WEC: Turner signs new deal with Aston Martin Racing

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Two-time Le Mans class winner Darren Turner will remain with Aston Martin Racing for the foreseeable future after signing a new three-year deal with the British marque.

Turner first raced for Aston Martin back in 2005, finishing third in class on debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

GT1 class victories followed in 2007 and 2008, and the Briton has since established himself as one of the leading GT racers in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

“Within my time at Aston Martin Racing we have had so many highs,” Turner said. “Like with any team, we have had our low points too but we always come out fighting – right now we are in a very strong place.

“We have an exciting few years ahead of us in GT racing. The discipline is going from strength-to-strength and I’m looking forward to working with the team to develop its new cars.”

Aston Martin Racing team principal John Gaw was delighted to confirm Turner’s contract extension, believing that the 41-year-old acts as a perfect leader for the marque’s GT operation.

“We’ve signed a three-year deal but we certainly see Darren’s future with Aston Martin Racing as ongoing,” Gaw said.

“He has been with us since the company was founded and is therefore not only a very strong and reliable driver but also has an understanding of the team and insight into the cars better than anyone else ever could.

“His professional, mature and positive attitude is invaluable within our team as we look to bring in and develop young talent.”

Besides his racing commitments, Turner will also act as an ambassador for Aston Martin and help to develop its road cars.

“Although I’ve always had a strong relationship with the road car arm of the business and have been involved in many projects, this is the first time that we have come to a formal agreement and signed a contract,” Turner explained.

“This will see me get more involved with road car projects and will draw an even closer link between these and our race car programmes.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.