British Touring Car Championship race winner and factory GT racer Darren Turner has been confirmed as the BTCC’s new development driver for its hybrid-specification car.
Turner, 46, was a regular in the BTCC between 2006 and 2008, when he raced a SEAT León alongside Jason Plato in the factory SEAT team.
During his 75 races in the series, Turner won five races and his best championship position was sixth in 2007.
Turner has also previously raced in the DTM as well as winning his class at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Now Turner has been confirmed in the role of the BTCC’s hybrid development driver, where he will conduct the majority of on-track testing, working with TOCA, Cosworth and Speedworks Motorsport.
Turner will get his first track time behind the wheel of the Toyota Corolla development car at the Goodyear two-day tyre test at Snetterton on 7 – 8 July.
“It’s a really interesting project,” said Turner. “I hugely enjoyed the British Touring Car Championship when I raced in it and this is a brilliant opportunity to get back in a touring car and do something a little bit different.
“I’ve not had the opportunity to use hybrid with anything else I have done before, in terms of race cars.
“I want to come at this fresh – I will meet the team and the guys doing the development and we will work out clearly what the objective is, because it isn’t just about the ultimate performance of the cars.
“It’s about making sure that it enhances what the racing currently is like and it adds to what the British Touring Car Championship is all about.
“And of course another important aspect is durability testing – we’ll be putting the equipment through some punishing test cycles.
“As the hybrid deployment will be for both attacking and defending, we will need to work on how it is best configured so that it’s easy to understand and easy to use.
“It’s also important that the fans can see it and understand what’s going on. All involved will be going through a learning process with it, but that is exactly what this testing programme is for… we want to see what it is capable of, and then work out the best deployment strategies from there.”
Speedworks Motorsport, under contract with Cosworth Electronics, has completed the build of the first hybrid car and will embark on an intensive test and development programme ahead of the planned hybrid rules integration from 2022.