Team Aston Martin Racing driver Darren Turner faced the media and the public at the Scrutineering event in Le Mans town centre on Tuesday. He talked about his previous experiences at Le Mans, and preparations and expectations for this year's event.
Two years ago the team, as many others, were plagued by problems with heat and early in the race the drivers described the heat as incredible and that was extremely difficult to drive while constantly breathing in hot air. Turner described the improvements in driver comfort that the team have made over the past few years.
"In 2005, when we were at Aston for the first time, we'd been racing in America and all that so we had some experience of the temperature being quite hot in the car, but never to the extent of what the temperature was here in 2005 where every driver in both cars really suffered because of the temperature inside - I think at one stage it was 71 degrees Centigrade within the cockpit so, with that sort of temperature, plus all the fireproofing and your helmet on, it became a big problem in the car.
"Straightaway after that race in 2005 the team went away and made some big improvements with the cooling for the cockpit and the driver comfort, so 2006 it was much better in the car. Obviously this year a few of the cars in GT1 are running air conditioning, which again is a step in the right direction for driver comfort. It is always going to be hot but it's just one of those things - it is always going to be hot in the car, it's just limiting how hot and enabling the drivers to be able to do their job without suffering too much."
Turner went on to talk about the level of competition in the LM GT1 class this year and also the competition between the four Aston Martin cars.
"This year is better than any year I've been in at Le Mans, and this is my fifth year at Le Mans, and I'm just really excited that the competition is so strong. No one wants to do a race where there is no competition and you just have to do a test, run to the flag and pick up the trophy because that doesn't give you any reward at all.
"I think everyone in the team is excited by the fact it is going to be very close and hard race, not just between us and the competition, but between us as team-mates and the different cars as well, and you know that whoever wins this race on Sunday really deserves it because they will have to work extremely hard to make it happen, and probably have a bit of luck on the way as well, but that's the main thing - when you pick up the trophy you've worked very hard to get it, along with the team and everyone else, so it's going to be #009 that is going to be picking up that trophy."