Darren Turner took back-to-back wins at Le Mans in 2007 and 2008 and the British Aston Martin Racing ace has been fighting to take the hat trick ever since. After setting the fastest GTE Pro lap time during last weekend’s official Le Mans Test Day, Turner is ready to once again do battle at the world’s greatest race.
“The test went very well for us,” Turner explained. “We went through the usual ‘housework’ of bedding in brakes and doing some low fuel runs to double check the fuel capacity. When we go back to Le Mans next week we can focus on really dialing the car into the track, ready for the race. The added bonus of the mixed weather at the test is that we now have good data for most weather conditions.”
Le Mans is the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship and there are double points up for grabs. The 13.629km Circuit de la Sarthe can throw up many surprises so experience is a real benefit. This will be Turner’s 13th Le Mans 24 Hours; unlucky for some but Darren is not a superstitious man.
“There is no other race like Le Mans,” he said. “You need everything to go your way to win here: mechanical reliability, no driving mistakes, perfect pit stops and a little luck always goes a long way. This is already my third 24-hour race of the year but it is easily the hardest as there is so much pressure on us at this event. We’ve come so close to winning in recent years so the pressure is really on to get the job done this time.”
The competition in the GTE Pro class is expected to be as fierce as ever this year. Strong competition will come from within the Aston Martin Racing team, which fields three Vantages in the top GT class, and Corvette, Ferrari and Porsche all have two car teams hungry for a Le Mans win.
“In the last few years the race in GTE has been very close throughout the full 24 hours, which is exciting not just for the drivers but for the teams and of course the fans too,” said Turner. “I can’t see it being any different this year. It’s always difficult to know exactly how strong Corvette will be as this is their only trip to Europe but since Aston Martin came back to racing in 2005 the competition with Corvette has always been highly enjoyable and rewarding. What we do know though is how strong Porsche and Ferrari are as we regularly compete against them in WEC.”
The #97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE will have a special ‘Art car’ livery at Le Mans, which is sure to make it stand out from the crowd. This new livery will be revealed at Scrutineering in Le Mans Town Centre on Monday afternoon.