top of page

'New experiences, amazing memories' - Nürburgring 24 Hours still a thrill for Turner

Multiple championship-winning sportscar driver Darren Turner made his 12th start in the ADAC TotalEnergies 24 Hours Nürburgring and proved there is always something new to experience in motor racing – even if you’ve driven more than a 1000 laps around the world famous German circuit.

The Briton, who has only missed one 24-hour race on the 13-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife since making his debut there in 2011, joined the Dörr Motorsport team which was making its race debut with the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 for 2023. And while the team sadly didn’t make the finish on this occasion, Turner admitted that this weekend was one of the most fun he’s had racing through the Eifel forest. Moreover, the whole event was hugely instructive for the German squad's burgeoning programme.


“You always learn something new when you compete in the Nürburgring 24 Hours,” said Turner. “Normally, when we race there, we stay in one of the circuit hotels, and you walk straight from there to the paddock – so you’re insulated a little bit from the atmosphere. This year we stayed in Adenau village, which is right in the centre of the fan festivities, and I was blown away by just how big the event really is, especially on race-day. It was insane”

Dörr Motorsport is at the beginning of its development programme with Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli. This year’s event was always planned to be an educational outing for its young driver line-up comprised of brothers Phil and Ben Dörr. Turner has been drafted in to bring all of his experience to bear and help accelerate the rate of progress within the team during the NLS season and the N24. For this race, the trio were also joined by German racer Peter Posovac.


“There is still so much for us to learn about the Pirelli tyres around here,” said Turner, “but for most of the week the weather was great so we got plenty of dry running on the slick tyres – probably for the first time this year! That really helped us, though in truth there is a lot more we need to work through to adapt the car’s set-up and learn its tyre behaviour before we have optimised the Vantage GT3 for the Nordschleife.”


Taking that into consideration, Darren and the team were delighted to find themselves in the traditional Top-30 qualifying shoot-out on Friday, after all the practice and qualifying proper had been completed.

“I was selected to do the one-shot qualifying, and that’s something you look forward to as a driver because it’s extremely rare to get the chance to drive a GT3 car flat-out around the Nordschleife when the track is clear and there are no Code 60 zones.


“Unfortunately, I brushed the wall just as I came on to the Nordschleife section of the track, which took the shine off the moment, and the car! But even still it was a great chance to savour the experience at a place I absolutely adore.”


The team started the event from 32nd with Turner in the car, and this was another special moment for the Briton to enjoy: “We don’t quite have the pace yet to run at the front, but we were holding our own with the SP9 (GT3 class) pack, and for the first three laps it was great to be able to push the car hard, until we caught the first tail-enders. And those cars are the slowest in the race so the speed differentials are huge.”

The Dörr Aston Martin stayed in the mix into the evening and was running on the fringes of the Top 20 when Phil was tagged by a slower car in one of the fastest sections of the track.


“We were tracking the other Vantage GT3, a couple of places back, when Phil shunted, and so I think we could have finished quite well,” explained Turner. “It was one of those races where you were wondering why there were so many cars still in the race, then suddenly it all kicked off and there were cars crashing and pitting with problems all over the place. If we’d not been one of them, we would have picked up plenty of positions.


“But there wasn’t much Phil could have done to avoid the crash, and the important thing is that he was okay. When they brought the car back it was clear that there was too much work to do to repair it and finish the race. Ultimately this is exactly what happens at the Nürburgring. It’s always a bit of a lottery out there, especially at night. It’s regarded as a crazy race, and there is a good reason for that.”

So Turner’s fourth class victory in the event will have to wait for another year, but in so many ways the 2023 race remained mission accomplished.  

“Ben did an exceptional job on his Nürburgring 24 Hours debut in a GT3, he was super-impressive,” said Turner. “Phil also drove extraordinarily well and was just very unlucky to get clipped by another car during the night. Working with Peter for the first time was a lot of fun as well. The team is well organised, really friendly and they prepare their cars to an outstanding level. We’re learning all the time about the Pirellis, and you’re never going to gain more data than you will during a 24-Hour race weekend. Now we can take all of that information, apply it over the next couple of weeks and come back stronger for the next NLS round.”

Darren is next in action at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, on 13-16 July, where he will be demonstrating road and racing machinery for Aston Martin Lagonda.


bottom of page