Youlden signed as Frosty’s 2011 team-mate

Mark Winterbottom and Luke Youlden will drive together again in 2011

Mark Winterbottom and Luke Youlden will drive together again in 2011

Ford Performance Racing is one of the first teams to lock in an endurance driver for 2011, taking up the second year of Luke Youlden’s option.

Youlden will continue to partner Mark Winterbottom in the #5 Orrcon Steel Ford Performance Racing Falcon next year, with the endurance driver rules expected to remain the same as 2010.

Youlden has competed in the V8 endurance races over the past 10 years, scoring a best Bathurst result of third in 2003 with Steve Ellery. He took second place in this year’s L&H 500 at Phillip Island.

Youlden has driven for the factory Ford team for the past three years, finishing with a best of seventh in 2008 with Dean Canto.

Youlden was paired with Mark Winterbottom this year, taking ninth place after losing ground with a delaminated tyre.

FPR team principal Tim Edwards said taking up his option on Youlden was a no-brainer.

“That was Luke’s 10th Bathurst, and you just have to look at the results that he has had there,” Edwards told Speedcafe.com.au.

“He is one of the most consistent, safest drivers you could put in your car. There’s no doubt about that.

“He’s part of our team now. He is always in the workshop, whether its working on his stunt car in the fab shop, or just stopping in to chat with the boys.”

Edwards, who also acts as a V8 Supercars Australia board member, expects the ‘Primary’ driver rule to remain for 2011.

“I think it worked. I can’t speak for the board, but I haven’t heard anyone pass a negative comment,” he said.

“The guy who was most opposed to it (TeamVodafone principal Roland Dane) came away with a one-two, so I think he has probably had a change of heart.”

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