Aston Martin Racing driver Darren Turner finished Round 6 of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship in fifth place on Saturday after a gruelling race under the intense glare of the Texan sun. Held in Austin at the Circuit of the Americas, the six-hour race produced a positive result for Turner and his team mates, Jonny Adam and Daniel Serra, after the disappointment of their last outing in Mexico.
“After Mexico it was good to get to the finish and bag some points,” said Turner. “Relative to the pace we had, fifth is a good result and with the sister car coming fourth the championships have all closed up again.”
Serra was behind the wheel of the #97 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE for the start of the race and was the first of the #97 crew to get a taste of the brutal conditions.
“Daniel had a tricky opening stint,” said Turner. “It was his first ever WEC start and it was a particularly busy one. Once the race settled though we got into a good rhythm and reaped the benefits of having a three-driver crew. Daniel, Jonny and I could single stint throughout the race and stay fresh in the heat.”
The conditions were tough throughout the race and with each manufacturer running different strategies to deal with that, the Aston Martin Racing team had to keep on their toes.
Turner took to the track on two occasions, first taking over from Serra and running the second hour of the race on the tricky combination of fresh left hand side tyres and old rights. On his second run he had fresh tyres so he could really let the V8 Vantage stretch its legs on the Circuit of the Americas track.
“I enjoyed that last stint,” he said. “I was happy with my driving and managed to remain mistake-free. We got to the flag in fifth place, just one place behind the sister Aston Martin. I think we took the maximum that we could and it was good to collect some points.”
On the other side of the Aston Martin Racing garage the #98 car had a rollercoaster of a race but came out on top in the Am class.
“Well done to the #98 crew,” said Turner. “That was a hard-fought and well-deserved victory. Overall it wasn’t a bad weekend for everyone at Aston Martin. What we need to do now is get some momentum behind us and let’s see if we can go one better at Fuji.”
The Fuji round of the FIA World Endurance Championship takes place in four weeks’ time on 15th October.