Ένας από τους πιο πετυχημένους και χαρισματικούς οδηγούς εγκαταλείπει την ενεργό δράση, αφού λίγο πριν τα 44τα γενέθλιά του, ο Σκωτσέζος εργοστασιακός οδηγός της Audi, Allan McNish ανακοίνωσε ότι κρεμά τα γάντια του.
O McNish ξεκίνησε στα 11 του να τρέχει σε αγώνες καρτ, συμπληρώνοντας φέτος 32 χρόνια καριέρας, αποχωρώντας ως πρωταθλητής στο WEC και νικητής στον 24-ωρο αγώνα του Le Mans.
O Wolfgang Ullrich επικεφαλής της Audi Motorsport ευχαρίστησε τον McNish για τις επιτυχίες του, αλλά επιβεβαίωσε πως ο Σκωτσέζος θα συνεχίσει να προσφέρει τις γνώσεις και τις υπηρεσίες του στην Audi και στην Audi Sport.
Στο παλμαρέ των επιτυχιών του McNish υπάρχει η νίκη στο American Le Mans Series με το Audi R8 το 2000, ενώ το 2006 και το 2007 με το Audi R10 TDI πήρε το ίδιο πρωτάθλημα. Στον 12-ωρο αγώνα του Sebring ο McNish ανέβηκε στο ψηλότερο σκαλί του βάθρου τέσσερις φορές, ενώ ως νικητής από τον 24-ωρο αγώνα του Le Mans, έφυγε το 2008 και το 2013. Επίσης φέτος ανακηρύχθηκε και πρωταθλητής στο World Endurance Championship (WEC) της FIA.
Την περίοδο 2001-2003, ο McNish συμμετείχε στη Formula 1, αλλά αργότερα επέστρεψε στην Audi. Είναι ο μοναδικός οδηγός που έχει οδηγήσει όλα τα αγωνιστικά της Audi από το 2000 και μετά (R8R, R8, R10 TDI, R15 TDI, R18 TDI και R18 e-tron quattro). Έχει πάρει 29 νίκες, 18 pole positions, 17 ταχύτερους γύρους και 4 πρωταθλήματα, κάνοντάς τον, έναν από τους πιο επιτυχημένους οδηγούς της Audi που σίγουρα θα λείψει από πολλούς.
[Πηγή: Audi Motorsport]
Parting at the pinnacle: Audi driver Allan McNish ends LMP career
• Audi factory driver retires as World Champion and Le Mans winner • End of an exceptional career in top-caliber sport • Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: The end of a great career
Ingolstadt, December 17, 2013 One of the most successful and charismatic race drivers is leaving the grand stage of motorsport. A few days before his 44th birthday, Audi factory driver Allan McNish announced that he would not continue his active career in the 2014 season.
The Scotsman began his very successful racing career 32 years ago in karting. McNish achieved many of his greatest victories since the 2000 season with Audi most recently, the first World Championship title in his career at the wheel of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro. I found the ideal moment for myself to bring an end to my LMP sports-prototype racing with Audi, says McNish. Together with my team-mates Tom Kristensen and Loïc Duval I finished my most successful season in the sports car. Having also won the Le Mans 24 Hours, I cant wish for more than what weve achieved this year. I can look back on a fantastic career that has left no aims unfinished and Im looking forward to new challenges the future holds for me. Now Ill have a lot more time for my family. But Im going to continue to be part of motorsport in various roles, albeit no longer as an Audi race driver.
Allan McNish will remain in close contact with Audi Sport and contribute his knowledge. We appreciate and respect Allans decision to retire at the pinnacle of his career, says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. At the same time, this is a parting that is particularly difficult for us. All of us are well aware of Allans racing successes. We should not forget, though, how valuable he has been in the development of our race cars, how great a team player he has always been and how he has consistently applied himself to achieve Audis aims far beyond motorsport with professionalism, loyalty and commitment. We regret that Allan will no longer be contesting any races for us but are happy that he will continue to be associated with Audi Sport and the Audi brand.
In the 2000 season, Allan McNish in the Audi R8 won the American Le Mans Series for the first time. In 2006 and 2007, in the Audi R10 TDI, he again celebrated title wins in the North American sports car series. Four overall victories in the Sebring 12 Hours complement his track record in North America. Two of his three successes in the Le Mans 24 Hours he celebrated with Audi in 2008 and 2013. The early title win in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Shanghai (China) five weeks ago marked the pinnacle of the Scotsmans career, who had initially pursed a classic career in formula racing.
Except for the years of 2001 to 2003, when the racing pro with the physique of a jockey was active in Formula 1 as a test and race driver, he was competing for the four rings since 2000. He almost exclusively drove the companys sports cars and in 2005 he was additionally active in the DTM. He is the only driver to have raced all sports cars ever made in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, from the Audi R8R to the R8, R10 TDI, R15 TDI, R18 TDI models and the R18 ultra through to the R18 e-tron quattro. He has recorded 29 overall victories, 18 pole positions, 17 fastest race laps and four title wins in eleven years, which makes him one of the most successful Audi sports car drivers. Of course, were going to miss Allan in our driver line-up extremely, says Chris Reinke, Project Manager LMP at Audi Sport. But its typical of Allan that hes also found a perfect point in time to end his career.
