Darren Turner competed in the #97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE for the final time in the World Endurance Championship’s GTE Pro class yesterday. The 6 Hours of Bahrain brought the curtain down on six years of fantastic racing in the Vantage GTE, which have seen Turner take numerous wins, most notably at Le Mans just a few months ago.
A strong performance from both Turner and his Aston Martin Racing team mate, Jonny Adam, put the #97 Vantage GTE on the front row of the grid for Saturday’s race.
“We were both very happy to take a front row start for the Vantage’s last race,” said Turner. “I was happy with my lap and Jonny did a great job too so our average put us in second place, just a couple of tenths off the pole car. Even after six years of competing in WEC it’s good to see that the car still has the pace to compete.”
As has been the case throughout the 2017 season, tyre strategy was key to success. The teams now have to make four sets of tyres last for the full six-hour race so managing tyre degradation is vital.
It was Adam who took the start on Saturday and, as often happens at Bahrain’s tight Turn One, he got boxed in and the Ford slipped by him. He managed to maintain that place throughout the opening hour.
“I jumped in then for a planned double stint,” said Turner. “We did the best we could but as the race went on it became apparent that we couldn’t make the tyres last. It also looked like the competition were able to up their game in the race compared to what we saw in qualifying.”
Despite running a strong strategy and a mistake-free race the #97 Aston Martin finished the 6 Hours of Bahrain in sixth position.
“Our final result was disappointing,” said Turner. “But, much like Shanghai, the highlight for everyone at Aston Martin Racing was the performance of the #98 car. It was another text book race for them with pole position, race victory and the championship win. A truly remarkable weekend for those guys.”
Although Bahrain was the GTE Pro swansong for the Vantage, it’s successor – the new Vantage GTE – will be revealed on Tuesday.