A SMALL English sports car renowned for giant-killing performances in the 1960s will make a welcome return at the Leyburn Sprints.
The Turner Mark II has been entered for the first time by Gold Coast sports car racer Steve Purdy, but will be remembered as a car Queensland legend John French drove for team owner Alec Mildren at Lowood and other circuits between 1962 and 1964.
Powered by a Ford Cortina GT engine mated to a Lotus Cortina close-ratio gearbox, the little Turner regularly diced at East Coast tracks during a hey-day period for production sports cars.
Its rivals included the Lotus Elans of Fred Gibson and Neil Allen, the Jaguar E-Types of Allen and Bob Jane, Morgan Plus 4 of Ken Ward, Ross Bond’s Austin Healey 3000 and Max Brunninghausen’s Daimler SP250.
In the hands of Wal Donnelly and Paul Hamilton, as well as French, it won races and set class and outright lap records at Warwick Farm, Catalina Park, Oran Park and Mount Panorama.
Purdy watched the car compete at Warwick Farm when he was a teenager and says he is delighted to be its 11th owner.
“I am slowly getting it ready for full-time historic racing. My preference is for these cars to be out and about, not stuck in sheds,” Purdy said.
Turner sports cars were built by company founder Jack Turner in Wolverhampton, England, between 1951 and 1966.
Their lightweight specifications were typical of the British sports car hey-day – fibreglass bodywork mounted on a tubular frame, BMC A-Series rear axle and Triumph Herald independent front suspension.