A fictional British hero who likes to go on foreign missions in an Aston Martin has been filling the headlines this week. Well move over James Bond because Darren Turner is a Brit who does rather well in Aston Martins, he’s a real person (albeit a bit of a character) and he’s just won the FIA World Endurance Championship race in Shanghai!
An emphatic victory for Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke in today’s season-closing FIA WEC race has given the Aston Martin Vantage GTE its first race win. After coming so close in recent events the AMR duo stormed to victory in Shanghai and also sealed the runner up spot in the championship.
The weekend started positively when a perfect lap from Darren put the Vantage GTE in pole position, seven tenths of a second ahead of the competition.
“The times were really tight between all the GTE Pro cars during practice and we knew that the tyres had a one lap peak on our car so I was sent out early to nail a lap time,” explained Darren. “I was surprised to be so far ahead as I had made a small mistake during the lap but it was good to grab pole.”
The Aston Martin Racing team went for a sprint strategy for the race, single stinting all the way. This forced the competition to play catch up but it came with a lot of risk as a prolonged safety car period could have robbed them of any advantage. For Darren and Stefan their mission was to go flat out and avoid trouble at all costs.
“Stefan got baulked at the start by an LMP2 car which dropped us back a place,” said Darren. “But he went after the Porsche and retook the lead after about 10 laps. I had trouble with another LMP2 car in my first stint when Deletraz came out of the pits in front of me and sat there for two and a half laps. I think it lost us around nine seconds and I have never been so angry at another car!”
Darren also had a moment he won’t forget in a hurry during his second run when the race-leading Toyota passed him around the outside of turn one but then cut in sharply, leaving Darren to take evasive action.
“We were both going for the same bit of tarmac so rather than have it end in tears I had to turn pretty sharply,” he explained. “It’s a long corner and we can’t just change direction like that so I got tipped into a spin, losing around 10 seconds.”
Despite the dramas the single stints were paying off as the Aston Martin had the lead of the race and two fresh drivers alternating behind the wheel. Darren was the first GTE driver over the line at the finish, taking the first win for the new-for-2012 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
“We’ve had an amazing weekend,” he said. “This result is a great reward for everyone’s efforts. The car has been at the sharp end in every race and the guys here have got faster and faster in the pit stops. It’s a true team effort and they should all be proud of what has been achieved here. What a way to end the season!”
Turner, Darren Turner, will now return to base. Mission accomplished.