Aston Martin Racing works driver Darren Turner made a winning return to Feathers Motor Sport and the GT Cup Championship on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit last weekend.
Racing alongside his regular team-mate James Guess in the UK-based series, Turner recorded his sixth victory of the year to continue his stellar season with the Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
The GT Cup has grown in stature through the season, due in part to its competitive nature and its open format that caters for so many varied levels of talent and machinery.
Last weekend’s event, comprising Rounds 13-16, featured two Sprint races open only to ‘Sporting’ drivers and two Pit Stop races that also include ‘Pro’ drivers, such as Turner.
“It was great to return to Feathers,” said Turner, who missed two rounds due to prior commitments. ‘They are such a friendly and well-organised team and this series is always fun to race in. Though it is growing, with more and more teams joining the GTH class we compete in.”
Guess finished sixth in the opening race, but with a damaged car his fastest race lap could only place the duo 30th on the grid for the first Pit Stop race. James started that race too and stormed his way up to fourth and on to the back of the lead pack in the class.
But in a weekend marred by several big accidents, a Porsche clattered the old pit wall and brought out an ill-timed Safety Car, which led the pack past the pit entry just as the driver-change window opened. The cars behind Guess were thus able to pit while Turner had to wait another lap before jumping in the car. By the time he did, those who’d already pitted had a clear advantage.
“That would have been painful enough,” explained Turner. “But we also had to serve a 15s success penalty from a podium in the previous round at Oulton Park, and that meant we were seventh when we left the pits!”
Turner, as usual, got right down to a blistering pace and quickly recovered to sixth, but the cars in front were simply too far away to catch in the time remaining of the 50-minute race. Nevertheless, the event served as a “damage limitation exercise and a lot of good points!”
The duo made up for any disappointment in Sunday’s two rounds. The Sprint race was red-flagged because of two separate heavy accidents on the opening lap affecting several GTH Class and this, combined with the inherent pace Guess had been prevented from showing on the previous day, led to a strong second place finish. It also meant a 15th position overall starting slot for the final Pit Stop race.
“James made a great start in this race,” explained Turner, “and fought his way into the lead of the class, but it was a very tight battle with the Orange McLaren.” Indeed such was the ferocity of the fight with not one but two McLarens, that when Guess pitted the three cars came in as one group.
Turner, now in second in the GTH class, was this time free of penalties and the need to fight through the pack and set-off like a man possessed.
“It took me a couple of laps to hone back in on the McLaren driven by Michael O’Brien,” explained Turner. “And then we had a really fantastic dice. There was lots of really good racing, and it was a huge amount of fun to participate in.
“Towards the end of the race he got wrong-footed when we were both being passed by a GT3 car and that gave me just enough momentum to get up the inside of him going into Abbey and I got the lead.”
After that, Turner was able to move away and into an unassailable lead and on to his third victory of the GT Cup season.
“I’m really pleased to be able to win on my return to the Feathers fold,” he said. “It was a bit of an up-and-down weekend, but Sunday’s races were excellent and I was very happy to have been able to contribute in both of them. FMS is a small team but they prepare the car superbly and this is no less than they deserve!”