Ford Performance Racing has secured its driving line-up for the V8 Supercars endurance races, with experienced duo Steve Richards and Luke Youlden to partner its regular race drivers at Phillip Island and Bathurst.
Richards will partner Mark ‘Frosty’ Winterbottom in the #5 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon and Youlden will drive with Will Davison in the #6 Trading Post FPR Falcon.
The third FPR-prepared Falcon of Paul Dumbrell (run under the Rod Nash Racing banner) is expected to have Dean Canto return as its enduro driver.
Richards, who drove full-time for the factory Ford team from 2007-2010, says that this was the best outcome for him.
“Of all the opportunities that could have transpired, this is the best one,” said Richards.
“I know the team and I know Frosty. The previous times we’ve driven together have worked out really well and I think we are a real chance to win both races.
“Having two A-grade drivers which can operate at a high level whether it is wet, dry or indifferent – that is what you need for those races, particularly Bathurst.”
Davison and Youlden provide FPR with a strong two-prong attack for September’s L&H 500 at Phillip Island and Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in early October.
This season will be Youlden’s fourth as an FPR enduro driver.
“This is my longest time with a V8 Supercars team as all my previous stints have been three years, so to get a fourth with FPR is great – I must be doing something right,” Youlden said.
“I am really looking forward to teaming up with Will. He has won Bathurst before and hopefully he can get another one and I can get my first.”
FPR team principal Tim Edwards was pleased to secure the services of Richards and Youlden.
“Steve and Luke bring a lot of endurance race experience and knowledge of the team which will be invaluable come Phillip Island and Bathurst,” Edwards said.
“Steve was in high demand given his experience and race record in the enduros so it is a credit to the team and the strength of the relationship we have with him that he chose to drive for us.
“Luke has shown in the last three seasons that he has the pace to drop into our line-up for these two critical races so retaining him for a fourth year is the ideal scenario. He was also in high demand so we couldn’t be happier with our line-up.”
Both Richards and Youlden could get extra practice miles in the Fujitsu V8 Series in an FPR-prepared entry. CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com.au’s story (January 31).
While FPR has announced its drivers, its factory rivals the Toll Holden Racing Team is close to securing its enduro deals. CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com.au’s morning story …