The FIA World Endurance Championship gets back on track this weekend and Aston Martin’s Darren Turner has his sights firmly set on the podium for the remaining races of 2015.
With over two months separating the Le Mans 24 Hours (WEC Rd3) and the 6 Hours of Nürburgring (WEC Rd4) the German race heralds the start of the late season run of events that will take the competitors from Europe (Nürburgring) to the U.S. (Austin), Japan (Fuji) and China (Shanghai) before arriving in Bahrain for the season finale on 21 November.
Lady Luck hasn’t shone on the #97 Aston Martin Vantage yet this year. A lap lost during a full course yellow put paid to a podium finish at Silverstone and a puncture stood in the way at Spa. Turner, Mucke and their early season team-mate Rob Bell were looking to be in with a real shot at fighting for victory at Le Mans but a clipped kerb for Bell just after the eight-hour mark put them out of the race.
The #97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, back in its regular Gulf livery for the 6 Hours of Nürburgring, has been handed a smaller restrictor by the FIA so Turner won’t know it’s true pace until qualifying takes place on Saturday.
“We’ve got a good idea of how the car will perform at the Nürburgring as the team tested there a little while ago and got some good baseline data,” explained Turner. “It’ll be interesting to see what difference the smaller restrictor makes. Usually, once we are through Turn 4, the Nürburgring should be a good circuit for the Vantage but with less power there are a couple of areas which I think are going to be tricky.”
Not scoring at Le Mans is damaging to championship chances as there are so many points up for grabs at that event. With a big gap to the leaders, Turner is focused on race-by-race results for the remainder of the season.
“Our goal is to get as many podiums as possible and if we can collect a win or two along the way then that will be great,” he said. “Austin and Shanghai should be good for us. We’ve won those races before and they’re the ones where we would expect a good result. It’s always difficult at Fuji to get the balance just right to make the tyres work but it’s difficult for everyone. We came close to winning in Bahrain last year so I hope we can have another shot at that one.”
Turner is looking forward to getting back into his race car after a long, yet eventful, break. Since Le Mans the British sportscar ace has re-signed with Aston Martin Racing for a further three years and he has been working hard in his development role with Aston Martin.
The first free practice session gets underway at the Nürburgring on Friday at 12:00 CET. GTE Qualifying is on Saturday at 14:00hrs CET and the race goes green on Sunday at 13:00 CET (12:00 UK). Motors TV, Radio Le Mans and the FIA WEC app will have live coverage of the full six-hour race on Sunday.