25 Jul MASTER AND APPRENTICE READYING FOR APC ASSAULT
Bathurst winner Luke Youlden will team up with Zoe Woods as part of the Australian Production Cars field at Queensland Raceway next weekend (August 5-7), as the category contests its second round of 2022 – including its popular Fight in the Night race.
Woods – who will make her national-level debut at QR – has been intensively studying under the tutelage of Youlden and the Norwell Motorplex team since moving to the Gold Coast two years ago.
The Gold Coast 20-year-old and the highly experienced Youlden will be competing aboard the TekworkX Motorsport 2018 Hyundai i30n in C Class.
“I started go karting at the age of 12 and completed a few New South Wales state rounds whilst I was still living in Sydney. Once I moved to the Gold Coast, Norwell essentially became my home for the next two years as I learnt everything from driving a manual to ‘heel-toeing’ to car control with Luke Youlden and some of the Norwell crew,” Woods explains.
“Then I started to practice what I learnt and grew as a driver through track days at Queensland Raceway in my Toyota 86, before moving on to other tracks like Sydney Motorsport Park.”
While QR is essentially Woods’ home track and she has experience in night racing at the facility, the APC racing next weekend will still represent a new challenge for her and her team as they make their category debut and Woods wraps her head around a front-wheel car.
“The APC really appeals to me due to the variety of cars and classes. It provides an even playing field for everyone that is competing in the rounds. As this will be the first time for me and for the team to be competing in the APC, we are going to be focusing primarily on completing each session and having some fun while doing it!” explained the lash technician and nanny.
“The Fight in the Night is really intriguing – I really enjoy night racing as my first race meeting was a day/night event at QR, so I am really looking forward to getting back on track at night, and having Luke co-driving with me will be a huge benefit.
“QR is my home track so to speak, once Luke thought I was ready to move on to the next step in my development program we were at QR every chance we got. I also completed my first race meeting at QR back in April this year and we actually took the car we will race next weekend out to QR on Friday the 15th of July and spent the day getting used to it, as I have only driven rear wheel drive cars previously and this Hyundai is front wheel drive.
“We are looking forward to seeing what we can do, not only at QR next weekend but also at the remaining APC rounds for the rest of this year,” Woods concluded, while thanking her mum Astrid Woods, her father Rob Woods, and the TekworkX Motorsport Crew.
Youlden’s racing pedigree is without question with a long and successful Supercars career including a 2017 Bathurst 1000 win as co-driver for David Reynolds.
The son of two-time APC champion Kent Youlden (1990, 1991), Youlden boasts a varied racing resume including plenty of production car experience, taking out the Class E title in the Australian GT Production Car Championship in 2001, making him a perfect mentor for Woods.
“I have a fair bit of history in the production cars, so I am excited about getting back into the category,” Youlden said.
“We are trying to get as many miles for Zoe as we can – she is my little protégé, and this is another stepping stone for moving her career forward, and it is just great that I can actually share a car with her at this event.
“I am excited about it, and I think she will surprise a lot of people. She is very talented and one of the quicker learners of anyone I have ever taught before. This will obviously be a pretty fast category for her with faster cars around her and she is going to have to have her wits around her, but she is fast and talented, and I am just excited to be a part of the journey with her.
“It is great how it has all come together, we are trying to get Zoe off her Ps, and this is a great opportunity for her to have a lot of race miles and times. Her father Rob doesn’t mess around so we have the car sorted and we have a professional team around us which operate at the top end of Carrera Cup, so Zoe has got everything going for her and I hope she can take advantage of the opportunity and apply all that we have been working on over the last two years.
“I think she will equip herself well – we have tested in that car recently at QR and she was less than a second off me, which I think is exceptionally good. If she can keep that level of speed up, she will definitely surprise a few. Hopefully we can come out on top in class or at least be competitive.
“We are already looking forward to the rest of the APC season as well – whether I am partnering with her for all of those events or not will depend on timing, but we are there for the rest of the season which is exciting, and I am definitely looking forward to it.”
With plenty of night racing miles under his belt, Youlden is intrigued by the Fight in the Night concept.
“I am looking forward to the Fight in the Night, I have done a lot of 12-hour stuff in the dark and some stuff at Sydney Motorsport Park in the dark, so it will be interesting,” he said.
“I have never driven QR under lights, but I think it will be good and have a great atmosphere. I am hoping the weather is a bit better than the Queensland weather has been lately! I am not sure how it will go in the rain, but it will definitely be exciting.
“I think night racing is great, the atmosphere of a night race is something a bit special, and I am just looking forward to being a part of it – I love racing whatever I can jump in.”
The APC is being contested over five rounds in 2022, providing a mix of endurance formats from 30-minute races to one-hour races to 300km events across the five rounds; with competitors able to compete on their choice of tyre from a nominated tyre panel featuring Hankook, Dunlop, MRF Tyres and Yokohama.
Round two of the 2022 APC will hit Queensland Raceway across August 5-7 as part of the latest event for the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships. It will feature two 30-minute races (Saturday morning and Sunday morning) and one 300km night race on Saturday evening for all APC competitors.
2022 APC DATES:
- Round one – Sydney Motorsport Park – May 27-29 – two x 30-minute races, 1 x 300km race
- Round two – Phillip Island – June 25-26 – four x one-hour races
- Round three – Queensland Raceway – August 5-7 – two x 30-minute races, 1 x 300km race
- Round four – Tailem Bend – October 21-23 – four x one-hour races
- Round five – Mount Panorama – November 11-13 – four x 30-minute races