The 2016 Nürburgring 24 Hours became a race meeting to forget for Darren Turner when both of the cars he was competing in retired from the race. It was an incident-packed event that claimed many cars and unfortunately for Turner both the #007 and #042 Aston Martins went out before the finish.
The opening phase of the race was severely disrupted by the weather before even the first hour of running had been completed. Heavy rain in one area of the track caught out numerous drivers but the following hailstorm was sufficient to bring out the red flags as the conditions quickly became treacherous.
Turner started the race in the new race-prepared Aston Martin GT8, which he had put on pole position in the SP8 class and he was one of the first drivers to come across the chaos.
“Just before I got to the section of the track where the really bad weather was I backed right off and I’m glad I did as I came over the top and there were cars going off left, right and centre,” he said. “I think I was one of the first cars that came through and even at 30kph it was a struggle to stay on track. I have to say that I’m very encouraged with the performance and driveability of the GT8 but in conditions like that your only task is to keep the car on the circuit and bring it back to the pits.”
After a three-hour stoppage and a few laps under the safety car the race finally got going again. Turner had his first stint in the V12 Vantage GT3 just as darkness fell and the plan was to stay out of trouble through the night before attacking the race in the morning.
“I had the full range from running on wets, to intermediates, and then on slicks before handing over to Nicki (Thiim),” said Turner. “The car was running well and we had no trouble dealing with the changeable conditions.”
Unfortunately during Thiim’s run, the #007 car was involved in an accident in the middle of the night and contact with the barrier caused race-ending damage to the Aston Martin.
The Aston Martin GT8 continued strongly through the night and led the SP8 class for most of the race. With only a few hours to go with Turner ready to jump into the car for the run to the flag, it too was involved in an accident and wasn’t able to continue.
“Ultimately it has been a very disappointing weekend for everyone at Aston Martin and Aston Martin Racing,” Turner concluded. “And that is what can happen at the Green Hell. It throws everything at you and sometimes you can beat it but on this occasion it wasn’t our day.”