Darren Turner achieved a long-held ambition at the weekend when he took part in the Walter Hayes Trophy event at Silverstone for the first time.
Turner only arrived at the circuit on Saturday morning having taken part in a three-day Michelin tyre test in Portgual with Aston Martin, so only got behind the wheel of the Van Diemen RF90 FF1600 in qualifying.
The Gulf Oil liveried car – one of 124 Formula Fords entered for the eighth running of the Walter Hayes Trophy - was numbered #009, in symmetry with Darren's Le Mans winning Aston Martin.
He quickly got up to speed – despite having few laps in which to do so thanks to red flags and variable weather conditions. He qualified eighth in his group and easily progressed through to the semi final stage, despite very slippery and greasy track conditions.
An eleventh place in that race was more than enough to see him through to the Grand Final on Sunday afternoon where he then secured tenth place to cap his weekend.
"It was a blast," Turner said. "Absolute Racing, who prepared the car, did a great job in really difficult conditions and we exceeded my original goal of reaching the semi-final. A huge thank-you to Chris Hodgen, Joe and Andy of Absolute Racing, and to Lee Chatburn who bravely supplied his car for me to use this weekend. I'd also like to thank James Beckett who did a great job organising the whole weekend.
"It was a bit of a baptism of fire, but I had a great time. Going into it all with no testing was really difficult, but I got up to speed quickly enough. My goal was to get to the semis so to reach the final and get a top ten finish was more than I could have hoped for. The weather and track conditions were so bad there were people going off all over the place, so keeping it on the track was a result on its own!
"I'd really like to come back next year and do some testing before the weekend so we could be a bit more competitive. It's a bit strange starting a Formula Ford race after being in other areas of racing for so many years, but it was loads of fun. I can't wait to do it again."