This weekend’s Six Hours of Silverstone marks a milestone for Aston Martin Racing as the British manufacturer celebrates its 10th year in motorsports.
From the Le Mans class-winning DBR9 to the Lola-based LMP1 car, the ill-fated AMR-One prototype and the current line of successful Vantage GTs, Darren Turner is the only driver that’s been with AMR since the start, a decade ago.
He’s looking to help continue the brand’s winning legacy in Sunday’s FIA WEC season-opener on home soil.
“If you look back at our first race in 2005, we won first time out at Sebring and then we won that year again at Silverstone. If we can continue that this weekend, it would be great success for us,” Turner told Sportscar365.
“But it would be very difficult. The competition now in GTE-Pro is even higher this year than last year. It’s going to be a difficult task at hand. But we’ll give it our all. We’ll just try to keep it together and get that win.”
Turner and co-driver Stefan Mucke in the lead No. 97 entry, as well as three additional Aston Martin Vantage GTEs return to the globe-trotting championship after narrowly missing out on the manufacturer and teams’ titles last year.
There have been subtle changes to the Astons for 2014, mainly Balance of Performance-related, with the Vantage now mandated to run at the same minimum ride height as its competition, along with a 15 kg minimum weight reduction.
“We looked at what we had as an package at the end of last year and if we could focus the development on making the most of what we already have,” Turner said.
“You could see last year that the competition was very close between all the manufacturers. There’s no reason why it won’t be the same this year.
“Everyone’s gone up a step from the winter and it’s going to be very hard to pick out what manufacturer is going to actually do the best job this weekend.”
Since his early years with the Prodrive-run squad, the two-time Le Mans class winner has risen to become one of the team veterans, with a new crop of AMR factory drivers having recently entered the fray.
“When I started with the team there were guys with more experience and they really helped me out,” Turner said. “As I moved up through the team, we’ve got the younger guys coming through now.
“I definitely see my role is to still be fast, still do a good job on the track but also to be helpful for the next generation that are coming through that [eventually] want my job.
“But that’s always been the case in motorsports. I want to make sure that when I stop driving, Aston are in a good position and they can still be out there winning races.”