Darren Turner raced to his first 24-hour finish of 2014 at the Daytona 24 Hours last weekend. Along with his regular team-mate Stefan Mucke and fellow Aston Martin racers Richie Stanaway and Pedro Lamy, Darren drove the Aston Martin Vantage GTE in the new GTLM class of the world-famous sportscar race.
Recent balance of performance changes for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (TUSCC) haven’t favoured the Vantage so qualifying was a struggle for Darren. Despite this he managed to grab sixth place in GTLM for the race start.
Mucke was behind the wheel for the start of the race and the German managed to haul himself all the way up to second place but after only a few laps the Aston’s balance of performance disadvantage began to show and Stefan started to slip back. Good straight-line speed is an absolute must at a track like Daytona so this is where the time was lost.
“These are the same cars we race against in FIA WEC,” explained Darren. “So we know we can beat them but with the TUSCC balance of performance it’s tough for us as we are restricted too much. This is the first race of the new championship though so I’m sure the organisers will be looking at this.”
Over 150 laps into the race Pedro had to pit with a power steering issue, which cost some time, despite rapid repairs by the Aston Martin Racing crew. A further technical problem delayed the Aston again, the car having three trips to the garage before the end of the race.
After 24 hours of gruelling racing, the No.97 Vantage GTE crossed the line in eighth place in GTLM. The first 24 hour finish of 2014 in the bag.
“Overall it was a good experience,” said Darren. “We learnt a lot but the pace meant we couldn’t fight at the sharp end. As ever though it was good to race at Daytona. It’s a great circuit and a very enjoyable 24 hour race.”