Darren Turner went back in time again last weekend, all the way to 1959 to race an Austin A40 in the HRDC Touring Greats race at Silverstone.
Competing alongside the owner of the car, Desmond Smail, Darren was tasked with qualifying on Saturday morning and delivered to goods right away, putting the rather lovely No.46 Austin on pole position.
The grid for Saturday afternoon’s race was made up of around 40 Pre-1960 Touring cars.
“Des told me that he would take the start as I would never get it off the line,” said Turner. “The reason being the car has the longest first gear known to man! I was really thankful not to do the start as to be on pole and then stall it would have been a sorry start to the race. It was also slightly damp so I was more than happy to sit in the garage and wait.”
The first half of the race went well with Des keeping the car in the top six despite the, as expected, slow start. It was then Darren’s turn to take the wheel and one of the first things he saw was a crash unfolding right in front of him.
“As soon as I got down to Becketts all hell broke loose as the rain arrived at that end of the circuit. Four cars pirouetted, two of which exchanged a lot more than just paintwork. The safety car came out and unfortunately we lost out to the tune of half a lap. When it finally went green I was back in 13th place and had an absolute scream as I raced to the flag. We finally crossed the line in fourth place.
“I really love driving these old cars because what they lack in performance they more than make up for in character. Thanks to Des and his team for letting me drive the car and at least I’ve got in a bit of track time at Silverstone, albeit on the National Circuit, before the FIA WEC season kicks off here in a couple of weeks.”