Sports car racer Darren Turner has been confirmed as the replacement driver for the late Dan Wheldon at this weekend’s ArmorAll Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercars event at Surfers Paradise, event organisers confirmed today.
Turner will co-drive alongside defending series champion James Courtney in the #1 HRT Holden Commodore at this weekend’s two-race event that pairs series regulars with ‘international class’ co-drivers from the world of international touring cars, sports cars, Le Mans and IndyCar racing.
Wheldon had been confirmed some months back as Courtney’s co-driver, but his tragic death two days ago – coupled with the withdrawal of fellow IndyCar runners Will Power and Tony Kanaan from the event – has left V8 Supercars officials scrambling to find available replacements at short notice.
Thirty-seven-year-old Turner hails from Surrey and is a former winner of the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year in 1996. After being a test driver with the McLaren F1 team, he switched focus to touring cars in championships such as the DTM, BTCC and ASCAR.
He later switched to endurance racing competition, and is a two-time winner in the GT1 class in the Le Mans 24 Hours. He now races in the FIA GT1 championship with Aston Martin.
As part of the announcement, V8 Supercars officials also confirmed that the trophy awarded to the best ‘international class’ driver at the Gold Coast 600 has been renamed the ‘Dan Wheldon Trophy’ in his honour.
A nice touch, indeed.