LUKE Youlden will replace David Reynolds at this weekend’s ARMOR ALL Sydney SuperNight and make the first solo Repco Supercars Championship start of his career.
Reynolds has been benched by Kelly Grove Racing over his vaccination status, having raced in last weekend’s Sydney Motorsport Park round under temporary measures while his vaccination exemption was investigated by NSW Health officers.
He has since been confirmed as being ineligible to race at the remaining Sydney Motorsport Park rounds.
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Youlden had been slated to be Reynolds’ co-driver at the upcoming Repco Bathurst 1000, a race that was to be his comeback after retiring from ‘main game’ competition after the end of the 2019 season.
“I’m super pumped to get the opportunity to drive my first ever Sprint Round this weekend,” Youlden said.
“Getting these laps under my belt before we head to Bathurst will be great preparation before we take on the 1000 in December.”
Youlden made his Supercars Championship debut at the 2000 Queensland 500 driving for Perkins Engineering and has since made a total of 48 round starts, highlighted by his victory with Reynolds in the 2017 Bathurst 1000.
However, due to several opportunities falling through over the course of his career which he discussed on the V8 Sleuth Podcast last year, Youlden has never actually started a single driver Supercars Championship round.
He has driven in solo driver races previously at the Phillip Island 500 and Sandown 500 (including one in 2019 which counted as a championship race) but those races were all part of co-driver endurance events.
Youlden has only been confirmed as driving the #26 Penrite Ford Mustang at this weekend’s Sydney Motorsport Park round.
Kelly Grove Racing has yet to announce who will drive the entry at the remaining two events in Reynolds absence, with international GT ace Matt Campbell heading the list of drivers rumoured to be in the frame ahead of his co-drive of KGR’s other entry at Bathurst.