Darren Turner completed his first ever V8 Supercar event at Surfer’s Paradise on Australia’s Gold Coast this weekend. After a last-minute call up, the British driver took the place of Dan Wheldon, during what has been another difficult weekend for the world of motorsport.
Darren arrived in Australia on Wednesday and headed straight to the track to try out the No.1 Toll Holden Racing Team Commodore for the first time. Like the other international drivers, Darren was playing catch up all weekend but had a great teacher as his team-mate was current V8 Supercar Champion James Courtney.
The ‘Gold Coast 600’ consists of two 300km races, spread over the weekend. Darren started Saturday’s race from 10th place and got the car up to eighth during his run. James was then right up at the front end when he was blocked in the pits and had to fight to finish 14th.
“I love V8 Supercars,” said Darren after the first race. “There was a lot going on at the start but I managed to find my way through and settled into the race. The main thing for me was to hand the car back to James in one piece. I managed to give it back to him semi-straight and loved every minutes of it.”
Electrical problems in qualifying for Sunday’s race meant that Darren and James started way back in 23rd place. Darren got away well again and drove through to 12th place. He was then handed a drive through penalty for cutting the chicane, even though he hadn’t!
“I was disappointed with the drive through but somehow it all shook out and James was back out on track in 12th,” said Darren. “He then did a great job and brought the car all the way up to sixth at the finish.”
“Darren did a cracking job this weekend,” said James. “He has been really easy going, easy to work with and hasn’t put a foot wrong all weekend. I’m going to get a piece of paper out tonight when we’ve had a few beers and sign him up for next year!”
“The team has really looked out for me this weekend under difficult circumstances,” said Darren on Sunday evening. “James made sure I had as much information as I needed to do a good job with the car but I think all of us still have Dan very much in our thoughts. He should have been here this weekend and although it would have been nice to get him a really good result, I think with today’s sixth we did the best job we could.”