Darren Turner will make his return to the V8 Supercars Championship in October's Armor All Gold Coast 600 where he will race alongside James Courtney in the #22 Toll Holden Racing Team Commodore.
Turner, who stood in for the late Dan Wheldon at the Gold Coast 600 last year, returns to Queensland in much happier circumstances this time around. He will join many other international drivers for the unique event that welcomes specially-invited drivers to team up with the Aussie V8 regulars for a weekend of flat out racing action.
"Last year was difficult for everyone," said Turner. "Especially for James (Courtney) and the Holden Racing Team. They handled the situation extremely well, for me with professionalism, and for Dan's family with incredible compassion. I am sure Dan would have been proud of them all."
I'm excited about returning to Australia for the Armor All Gold Coast 600," he continued. "To have had a taste for the V8s has you just wanting to come back for more and I'm very happy that Walkinshaw Racing has again asked me to be part of their team. It's amongst the most professional racing organisations out there."
Double Le Mans winner Turner raced in the British Touring Car Championship from 2006 until 2008 where he was a multiple race winner. When he made his V8 Supercars debut in 2011 though he realised that Aussie tin tops were a whole new ball game.
"V8 Supercars is a highly-rated international series that is on every driver's radar," he explained. "To be asked to race with HRT was an honour and to experience just how tough the competition is was a real eye opener. Everyone who had raced them told me how tough the cars were to drive but I think they exaggerated it a bit as they wanted to keep all the seats for themselves! The cars are tricky at first but you feel your way around and work out what makes them tick, then it's a whole heap of fun."
Turner has loved racing on street circuits since competing in the American Le Mans Series so he feels very comfortable on the concrete-lined Gold Coast track.
"There's something about concrete walls that tends to sharpen driving standards so there is no messing around in an event like this," he said. "It is good, honest, clean racing. Also to race in a beautiful and spectacular location like the Gold Coast, racing through the high-rise buildings, is just incredible. It's a world-class event."
As with every event, Darren will attack the Gold Coast 600 with everything he's got in order to get the best possible result for James Courtney and the entire Holden Racing Team. Like all the other international drivers though he will have his eye on the Dan Wheldon Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the top-finishing international driver across the event weekend.
The Armor All Gold Coast 600 takes place on 19-21 October 2012.