Darren Turner’s 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship title challenge got off to the best possible start this weekend with a beautifully executed victory at the ‘6 Hours of Silverstone’. Coupled with pole position, the win gives the No.97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE maximum points for the season opening event.
The story could have been so different as at the start of the weekend Darren and his team-mates, Stefan Mucke and Bruno Senna, found themselves sitting out the first free practice session as the brand new car had some teething problems but the team pulled out all the stops to get back in the action.
Darren and Stefan were on qualifying duty on Saturday and managed to negotiate the new WEC qualifying system and bag pole position. When the race got underway on Sunday it was Stefan at the wheel for the opening stint.
“Stefan had a good, uneventful run and started to build up a good lead,” explained Darren. “By the end of his stint we had a good gap which I then increased during the next stint. On my last lap it suddenly started raining at Stowe so when I pitted we had to make a very quick call on tyres. We took a calculated risk and went for slicks.”
Bruno was up next but very quickly the whole track was wet and he was out on slick tyres.
“Bruno did a great job to stay out on slicks in the rain,” said Darren. “The top Ferrari went to wet tyres but four laps later the track began to dry so we had made the right call and that really broke the race for us. By weathering the storm we were in a strong position to take it to the flag in the lead.”
That’s exactly what happened next and after another stint for Stefan, Darren took the wheel of the Vantage GTE for the final stint at Silverstone and crossed the line as the GTE Pro winner.
“John Gaw (Aston Martin Racing team boss) told me that we would push like crazy over the weekend as it was our home race and that’s what we all did,” said Darren. “This is the perfect way to start the season. I’m proud of the whole team at AMR and I’m confident we can continue to push hard throughout the season.”
Darren dedicated the win at Silverstone to Richard Redgrave.
2013 FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CALENDAR
14 April: Silverstone, UK
4 May: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
22-23 June: Le Mans 24 Hours, France
1 September: Interlagos, Brazil
22 September: Circuit of the Americas, USA
20 October: Fuji, Japan
10 November: Shanghai, China
30 November: Bahrain