REIGNING WORLD SPORTSCAR CHAMPION McNISH STEPS DOWN FROM “FACTORY” AUDI RACE PROGRAMME
Britain’s triple Le Mans 24 Hour race winner bows out on top after ultra-successful 32-year motorsport career
Britain’s Allan McNish will not defend his world sportscar title or bid for a fourth Le Mans 24 Hour race victory next year after deciding to conclude his sports-prototype racing career.
Triple Le Mans 24 Hour race winner McNish won the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship after scoring three wins, three second and one third placing in the eight race series in his hybrid-diesel Audi.
Dumfries-born McNish steps down from a race driving role with Audi Sport with immediate effect but will comprehensively assist the “factory” team that has won Le Mans 12 times since 1999 in various roles next year.
“I’ve had fantastically successful time with Audi and feel it’s the right time to step back from Le Mans sports-prototype racing and to look at other opportunities,” commented McNish.
“As a racing driver it’s important to stop [racing] at the right time when I’m still fast and capable of doing the job and the timing feels right after winning Le Mans for a third time this year and claiming the World title.
“This year especially was mega successful, teaming up withLoïc[Duval] for the first time andobviously with long-time co-driver Tom [Kristensen]. We’ve ticked all of the boxes and I ticked my personal ones too but now the time is right to hand over to the young guys.
“I’ve won the championships and races I wanted to win and frankly there’s no better way to end my Audi sportscar race career than going out as a World Champion.
“My fellow Scot and mentor Jackie Stewart knew when to get into things but also knew when to get out and he has taught me that lesson.”
McNish has contested 89 races since making his Audi sportscar debut in 2000 scoring 66 top-three “podiums” – including 29 outright race wins – for “factory” or “customer” Audi teams that also netted three American Le Mans Series titles.
“We appreciate and respect Allan’s decision to retire at the pinnacle of his career,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “At the same time, this is a parting that is particularly difficult for us. All of us are well aware of Allan’s racing successes.
“We should not forget, though, how valuable he has been in the development of our race cars, how great a team player he has always been and how he has consistently applied himself to achieve Audi’s aims far beyond motorsport with professionalism, loyalty and commitment. We regret that Allan will no longer be contesting any races for us but are happy that he will continue to be associated with Audi Sport and the Audi brand.”
Heralded as the world’s greatest sportscar driver in recent years, Monaco-based McNish won the Le Mans 24 Hour races in 1998, 2008 and this year – scoring a further six top-three “podiums” in his 14 attempts in the legendary French “marathon”.
He won the North American-based ALMS sportscar endurance title in 2000 – his debut season with Audi – and again in 2006 & ‘07. Other notable victories include four wins in both the Sebring 12 Hours and Petit Le Mans races plus second place in the Daytona 24 Hours on three occasions.
Allan continued: “I joined [Audi] in 2000 and immediately found that we each worked in the same way: you either won or lost. If we lost, then we solved the problem.
“Over the years I won three American Le Mans Series titles, four race wins at Sebring and at Petit Le Mans, scored two wins of my three Le Mans wins with Audi and have now won the World title.
“My success is not just down to me but comes as a result of a huge effort by Audi Sport who gave me the tools and my co-drivers to do the job right.
“There are some great new drivers coming through and they need an opportunity just like I did. I’m looking forward to being part of Audi Sport in the future to ensure that these young drivers have the same level of fun and success that I have enjoyed over the years.
“I celebrate my 44th birthday later this month and I’ve only ever been involved in racing to win. Winning is the sole reason I went racing and the investment of time, energy, mental and physical attention plus the sacrifices for my family can now be adjusted.”
Allan’s 33-year motor racing career has netted almost 80 wins – over 125 top-three “podiums” – and began in karting, winning three British and six Scottish championship titles between 1982-86, finishing third in the World Championship in 1985.
He won the 1988 Formula Vauxhall Lotus Championship and finished second in the 1989 British Formula Three Championship by a mere three points.
In Formula One, Allan had testing contracts with McLaren and Benetton (1990-96), Toyota (2000-02) – including a full F1 World Championship race season in 2002 – and Renault (2003).
McNish is a former winner of the Royal Automobile Club’s Segrave and Tourist Trophies while other awards include the British Racing Drivers’ Club’s ACO Plate (seven times), BRDC Silverstone-Le Mans Challenge (twice), Scottish Motor Racing Club’s Callands Trophy (twice), SMRC William Lyons Trophy (five times), SMRC John Romanes “Swift” Trophy (twice), SMRC Stewart Medal and SMRC Ecurie Ecosse “Hub Cap”. Allan, who celebrates his 44th birthday later this month (29 Dec), has been Honorary President of the Scottish Motor Racing Club since December 2007.