Darren Turner’s first 24-hour race of the season turned into an endurance test at Daytona this weekend when early race drama put the No.98 Aston Martin Vantage out of contention for the podium.
Fellow factory driver, Pedro Lamy, had qualified the car in third place and made a good start to the race, battling hard with the lead Corvette and the AF Corse Ferrari throughout his run. Paul Dalla Lana hopped in for the next stint and was going well until a small spin into Turn One for the Canadian driver damaged the clutch, which meant the car had to go behind the wall to have the clutch replaced.
Darren completed two lengthy stints during the race, posting lap times on the pace of the leaders throughout his runs. The Daytona 24 Hours has a high rate of attrition so it’s an achievement just to make it to the end but nonetheless frustrating to not be able to run at the front.
“In reality our race was done during the second hour,” said Darren. “You have to take these things as opportunities though and we got back out there and were able to put lots of miles on the car which is always good for endurance testing. It was good to be able to run at the same pace as the leaders as that’s a big step forward from last year but equally frustrating that we lost so much time.
“It was just one of those races where everything is thrown at you and sometimes it doesn’t work out,” he said. “The team were kept very busy with repairs and it’s good to see the winter break hasn’t slowed them down at all. We got a lot of useful mileage in the end and learnt a lot about the car so it will all help as we get closer to the start of our WEC season.”
The No.98 Aston Martin Vantage finished the Rolex 24 at Daytona in sixth place in the GTLM class.