Darren Turner believes Aston Martin is in a strong position to be best of the gasoline cars at this weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours, but says the diesel entries will be unbeatable.
Despite efforts by race organizers, the ACO, to equalize the gasoline- and diesel-fueled LMP1 machines, Sebastien Bourdais' provisional pole for Peugeot, set last night, was nearly seven seconds faster than the quickest gas machine. Stefan Mucke topped the gas group with Aston Martin's No. 007 entry, with a 3m26.680s effort, less than a tenth quicker than Turner's best in No. 009.
Turner, who will share the car with inexperienced Le Mans racers Juan Barazi and Sam Hancock, said: "The diesels don"t just have extra power, they can run more downforce due to having more torque. It's a two-class situation.
"The evolution of gasoline technology is slow, but with diesel there are still big gains because it's relatively new in racing. The only way we'll get among them is if some of the diesels have issues.
Turner believes the Mucke/Adrian Fernandez/Harold Primat Aston will be a strong contender for non-diesel honors, however.
"The 007 car has a good chance," he said. "It's a good lineup and they've done three races together. None of us in 009 have done many miles, but we're getting there. We've got to play a safe race."