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Aston Martin factory driver to attempt production car record 40 years on

08 January 2021

Aston Martin factory driver, Darren Turner, is to attempt 200 miles an hour in the Aston Martin Bulldog concept car, forty years after it was first tried.

Darren Turner

The Aston Martin Bulldog, styled by William Towns, is a one-off concept created in 1980 to prove that it was not only a small company of renowned motoring artisans but that its engineering prowess was also world-class. 

Aston Martin hoped that the car would be capable of over 200 miles per hour, making it the fastest production car of its time.

However, testing and development were curtailed with the car tantalisingly close to its design performance, having achieved 191 miles per hour in testing at MIRA when Victor Gauntlett became chairman of AML in 1981. 

Last year, the car was given to Classic Motor Cars in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, to carry out an 18-month nut and bolt restoration of the famous car. Following this, the owner plans to run the car at over 200 mph and then take it on a World tour.

Overseeing the restoration, on behalf of the owner, is Richard Gauntlett, Victor Gauntlett’s son who grew up with the car and his father’s ambition of it becoming the fastest production car ever developed.

Gauntlett said: “The car is well on the way to being restored and CMC will have it running by the end of the year. We will then attempt the record that never was. A critical part of this was finding the right driver for the job and someone that could get involved in overseeing the final elements of the project, in terms of set-up and testing.

AstonMartinBulldog before restoration. (Credit: Amy Shore)

He added: “I am delighted that Darren Turner who has been an Aston Martin works and high-performance development driver for more than 15 years has agreed to join the team.”

Darren Turner said: “I had heard of the legend of Bulldog from within Aston Martin and when news started to filter out about the car being restored to go for the 200mph target, I thought that was such a cool thing to do. 

“I was following the story and thinking that it would be great to be involved in. When I was asked to drive it, I didn’t need to be asked twice!”

He added: “I really appreciate being asked and I’m looking forward to becoming part of the story of bringing Bulldog back to life and finally achieving what it set out to achieve all those years ago.”

Nigel Woodward, Managing Director at Classic Motor cars in Bridgnorth, said: "It's great that Darren has agreed to drive the car. Having such an accomplished driver on board and one that will become involved in the final set up and testing is fantastic and of course, given Darren's own historic connections with Aston Martin, very fitting too."


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