Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Audi’s McNish Aims For “Home” Rule In Britain’s World Endurance Championship Encounter

Allan McNish Press Release

  • Series leader McNish sets sights on maximum score at Silverstone in Scotsman’s World title quest
  • UK competition début for Le Mans 24 Hour race winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro in final European-based race of season

Allan McNish will be hoping for “home” rule when the Briton contests the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone on Sunday (26 Aug).

The Dumfries-born driver jointly leads the eight-race WEC by 6.5pts with co-driver Tom Kristensen (Denmark) from Audi Sport team-mates Marcel Fässler (CH)/André Lotterer (D)/Benoît Tréluyer (F).

McNish shares a diesel-engined Audi R18 ultra with Kristensen and is determined to claim a maximum points haul before the series moves onto races in Brazil, Bahrain, Japan and China.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to racing after a couple of months out since Le Mans and there is no better place for me than at Silverstone,” commented McNish.

“This track has been very important to me ever since my first car race. I was on pole for that race back in 1987 and enjoyed many victories in other ‘junior’ formulas and more recently sportscars with Audi.”

McNish is a winner of the corresponding Silverstone Six Hour race on three occasions. While he only gets the opportunity to race at Britain’s Grand Prix venue once a year nowadays, McNish raced frequently at Silverstone earlier in career – the first time in March 1987.

Having posted fourth (Spa Six Hours) and second (Le Mans 24 Hours) placings in the last two WEC races, McNish is intent on returning to winning ways which got his title assault off to a flying start in the Sebring 12 Hours (USA) five months ago.

Allan added: “I’ve started the corresponding race from the front row of the grid for the last two years only for little niggles to frustrate us in each race but those are in the past now.

“Tom [Kristensen] and I are leading the WEC driver’s championship so we are very eager for the Silverstone race and the opportunity to increase our points advantage.”

McNish with the R18 ultra this time
The McNish/Kristensen R18 ultra is powered by a conventional V6 turbocharged diesel engine delivering around 510hp through the rear wheels while the R18 e-tron quattro, piloted by 2011 & ’12 Le Mans 24 Hour race winning trio Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer, benefits briefly from an extra near 200hp, transmitted only through its front axle above 75mph at four specific “zones” around Silverstone’s 3.67-mile Grand Prix track, using power “harvested” under braking from the 50metre board at corners three, six, 15 and 16.

McNish continued: “Silverstone is a tricky circuit. It is fast featuring awkward corners, like Copse, Maggots, Becketts, Stowe - even the new first corner is fast - but then there are some slow sections. The new section is tricky because you come from very high speed and suddenly the car has got to work in really tight corners.

“Our Audi R18 ultra is primarily designed for fast, sweeping 180mph corners at Le Mans rather than 40mph turns but that is an element us drivers and our engineers must adapt the car to.

“The competition with Toyota will increase with each race and I think they will be extremely strong at Silverstone. They came out of Le Mans with a lot of positive feeling, knowing they are competitive, they will be trying very hard to ensure that they give us a run for our money and I am very sure they will.”

Practice begins on Friday (1130-1300 & 1600-1730) with qualifying for the anticipated 35-car entry on Saturday (1520-1540). The race begins at 1200 on Sunday (26 Aug).