Darren Turner had a competitive run on the Nordschleife this weekend driving the 007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 car. The 2012 Nürburgring 24 Hours saw plenty of incidents in the early stages and Darren was one of the unlucky ones when he picked up a puncture on lap four but he and his team-mates went on to show that Aston Martin’s GT3 car has a great future ahead of it in endurance competition.
“I did the first qualifying session to get us into the top 40 shootout,” said Darren. “It’s important to be in the top 40 so you get the blue light in your car as that really helps you to get through traffic during the race. Johannes (Stuck) took over for the shootout and did a great job to put us on the grid in 16th place.”
Darren took the start, along with 165 other cars, in the 007 Aston Martin. He was running well, up to 14th place and settled into a rhythm when he suffered a puncture in the early part of lap four.
“I was on the end of a long train of SP8 cars when I got the puncture,” he explained. “I tried to bring the car back nice and slow so the bodywork didn’t get damaged but I had to go so slow that the engine started to get hot so I had to pull over.”
The safety crew pulled the car off the circuit and the Aston Martin mechanics were dispatched to find Darren and get him back on track. He rejoined and returned to the pits but a huge amount of time had been lost and the 007 car was out of contention. The objective for the race though was to get to the end so once the team had checked over the car the endurance test was on!
Through the night 007 recovered many positions and was running in the 60s, circulating through each of the driver’s stints as normal.
“I did four or five runs throughout that time and the car felt great,” said Darren. “This is the first 24 hour run for the GT3 car; we were pleased with the pace and just carried on with our test programme.”
Going into the closing stages of the race the team took the decision to rest both the 007 and 006 V12 Vantage GT3s from the race as they had achieved their development and durability objectives and decided not to risk the cars unnecessarily.
“It’s very cool that all four cars run by Aston Martin Lagonda had a competitive run at the Nürburgring,” concluded Darren. “We had our dramas early on which put paid to a result but I’m pleased with the performance of the car. I’m especially happy for the guys in the Zagato that got into the top 30 and second overall in their class.”