Aston Martin Racing ace Darren Turner admits that it will be a challenge for the team to try and secure a podium finish at Le Mans, although the Briton conceded that the French classic is a race where 'you never know what will happen next'.
Having turned his focus back to sportscar racing this season, Turner will form part of the #008 crew for Aston Martin as it seeks to challenge for outright honours with a trio of Lola-Aston Martin LMP1 machines, with the former SEAT touring car racer joined at the wheel by Anthony Davidson and Jos Verstappen.
Preparations for the #008 crew have been far from ideal after Verstappen suffered a high-speed testing accident at Monza, but with the trio now heading to La Sarthe, Turner said he was confident they would be a strong line-up.
“I think the crew for #008 is a good one and I'm looking forward to racing with Anthony and Jos,” he said. “Ant has been a good friend of mine since we raced together at Sebring and Le Mans in 2003. It will be interesting to see how we compare now that so much time has passed. Jos is a hugely experienced Grand Prix driver who has already proved to be very fast around Le Mans in a prototype so I think the three of us together will make a very solid team.
“Our main competition has to be the other petrol-powered teams, but it would be great if we could get out there and mix it with the Audis and the Peugeots. Our test programme hasn't run as smoothly as we would have liked, with a few accidents along the way, so the team is on the back foot a little. It will be very difficult to get on the podium this year but this race is different to all the others and you have to keep plugging away as you never know what will happen next.”
Having already secured a double victory with Aston Martin in the GT1 class, Turner added he was proud to get the chance to represent the famous name on the 50th anniversary of its last overall success.
“After the two GT1 wins it is incredible to be able to go back and do Le Mans in an LMP1 car,” he said. “I've had a look at the data to compare LMP1 and GT1 speeds to get an idea of the differences between the cars and what it will be like. There is a huge difference in cornering speeds and I can't wait to get out there and try it out.
“I'm really enjoying the car now that I have had the two LMS races to get used to it and it's a real privilege for me to race at Le Mans for Aston Martin, especially on the 50th anniversary of their last outright win.”