Darren Turner has arrived back from #6hFuji, a blistering weekend down in Japan where he and his fellow Aston Martin Racing team competing in the 6hr Fuji race in the on-going FIA World Endurance Championship. Competing alongside his fellow Brit teammate Jonny Adam, Turner managed to finish in 6th place at the end of the #6hFuji race.
After Aston Martin trying to regain a higher position on the leader-table, it was said that the AMR Team were happy about receiving an adjustment after the previous race in Austin, Texas. But this time round it wasn’t enough to push the Aston Martin Racing Team to give Ferrari & Porsche a serious run for the money…yet.
“We had a small BoP change after COTA that took us around halfway back to where we were at the start of the year,” said Turner. “We all know that BoP is necessary to level the playing field across the different manufacturers and it is a difficult thing to get right. It wasn’t enough this time but it was a step in the right direction.”
The #6hFuji sessions on Friday were mostly done in dry conditions, which was great for both Turner and Adam finding a decent balance in the car. Although qualifying conditions was deemed too dry, both Turner and Adam gave it all they could to pick up that magically fleeting lap time. Their efforts resulted in being placed 6th on the grid table.
“We didn’t have any significant problems,” explained Turner. “My first and second laps went well but then I had double yellows on lap three and a Corvette in the way on lap four so I couldn’t improve. That said, the car felt good and we got as much out of it as we could but the BoP has put us in a different league.”
When it came down to Sunday, the weather turned torrential, making the traditional rolling start too dangerous to undergo. Only after having started behind the safety car, the timer was 40 minutes into the race before officials proclaimed track conditions were safe enough for the cars to venture on their own. Adam took the first leg of the race, after which the AMR Team brought him on during the arduous ‘safety car’ period for a fuel top-up. This lead to strategists figuring out their next move to with time to spare near the end of the race.
Only after the safety car had been pitted (after 40 mins), Adam then had to push his way through the amateur class cars before setting his sights on the pro runners in front. After a time consuming climb, Adam then handed the #97 reins over to Turner (joining the race in 7th place).
“When I got in the track was starting to dry but it was horribly greasy,” said Turner. “Every time it got close to dry there would be more drizzle and that coupled with the low ambient temperature meant that it took a very long time for a dry line to appear. Luckily for us though this happened as I got to the end of my stint and needed fuel so I was able to stop for fuel and slicks at just the right moment.”
Adam came back into the #6hFuji race (on a near dried out track) and started to get those much-needed times but the dry track worked out in the favour of Ferrari and Porsche much more than for the AMR Team.
“I jumped in for the final stint but all we could do at that point was maintain our position,” said Turner. “The track was still pretty slippery, in fact some cars were weaving on the straight in the final hour just to try to get some temperature into the tyres.
“Strategically we were strong and the work in the pits was second to none but we are still a long way off on pace so some of that has got to be down to the BoP. Despite that we had a great time in Japan – it is always a brilliant event – and now I’m off to France for some more work with the Aston Martin Vulcan.”