The secret of success at the Red Bull Ring: "Use your brain, not your heart"

This year, Darren Turner was one of the winners of the legendary “24 Hours of Le Mans” in the GTE category, and is now driving in his first race after this triumph - in the ELMS at the Red Bull Ring. We asked the Aston Martin driver about partying like a champion, the future of this endurance sport, the tricky aspects of driving the Red Bull Ring and which Austrian could join Formula One in the near future.

This year, you won the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GTE category. What does this victory mean for you?

It is an amazing feeling, especially because our opponents Ferrari, Porsche and Ford were stronger than ever before. 2017’s race was a battle until the last lap, which was not only interesting for those who watched it, but also for the teams and drivers. Who can say they’ve won the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the last lap? It was a important win for Aston Martin and one of the best races in my career.

Has your life as a racing driver changed now?

The difference compared to other wins was that after the 24 Hours of Le Mans it took much longer for the party mood to calm down. After Le Mans, we partied for almost three weeks – the whole team had a pretty amazing time.

Is there any pressure for you to win at the Red Bull Ring?

Not at all! This is a completely different series with other teams and other drivers. In the ELMS we achieved the target, to retain the title we won las year. With two podiums so far, we are on the right path.

What is the secret of success at the Red Bull Ring?

In ELMS, this track is one of my absolute favourites. I love to drive here. Red Bull Ring is a two-part track: in the first half you have a change of fast and slow sections, have to brake hard and take the corners in first or second gear. The second part is much more flowy. You have to find the right rhythm.

Which part is the most difficult?

I believe this is turn 4 at the end of the Schönberg straight. It’s really hard to find the racing line there and you can miss the apex very easily. You should use your brain more than your heart there.

This year, GTE cars are almost hitting the same speed as the LMP3 cars. What does this mean for the race itself?

A pro driver in the GTE class is almost faster than a hobby driver in the LMP3. This is not making anything easier for the drivers, as you have to plan your overtaking like a strategy. Maybe it should be considered in the future, to give the LMP3 more performance and top speed. But for the spectators, those fights, also between the categories, for sure is nice to watch.

You are driving for the Aston Martin Racing Team. Did you see the duel between your “team-mates” Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen?

Yes of course… I had a lot of fun… an amazing video. Those things show the character of Red Bull Racing in Formula One: it is a strong and professional team, but never misses out on a joke. There is no other racing team that delivers so much excitement to the fans.

To the video

As a former DTM driver, what do you think about the performances of Lucas Auer? is he the next Austrian to enter Formula One?

Lucas is doing a brilliant job in DTM and of course has everything that is required to go to Formula One. He will be displaying his talent at the Formula One test at Hungary in the Force India and then he needs the right support and right people around him. I am convinced he will take his chance.

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