ASTON Martin works driver Darren Turner returned to one of his favourite playgrounds last weekend, driving five different cars and scoring another podium in this year’s Goodwood Revival.
Amid the beautiful British countryside and under blazing late summer sunshine, the setting was perfect for Turner to return to a couple of famous Aston Martins and sample the ferocious power of a 1964 AC Cobra and Lotus 19 Can-Am car.
The three-times Le Mans winner had already driven the Aston Martin DBR1 at the French circuit this year, where it celebrated the 60th anniversary of its victory in the famous 24 Hours race.
But at Goodwood, Turner was able to get a little bit of a better feel for the straight-six-engined £22m machine in the 1959 TT celebration parade.
“It was great to drive it at Goodwood,” said Turner.
“It was fantastic to be a part of that parade. Any time you get to drive a DBR1 is a privilege and driving it around Goodwood was an amazing experience.
“We weren’t allowed to go over 100mph, but I was able to drive it enough to get a sense of what it must have been like in period, which always renews your respect for those who raced it at the time!”
Turner’s first race of the weekend was the Kinrara Trophy on the Friday evening to open proceedings.
This was a particularly special event since it was the only race to run into dusk at Goodwood.
Turner, driving an Aston Martin DB4GT that he shared with historic racing specialist Simon Hadfield, finished an excellent second to add to his strong record at the Sussex track.
“The Kinrara Trophy was actually one of the races at the Revival that I had not done before so I was really excited to be a part of it, and especially doing it in a DB4 which is one of my favourite cars!” he said.
“So I started the weekend in style.”
The duo had qualified third, and Turner took the start.
“Because you are always jumping in different cars, often the first time you get to practice a start is basically at the start,” he said.
“So I wasn’t too sure how I was going to get off the line, but we made a good start and we jumped into second behind the Ferrari 250 GTO. I hung on to him for a bit, but they were just in a different league when it came to lap times.
“But I had a lovely time out there. Just driving an Aston Martin DB4 around Goodwood is a lovely experience.
“I pitted and handed over to Simon and we were able to maintain the pace and take it to the flag. It was a great start to the weekend.”
Turner could have had a second podium in the super-competitive TT race, but his co-driver Oliver Bryant crashed the fearsome 1964 AC Cobra while in second position duelling with Le Mans winners Andre Lotterer and Romain Dumas.
“The cars in the TT are such quick bits of kit, and the Cobra was an unbelievable car,” added Turner.
“Oli is so dialled into that car and he did a great job all weekend.
“My job was to make sure I got it off the line, I made a good start and made up a position or two and then I found myself in sixth position.
“When the pitstop window opened we boxed and we just caught the Safety Car so we had a very quick pitstop.
“Oli jumped in and he had a great battle with the lead Cobras of Lotterer and Dumas, but then unfortunately he put a wheel on the grass at turn one and ended up in the barrier.
“The car wasn’t too badly damaged, and Oli was okay, but that meant we missed out on a podium.”
Turner also got to sample an MG Magnette ZB in the St Mary’s race until it suffered a gearbox failure, before braving the mighty Lotus 19 Can Am car in the final race of the meeting, the Whitsun Trophy.
“Those cars are just monsters,” he said.
“They are doing 170mph on the back straight. I really could have done with a day’s testing to get my head around it and jumping in to five different cars over the weekend you don’t really get tuned in.
“We finished sixth, and there was probably a bit more in the car, but I was happy to get to the flag on the final race of the day.”
Turner’s schedule between his FIA World Endurance Championship, GT Open, British GT and Japanese GT commitments has been hectic in 2019, but he always makes sure that the Revival is an essential part of his calendar.
But he wasn’t the only Turner competing in 2019, with his six-year daughter Lyla giving her fighting best in the Settrington Cup for Austin J40 pedal cars.