DARREN Turner’s frantically cosmopolitan racing summer continued with a hard-earned victory in the Mini Celebration Trophy double-header during last weekend’s world famous Silverstone Classic.
The works Aston Martin Racing driver has only just returned from a cameo role in the British GT Championship round at Spa-Francorchamps, sharing a Vantage GT3 with Australian GT Championship front-runner Tony Quinn, but couldn’t resist another crack at the Mini racing he so enjoyed in April’s Goodwood Members’ Meeting.
Returning to the cockpit of the RaceWorks-prepared and Swift-tuned 1,275cc Morris Mini Cooper S, owned by Aston Martin’s chief creative officer Marek Reichman, this time Turner was taking no prisoners in pursuit of a win.
Turner qualified fifth in the highly competitive 57-car field in race one and immediately got stuck into the cut and thrust of slip-streaming Mini etiquette, where swapping positions from corner to corner is far from unusual.
“I was happy to be starting in the top ten up against some very serious Mini experts,” he said.
“Qualifying had been dry, but then the opening race was wet. That equalled things out a bit and I got involved in a really good battle up front with six cars.
“It was the normal Mini shenanigans. You could be leading on one part of the track and then fourth two corners later. You’re up and down all the time.”
Having shuffled his way to the front, Turner managed to eke out a small gap which was enough to protect him from hard-charging rival Chris Middlehurst, and snatch the win.
“Chris Middlehurst kept me honest though,” added Turner.
“So I had to keep pushing right to the end. I was very happy to have delivered a win for Marek.
Conditions were dry for race two on Sunday, which made maintaining the lead from pole position a trickier proposition for Turner, who eventually came home in fourth.
“Silverstone is a horsepower circuit and although I had a quick Mini, it wasn’t the fastest,” said Turner.
“In the wet I was fine because it is not all about horsepower, but in the dry it was a little bit different and you only have to be 1mph slower on the straight and that is a big deficit because it defines whether you can stay in the slipstream.
“I was still in the mix though and the second race was a feisty affair – there were six of us battling it out. It was really good fun and there was so much overtaking.
“It was brilliant to be a part of it. We’d been up there to watch it as a family before, but being part of the show and staying on site with my family was an incredible experience.
“There is so much to see and do and it was great to be able to relax and enjoy racing for racing’s sake.”
Turner now returns to the serious business of the Japanese Super GT, where he will share the D’station Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with Tomonobu Fujii and João Paulo Oliveira in the Fuji 5 Hours this weekend.