Darren Turner returned to the Nürburgring Nordschleife last weekend for the special 6-hour qualifying race that precedes next month’s Nürburgring 24 Hours. Turner will tackle the 24-hour race in the Aston Martin Vantage GT8, along with Nicki Thiim, Florian Kamelger and Peter Cate and the team’s preparations got off to the best possible start with a class victory on Sunday.
“This was my first opportunity to race on the Nordschleife since last year’s 24-hour race,” said Turner. “This event is great preparation for the 24-hour race for the drivers, the car and the team as it’s not the sort of circuit you can just turn up at once a year. You need the extra running that this race gives you to get your eye back into the circuit.”
The plan for the weekend was to make sure that the GT8 was running well, find the perfect set up for the race and give each driver a stint behind the wheel.
“Qualifying went well for us and I managed to put the GT8 on class pole position,” said Turner. “The fact that we managed to dip under the nine minute mark clearly shows the level of performance in the GT8.”
Thiim took the race start on Sunday and built up a comfortable lead before handing the car over to Cate who was able to further consolidate the class lead. Turner was up next, running on a harder compound tyre to try it out for the race.
“I tried the harder compound tyre when I went out,” he explained. “It still gave good performance but with the colder track conditions it wasn’t optimal. It’s all good as we now have information on the medium and hard tyres for the 24-hour race.”
Kamelger – who was on double duty as he was also driving the GT4 Aston Martin - jumped in for the next stint. Again, he increased the lead to set the team up for a comfortable run to the flag for Nicki Thiim who crossed the line to take the class victory.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend,” said Turner. “The GT8 ran faultlessly throughout. There will be more cars in the class for the 24-hours so we’re expecting a tighter battle. With 200 plus cars due to start the race I’m sure we have some eventful laps ahead of us. The main thing though is that the drivers, the car and the team are all ready for the challenge.
The 2017 Nürburgring 24 Hours takes place on 27-28 May.