Along with his Aston Martin Racing team mates, Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen, Darren Turner finished the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours in the #95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE in ninth position in the 17-car GTE Pro class. It was a positive Le Mans debut for the new Vantage GTE.
“It’s hard to know where you’re going to be with a new car,” said Turner. “We finished on such a high with the old car last year by winning this race so everyone had expectations of us turning up and being the pace setter with the new car but nobody does that.
“We had a good run at Spa in terms of learning about the car but it was a little bit off the pace and that continued here,” he said. “There was a balance of performance change that helped us to get a bit closer but we have to remember we are at the starting point.”
It was quite evident from early on in the race that the Vantage GTE was not going to be fully on the pace so it became a case of making the most of being at Le Mans, turning the race into a comprehensive test for the future.
During the Le Mans Test Day, just two weeks ago, the original #95 Aston Martin was destroyed in an accident after being hit by a prototype. A Herculean effort from the Aston Martin Racing team meant that a new car was built in just six days, ready for Le Mans.
“I have to say that considering car #95 is brand new it’s incredible that it was able to do a 24-hour race, let alone the Le Mans 24 Hours, which is so hard on a car,” said Turner. “For Aston Martin to get both cars home is an incredible achievement. The positives are reliability and that from a drivers’ point of view the car felt very good. I especially enjoyed one of my night stints when I had a great couple of hours where the car felt really quick.
“The pace will come in time and I think for the second race for a new car we’ve exceeded our expectations and everyone at Aston Martin Racing should be very proud of what we’ve achieved.”