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TURNER: Silverstone Debrief

Darren Turner files his first Sportscar365 column following Silverstone…

Photo: Drew Gibson/AMR

Photo: Drew Gibson/AMR

The new racing season can never come too soon and with this winter feeling longer than ever it was great to finally get on track at Silverstone in the No. 97 Aston Martin.

We finished last season within a sniff of championship victory so the boys in Banbury have been hard at work over the winter to maximize the package for the new season.

There have been a few small changes with the Balance of Performance and for us this meant a ride height increase of 5mm, which has made a fairly large impact on our performance.

As we saw at Daytona, Porsche has been very strong from the word go and that has carried through to Silverstone. We knew it was going to be a difficult weekend but if we did everything right and made no mistakes we could still grab a result.

Sunday’s podium finish actually felt like a win, as it was more than we expected to take away from the weekend.

The good old British weather added in the variable where absolute performance is less important and zero mistakes from the drivers and the team can be rewarded with a good race result.

Silverstone threw up lots of different conditions throughout the race. The rain in the final hour was biblical and the organisers made the correct decision to stop the race short of the six hours. I spoke to some of the drivers who were out for the final stint and they said it was dangerous to even try to keep up with the safety car.

A lot of penalties were dished out during the race for yellow flag infringements. I don’t know all the individual stories but I can say that it is very difficult to see the marshal posts. A lot of them are a fair way from the edge of the track and not in our eye line at all.

We’re focused on the racing line; it’s hard to see something in your peripheral vision so I can see why people got caught out.

It’s very easy to look from the outside and have a black and white view as to what the drivers are doing. If only people knew how little you can see from the driver’s seat in a modern GT car.

There was a lot of chat after the race about the speed differential between the LMP1 cars and the GT cars. From where I was sitting the LMP1 battle looked fantastic. Their acceleration speed is much greater than before so we all need to adjust to that.

When you see a P1 car in the mirror, from experience you work out when he’ll catch you but now they have more straight-line speed. They caught me out a couple of times but give me a couple of races and I’ll get used to it.

The great thing about the LMP1s is that now they are quicker on the straights they don’t need to lunge past us in the corners so that’s a change for the better.

On to Spa next and we’re hoping that it throws up the usual terrible weather! On the few laps we had at Silverstone in the wet at full race pace we looked good. If it’s completely dry I think we’ll struggle for outright lap times but we’ll do the best we can.

We started the Silverstone weekend with a few problems that we didn’t really get to the bottom of until after qualifying. If we can start the weekend at Spa with the car in a more dialed-in position then we will definitely be on the right track.

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