Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner Luke Youlden has hailed the work being done by Erebus Motorsport and its “little team of rejects”.
Youlden and full-time Virgin Australia Supercars Championship driver David Reynolds won the Great Race for the outfit last Sunday, just its third win since Betty Klimenko purchased Stone Brothers Racing at the end of 2012.
The other wins came during its troubled 2013-15 Mercedes program, before switching to Commodores amid a move to Melbourne in 2016, which saw a wholesale change in staff.
That off-season it picked up Reynolds after he was dropped by Prodrive despite finishing third in the 2015 championship, while Youlden was replaced as a Shell V-Power Racing co-driver last summer after a single PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
Erebus is the seventh team Youlden has raced with at Bathurst in an 18-year co-driving career that never brought a full-time opportunity.
Engineer Alistair McVean came on board just over 12 months ago to lead the engineering arm after being shuffled out of Walkinshaw Racing.
“[It’s the] right place, right time, let me tell you,” Youlden, who does no racing beyond his Supercars role, said.
“A little team of what do we call it? A little team of rejects or something, all working together and it has been mega.
“Every time I have driven the car this year it has been really fast, I love working with Dave, I love working with Al, Betty [Klimenko] and the guys.”
Erebus has a largely-rookie crew, and another former Walkinshaw engineer, Jason Bush was called up by McVean to assist the team at Bathurst.
Its second car driven by Dale Wood and Chris Pither finished fourth, capping a strong weekend.
Youlden admitted on Inside Supercars on Wednesday night that winning Bathurst had become something he “never expected to happen”, having made his debut in 2000.
“Obviously you start in the sport wanting it to happen, but as the years go by, year 15, year 16, you think ‘this is never going to happen’,” he said.
“And then to finally get it done… and at Christmas time last year I didn’t have a drive.
“I was out of a drive, and then got a phone call from Davey just before Christmas, he said ‘what are you doing?’.
“I said I’d love to come and have a steer and 10 months later we’d won Bathurst.”
Driving the first Erebus-built Commodore after spending 2016 in an ex-Walkinshaw machine, Reynolds moves from 10th to sixth in the standings with his Bathurst victory.
The 32-year-old has outlined the longer-term ambition of winning the title with Erebus.
“We have kept raising the bar,” he said.
“Every race track we turn up to we are a better and different team to what we were at the last race. That is how quickly we are evolving as a team.
“We just keep raising the bar, we are working on our set-up, we don’t really change our set-up from track to track or time to time much these days.
“It just goes to show, [the car] is easy to drive. Every time a new driver drives it they are on the pace right away, so it is a comfortable car to drive.”