Aston Martin Racing works driver Darren Turner recorded his first victory of the 2021 season in a perfect debut for his new team, Feathers Motor Sport, in the GT Cup at Donington Park on Sunday.
Racing alongside his Base Performance Simulators business partner and regular FMS driver James Guess in the team’s new Aston Martin Vantage GT4, Turner put in exceptional performances in the two 50-minute Pit-Stop races. This ensured the duo ended the weekend at the top of the GTH Class standings.
The opening GT Cup weekend featured a 25-minute Sprint race and a 50-minute Pit-Stop race on each day. The Sprints are open only to the ‘Am’ drivers, while the Pit-Stop races also include the ‘Pros’. With a packed field of 38 cars, the series has attracted a high calibre of Pro drivers from across the international motorsport spectrum this year.
Guess racked up a strong bounty of points with second place in the Saturday Sprint race and a victory in the Sunday event. But starting from second in class for Saturday afternoon’s Pit-Stop race, he was spun around at the start and dropped to the back of the field.
Guess charged back through to fifth in class before handing over to Turner. A delay in the pits cost Darren 30s however and the Aston Martin development driver was forced to race back through the Pro-populated field, snatching sixth from Oli Webb’s McLaren at the chicane on the last lap.
“The first race was hectic,” said Turner, who set the fastest lap of the race in the GTH class. “There were so many cars on track and there was a lot of dicing, so I just stayed focussed on passing as many as I could. We proved the car had the pace, it’s just a shame we had a bit of bad luck.”
On Sunday, the team was peerless. Guess won the Sprint race and set fastest lap, securing the class pole for the feature event. He took the start and ran second behind the class-leading Porsche before pitting at half distance. Turner then jumped in and delivered a super-fast brace of laps to undercut the leader’s advantage before passing him on his own out-lap.
After that Darren didn’t look back, once again setting fastest lap and finishing the race more than three seconds clear of his nearest rival. “James did a fantastic job, so it was just a question of getting my head down and cracking on with it," said Turner. "The car ran perfectly, and it was a great start for the season to us.”
The victory means that Turner, Guess and Feathers lead the GTH championship with 53 points, 11 clear of the Orange Racing McLaren.
“I loved racing with Feathers Motor Sport this weekend,” said Turner. “James did a great job and rightly earned himself Driver of the Weekend.
“It’s really nice to have a successful first weekend in GT Cup and for a little team like Feathers Motor Sport, they did an excellent job. Now let’s see how it goes when we get to Brands Hatch on the grand prix circuit – a track I love!”
Turner returns to racing action in three weeks’ time, at Brands Hatch on 1 May, for the second round the GT Cup.