Darren Turner and his Aston Martin Racing team-mate Jonny Adam took a sixth place finish at the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship on Saturday. The six-hour race ran into the night at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, providing some real Le Mans-style night running for the American fans.
Both Turner and Adam qualified the #97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE in a very credible third position for the race, even though their pace earlier in the weekend had indicated that this would be a tough task.
“The free practice running told us that the balance of performance changes would still be an issue at COTA,” said Turner. “We do seem to be able to deliver a good performance over one lap though. I was baulked slightly on my best lap, which meant we just missed out on the front row and my time actually came from my fourth lap.”
Starting duty fell to Turner in Texas and he made a great getaway, getting a good run on the Porsche beside him and nipping around the outside of Fernando Rees in the #99 Aston Martin through turn one, taking the GTE Pro lead as the field went into turn two.
The lead was short-lived though. After a couple of laps the Porsches began to catch the Aston Martin and soon enough they were pulling away into the distance.
Adam jumped in for the second stint and had a good run on soft tyres before Turner had an equally strong run on soft rubber.
“We both had good pace in those stints but then we had a random bad stint later in the race,” explained Turner. “We’ll have a good look at everything between now and the next race to see what we can do about that.”
Saturday’s result is in stark contrast to last year’s race at COTA, which saw Turner take the race victory along with Stefan Mucke.
“I think the result demonstrates that the recent balance of performance changes have gone too far so hopefully that will be looked at,” continued Turner. “On the plus side it was good to work with Jonny again this weekend. He showed he had great pace at the Nürburgring and Austin was a brand new experience for him but he got on with it and learned the track very quickly.
“I love Austin; it’s a great track and a very enjoyable event. It’s just a shame we couldn’t get stuck into the fight. We’ll focus on Fuji now and hope that we will be in the midst of the battle when we move onto Japan.”