Aston Martin Racing today announced its driver line-ups for the coming season. Now entering his 11th year with the team, Darren Turner is as excited by the season ahead as he was back in 2004 when he first signed up.
How does it feel to be the longest-standing works driver for Aston Martin Racing?
“It’s great! I’ve been there since the beginning of Aston Martin Racing in 2004 and drove the first car produced by the team, the DBR9. I’ve enjoyed the whole journey we’ve been on. We’ve had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows - like every race team – but we have a great team spirit and I believe we’ve always done an amazing job with the resources we have. We have always punched well above our weight. And of course I remain very proud to be a British driver racing for such a prestigious British marque.”
You’ve come very close to the FIA WEC title in the last couple of years. Have you got the right package to win the championship this year?
“We have a great chance of taking the title this year. Two years ago we were very close and it went down to the wire at the last round. Last year we had a few dramas along the way and it had slipped out of our hands before the end of the season. We were competitive though and we had a strong car so we managed to take some great results along the way. What we need to do now is learn from the experience we have gained from the last three seasons of WEC, put it all together and mount a very strong challenge from day one as that’s the only way we are going to beat a world-class field of GT cars.”
Are there any new developments on the Aston Martin Vantage GTE?
“There are always ongoing developments but we are restricted by the regulations, which means the outright performance of the car doesn't really change but we have done some great work on improving reliability, doing quicker pit stops and some general performance work. Every team will have been working just as hard though over the winter so everyone will have moved up a little bit and the action will be as close as ever. Hopefully our guys have managed to give us that little edge we need over the competition.”
What about Le Mans? You've won it twice. Could this be the year for a hat trick?
“In 2013 and 2014 we were very close, battling for the lead in both races. We certainly had a car that was strong enough to win on pace and the guys were brilliant in the pit stops so we had all of the right ingredients but it just didn’t go our way on both occasions. The Vantage GTE is a car that works well at Le Mans and if we can go there with the pace we have had in previous years then we certainly have a good chance of a win. Le Mans isn’t that simple though; there are a lot of variables and you definitely need Lady Luck to be on your side at such a big event.”
What else does 2015 have in store for you?
“We’ll be back at the Nurburgring 24 Hours this year, after also competing in VLN 1 and 2. This event gets bigger and better every year and with all the big manufacturers going there to show how competitive their cars are the pace has hotted up. I love the Nurburgring: the Nordschleife is one of my favourite circuits and I love the way the race unfolds as you really don’t know what you’re going to get from one lap to the next.”
Aston Martin Racing’s first win was at Sebring in 2005 so this weekend’s race is your 10th anniversary. Do you think you’ll be celebrating on the podium?
“Sebring is another of my favourite circuits. I love racing in America as I love the way they go about their racing. We had a competitive car at Daytona and there’s no reason why this wouldn’t be the case at Sebring. We have every chance of a strong run but it’s a hard circuit – hard on the cars and hard on the drivers – so we’ll have to see how it unfolds. It would be good to celebrate our 10 year win anniversary on the podium though!”