Aston Martin factory driver, Darren Turner (pictured below) is to attempt 200mph in the Aston Martin Bulldog concept car forty years after it was first attempted.
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 200mph 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 191mph in testing at MIRA when Victor Gauntlett became chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda in 1981.
Last year the car was handed over to Bridgnorth-based Classic Motor Cars in Bridgnorth to carry out an 18-month nut and bolt restoration. Following this the owner plans to run the car at over 200mph 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.
He 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.
Mr Gauntlett 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.”
Mr Turner added: “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!
“I really appreciate being asked and I am 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, Classic Motor Cars managing director, 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.”