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Another Nordschleife podium as Turner prepares for 2023 Nurburgring 24 Hours

British sportscar ace Darren Turner notched up his latest podium on the fearsome Nürburgring Nordschleife in last weekend’s ADAC 24H Nürburgring Qualifiers – the traditional prelude to the 24 Hour race proper – driving a Dörr Motorsport-run Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

A three-time class winner at the ‘Green Hell’s’ blue riband event, Aston Martin High Performance driver Turner has been drafted in to assist brothers Phil and Ben Dörr as they acclimatise to the challenges of racing a powerful and downforce-dependent GT3 car around the world’s most challenging circuit. And, so far, things are going to plan…

“It was great to be back on the circuit,” said Turner, who last raced on the Nordschleife when he won the SPX class in an experimental Mercedes AMG GT3 in 2021. “I am in such a happy place going around there, and it is just so much fun.”

Dörr Motorsport’s stunning dark green and white-striped Vantage is participating in a significant development programme with the Pirelli tyre manufacturer. It ran competitively in the top SP9 class during the two Qualifier races over the weekend, and was a contender for the SP9 Pro-Am victory for much of the weekend’s showcase four-hour race on Sunday.

“We’d treated the two-hour race on Saturday as another test session, but when it was dry the car was well-balanced and fun to drive,” explained Turner. “This programme is about preparing Phil, Ben and the car for next month’s 24 Hour race. So, we built in a margin for error and just focused on preparing as a team and getting some experience in varied conditions in the Vantage GT3.”

Turner’s first dry lap in Sunday’s open qualifying session was good enough for 13th and earned the team a spot in the Top Qualifying session (which defined the top ten grid positions for the four-hour race).

Phil Dörr took the start from 20th on the grid, and completed the first hour of the race, getting vital laps under his belt, before handing over to younger brother Ben. “They both did really well,” said Turner. “There are rarely any easy laps when you’re racing on the Nordschleife, and while they had to deal with Code 60s, they both had trouble-free runs.”

Phil had a second stint just as patchy rain began to sweep across sections of the 15.7-mile track, before handing back to Turner for the final hour.

“The car felt really good in that final stint,” said Turner. “Even in the last few laps when the cloud bursts intensified on parts of the circuit, it was still slick-tyre weather, but it made it fun. When that happens you just have to be smart and navigate your way through it all.

“But overall we gathered a bunch of data for the team, and for Pirelli, and Phil and Ben got loads of miles under their belts ahead of the 24H race, and that was all we were trying to achieve this weekend. It meant we ticked off a lot of boxes, but there is still plenty of homework to be done.”

The team finished 13th overall, and second in the SP-9 Pro-Am, after a strong run. The next time Darren and the Dörr brothers race together is in the actual TotalEnergies ADAC 24 Hours on the 18-21 May, 2023.


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