Allan McNish gets an early opportunity to blow away the Christmas and Hogmanay cobwebs by taking to the race track for the “Roar Before The 24” Test Sessions at the Daytona International Speedway from Friday (4 Jan).
The Dumfries-born “factory” Audi Sport driver who will bid for a third Le Mans 24 Hour race victory in June, gets his race season underway, like last year, by contesting the Daytona 24 Hours at the end of January (26-27 Jan).
McNish will team-up with Sébastien Bourdais (France), Ryan Dalziel (Scotland) and Alex Popow (Venezuela) at the wheel of a Riley-Ford in a one-off race for the American Starworks Motorsport team.
“The Riley is a totally different car compared to the Audi R18 I raced last year,” commented McNish who flies to America on Thursday (3 Jan).
“So Friday will be about reacclimatising myself with the Riley for the first time since this year’s race 11 months ago. For example, I left foot brake in the Riley whereas I right foot brake in the R18.
“Another difference is for me to readjust to the fact I cannot ‘attack’ and ‘push’ into a corner like I can in the Audi due to the Riley’s lack of down force and grip – I have to be significantly more genteel when driving a Daytona Prototype car.
“Day two will be about starting to get on with the other particular parts of the team’s test programme. Ryan [Dalziel] and Alex [Popow] will do the majority of driving to find a good set-up as they both contested the entire Grand-Am series for Starworks last year so they have the most knowledge and experience of the car.”
McNish, who will be in Glasgow on 14 January for personal sponsor, Graham, has claimed second place on three previous occasions, including last year after finishing just 5.198secs behind the winning car.
Allan concluded: “The test also gives us an opportunity to monitor the opposition. However, we saw last year that some teams weren’t necessarily going at full speed.”
Source: Allan McNish