Darren Turner’s first foray into the Blancpain Endurance Series scored a brilliant victory at Silverstone today when he and his team mates Stefan Mucke and Fred Mackowiecki raced the Bilstein-liveried Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to first place in the three-hour race.
After missing much of Saturday’s practice sessions when he was on corporate duty for Aston Martin, Darren took to the track for the end of the Pre-Qualifying session that evening so he had at least turned in a few laps before Saturday morning’s qualifying session.
In order to save enough fresh rubber for the race Darren ran on used tyres in the first of the three qualifying sessions so it was Mackowiecki on new rubber who took pole position for Aston Martin in the second session with a time that proved unbeatable in the final part of qualifying.
“I started the race on Fred’s qualifying tyres,” explained Darren. “As this is our first race in the Blancpain Series and the first time this car has run on Pirelli tyres we had no idea how they would last over the duration of a stint. The Nissan got the jump on me at the start but it was a long race so we knew we could wait for it to come back to us and we didn’t want to go too hard on the tyres.
“I could see that after 12 or 13 laps that Lucas (Ordonez) was starting to have small problems, then we came across backmarkers and I think he had contact with one of them. We then came across a bit of an incident where I went one way and he went the other and I took the lead. After that it was a case of not being too aggressive with traffic and steadily pushing on until the first pit stop.”
With a team of three slick drivers, once Darren pitted from the lead Mackowiecki and Mucke took over the job of maintaining the gap to second and brought the Aston Martin home to take the win.
“Considering this was a late entry and our first time in this championship this is a fantastic result,” concluded Darren. “Also this team was pulled together just for this event so the guys have had to work so hard to get the pit stops nailed. With Le Mans now very much in our sights this is a great morale boost for the team and the drivers.”