Darren Turner’s 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans campaign kicks off today with Scrutineering in Le Mans town. As a three-time winner of Le Mans, Turner knows what a tough event it is and he will be pushing as hard as ever to repeat last year’s incredible victory for Aston Martin Racing.
“I’m so excited to be going to Le Mans this year with the new Vantage GTE,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed the extensive test programme that we began last August and the whole development process. At the Test Day I was able to get a good number of laps under my belt and the car left a very positive impression on me while running in the Le Mans trim.
"Obviously after Marco’s accident, Aston Martin Racing have been working around the clock to build us a new race car in time for Wednesday’s opening practice session. I’m really proud of how the team has responded and the effort everyone at Banbury has put in. I can’t wait to be back in the Dane Train as we aim to repeat last year’s success.”
The first practice session at Le Mans starts on Wednesday at 16:00hrs CET. After qualifying sessions on Wednesday and Thursday evening, the big race gets underway at 15:00hrs CET on Saturday.
You can catch the live action via the 24H LE MANS app, Eurosport and Radio Le Mans and get behind-the-scenes by following @DarrenTurner007 on Twitter.
British GT at Silverstone
Turner was in British GT action last weekend in the #99 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin. Both he and his team mate, Andrew Howard, had expected to be able to put on a strong showing at Silverstone but they struggled for pace throughout the race meeting. Despite pushing hard in Sunday’s three-hour race they finished in ninth place.
“This weekend has been a bit frustrating,” said Turner. “We made a step forward with the qualifying set up but it was all relative as everyone else found time too.”
The duo earned an eighth place grid position and knew they would have a busy afternoon ahead of them on Sunday.
“Andrew did the warm up on Sunday morning and from what we learned there we were able to make a few minor changes to the car,” said Turner. “It was evident from early on though that we just didn’t have sufficient race pace.”
Howard started the race but dropped a couple of positions when he was unable to defend. The drivers completed two stints each but just couldn’t match the pace of the front runners.
“Both of us ran a mistake-free race but we just weren’t on the level of the guys who finished on the podium,” said Turner. “We were both happy with our driving and everything ran like clockwork so now we have homework to do before the next race to work out what happened to our pace.”
“We just didn’t find the sweet spot,” he continued. “My final stint was just for 40 minutes and with less fuel and a rubbered-up track the car started to feel a bit better. To finish ninth after three hours of racing though is disappointing and it has broken our strong run of podium finishes so we need to come back fighting at Spa.”