The 2018 British GT season finale at Donington Park provided plenty of fireworks for all of the protagonists on Sunday and a great show for the spectators of the two-hour championship-deciding race.
For Darren Turner and the Beechdean AMR team it was a yo-yo race but they grabbed fifth at the finish, concluding Turner’s first full season in the British GT Championship.
The Donington race was also the swansong for the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, which will be replaced by the new Vantage GT3 in 2019.
Turner demonstrated the great pace of the car when he topped the timesheets in the second free practice session on Saturday and he and Beechdean boss Andrew Howard were looking forward to a good qualifying session. Unfortunately a broken exhaust curtailed Turner’s run and they had to settle for eighth place on the grid for Sunday’s race.
The non-professional drivers have to start the two-hour British GT races and Howard got more than his share of action during the opening stint.
“We knew it would be a feisty race as championship-deciders always are,” said Turner. “There was a lot of action at the beginning and Andrew got knocked about a bit but he held his own and kept his head when he got spun around after contact with the Nissan.”
Turner joined the race in ninth position at the halfway mark, heading straight into a battling pack of cars. He fought his way through to fifth place only to be clobbered with a drive through penalty!
“Unfortunately with the collective amount of track warnings I had to take a drive-through, which cost us 20 seconds,” he explained. “When I rejoined I could see the group up ahead were fighting each other and I had clear track ahead of me so I got my head down and got onto the back of them quite quickly. I managed to get past the Nissan and then came across the Bentley of Ryan Ratcliffe and the Lamborghini of Jonny Cocker and we all tripped over one another at the last turn! I managed to then find a way past into Turn 1 so that took us all the way back up to fifth!”
Turner took the chequered flag in fifth place, relatively unscathed, after a contact-filled race.
“Fifth place was a good position in which to finish the last race,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed my first full season in the British GT championship. We’ve had a few podiums along the way but that elusive win never happened.
“I’d like to say congratulations to Jonny (Adam) and Flick (Haigh) on winning the title. They worked hard to make it happen today and it is thoroughly deserved!”