For Aston Martin Racing driver Darren Turner, discovering the journey is what road trips are all about.
As a veteran behind the wheel, Aston Martin Racing driver Darren Turner has seen his share of road trips while winning some of the industry’s fiercest competitions.
His longest to date is the 300-mile coastal 101 route from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
A three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans victor, Turner shared with Waldorf Astoria Magazine some of his other favorite journeys and tips on how to plan the perfect road trip in an Aston Martin.
What have been some of your favorite road trips that you remember while on the road competing?
Over the years I’ve really got to enjoy some lovely drives, particularly down the coast from San Francisco to Monterrey; all the way down to LA. Sometimes when we’re racing in America, we travel from one event to another without going home so you have three or four days off and those days were basically sight-seeing days.
There is always the option of the fast route, but quite often we’ll take the scenic route, and you get to see some really nice parts of America. Generally, you’re in [a rental] car, so it’s not always an amazing car, but it is an amazing drive.
Then some of the race circuits you travel to in Europe are preceded by some outstanding roads, like the Nürburgring Nordschleife, for example. Once you get past Belgium and you head into the forest mountain roads towards the ’Ring, it is fantastic down there.
What is your ultimate favorite route?
I love Majorca island and there is a particular road, the MA10 from Andrax to Solla, on the west coast, that follows the ocean nearly all the way. It’s mountainous around there and you get to travel through some amazing villages. I’m never in a rush when I’m on it because I just want to enjoy it, but you still have to concentrate because it’s really twisty and it is fairly busy with holiday makers but you get to enjoy some beautiful scenery.
What makes a particular route stand out for a driver like yourself?
A road trip for me is not so much about the feeling behind the wheel, because I want to enjoy the area I am travelling through. So it’s more about the road and the scenery. That is what is important. I would certainly always choose the longer and more interesting route for any sort of road trip.
What should someone consider when planning a road trip?
You don’t want to plan it too much because you don’t know what you are going to do or what you are going to find. You need a start and an end point and a rough idea of where you are going to go, but then the freedom and flexibility that comes with discovering the journey is what it is all about.
For someone who is used to being on a race track, do you even like road trips?
If I trust the driver, it’s really enjoyable to be the passenger and watch the world go by and relax. But that is only if I trust the driver or they don’t have any annoying habits. if they do, you spend your time asking yourself “why do they do it like that?”It all depends on who you’re sat next to. The majority of the travel I do, I end up driving, mainly because I love it.
What can you learn about a car while going on a road trip?
Pretty much everything! If it’s a proper road trip and you are spending a day or two on it then you are going to experience everything a car has to offer. You get to live with it and there will be times when you are going to want to drive that little bit more briskly and then you start to understand its performance capabilities. The more time you spend with a car on roads and racing circuits the more you’ll learn something new about it.
What’s your favourite road trip memory?
A couple of years ago we stayed at the Hotel de France at Le Chatre (near Le Mans) and we went down and re-enacted what it was like in 1959 when Aston Martin won the 24 Hours. Back then the race cars were all prepped down there, and then they drove the cars from the hotel to the circuit and then raced.
Obviously, that is not possible nowadays, but we did do some of the journey in the race car and that was really cool. Just to be able imagine what it must have been like back in the day, having breakfast in the hotel, coming down jumping in the race car and driving it to the circuit. Racing it for 24 hours and then heading back to the UK. That was a unique experience.
Where to stay: Replicate your own trip to Le Mans with Aston Martin before heading back to Paris where you surround yourself in luxury at the Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace.
Experience the thrill of an Aston Martin with a Waldorf Astoria driving experience. Visit waldorfastoria.com/drive