Road Atlanta: Allan McNish preview

Audi ace Allan McNish will attempt to kick start his Intercontinental Le Mans Cup challenge in to action when the Scotsman bids to score his fifth Petit Le Mans race victory at Road Atlanta on Saturday (2 Oct). McNish believes the 1,000-mile...

Audi ace Allan McNish will attempt to kick start his Intercontinental Le Mans Cup challenge in to action when the Scotsman bids to score his fifth Petit Le Mans race victory at Road Atlanta on Saturday (2 Oct).

McNish believes the 1,000-mile race will be the perfect launch pad to putting Audi in the driving seat for ILMC honours at a venue that has witnessed nine race wins since the German manufacturer's debut in 2000.

Indeed the 40-year-old Dumfries-born driver's record in the annual sportscar endurance race is mightily impressive with four wins (2000, 06-08), two personal pole-position starts and three fastest laps around the fast and undulating 2.54-mile circuit located 50-miles northwest of Atlanta.

"I'm really looking forward to Petit -- it's a race that I love," confirmed McNish. "The circuit suits my style because it is very fast and flowing and you need to be aggressive. It's always an intense race which will see us [Audi] renewing our battle with Peugeot which gives us something to get our teeth into."

In addition to McNish seeking to overturn Audi's opening ILMC race defeat at Silverstone earlier this month (12 Sep), the former double Le Mans 24 Hour race winner will also be out to erase the huge disappointment of last year's Petit Le Mans race.

Allan added: "Dindo [Capello] and I led for the opening four hours but I then spun and dropped to third moments before the race went in to a Safety Car period as the rain intensified. It was ultimately stopped with almost five hours run and we then waited for almost another four hours to see whether the conditions improved but quite rightly the organisers decided not to re-start the event which left us in third-place. It was a disappointing way for the race to end but I felt robbed and frustrated at the time."

McNish and Capello (Italy) will be joined by Tom Kristensen (Denmark), the same trio of drivers who have lined-up together at Le Mans since 2006, in a "factory" Audi R15 TDI powered by a 5.5-litre, V10 twin turbo diesel engine, with the "sister" Audi Sport Team Joest R15 TDI piloted by Marcel Fassler (CH)/Andre Lotterer (D)/Benoît Treluyer (F).

"There will be over 100,000 fans in attendance packed in to a tight, close arena that is the Road Atlanta circuit. In 2007 Dindo and I beat Porsche by 0.923 seconds -- after 1,000 miles of racing! In 2008 we beat Peugeot by 4.512 seconds.

"Dindo and I have some scores to settle while Tom [Kristensen] is eager to be heading back to Atlanta. It should be a cracking race."

The two Audi R15 TDI sports cars (chassis numbers 202 and 203) were flown to the United States last week so as to take advantage of a two-day test at Road Atlanta on Sunday (26 Sep) and Monday (27 Sep). Audi Sport Team Joest's main aim is to optimally set up the R15 plus with its new aerodynamics package for this circuit.

Qualifying is staged on Friday (2050hr UK time) for grid positions on the 45-car grid, the largest ALMS race entry for over seven years, with the 1,000-mile race starting at 1615hr (UK time) on Saturday.

-source: allan mcnish PR/mp

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Andre Lotterer , Tom Kristensen , Allan McNish , Marcel Fassler