development Series after competing in just five of seven rounds.
He will partner Dean Canto in the Orrcon Steel Ford Credit FPR Falcon for the L&H 500 on 14 September and the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in October, taking part in two FPR tests before that.