Allan McNish bids to get Audi's defence of the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) off to a flying start when the Scotsman makes his saloon car debut at Hockenheim on Sunday 17 April Allan McNish. Photo by ITR e.V.. The 35-year-old ...
Allan McNish bids to get Audi's defence of the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) off to a flying start when the Scotsman makes his saloon car debut at Hockenheim on Sunday 17 April
The 35-year-old Monaco-based Scotsman drives the latest "works" entered Audi A4 DTM in the 11-race series for the German manufacturer which scored five wins last year.
McNish, who has never raced a touring car in a 24-year motorsport career which saw the Dumfries-born race ace reach Formula One, is relishing the new challenge the cut-and-thrust 60-minute races will pose.
"In typical Audi fashion the new A4 DTM is an improvement over last year's championship-winning model and I'm sure it will give us a great chance of repeat success," commented Allan who also races for Audi in the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. "However, the competition is going to be tough but I can't wait to get to Hockenheim and get racing."
Audi returned to Europe's most popular touring car series with a "factory" entered team last year and wrapped up all three titles: Mattias Ekstr?m (Sweden) won the Drivers' title with Audi and Audi Sport Team Abt won the Manufacturers' and Teams' championships respectively.
McNish's former fellow ex-Grand Prix drivers Mika H?kkinen, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jean Alesi race in the DTM while Britons Gary Paffett and Jamie Green also compete in the series which, in addition to Germany, will also visit Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Turkey between April-October.
Allan added: "The wheel to wheel racing aspect of DTM was one of the things that attracted me to the series and now with such high quality drivers like Mattias, Tom and Mika I am sure it is going to be closer than ever."
McNish will drive one of four 2005-model A4 DTM cars entered by Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline alongside Ekstr?m, Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Martin Tomczyk (Germany). Audi Sport Team Joest looks after the quartet of year-old cars of Christian Abt (Germany), Rinaldo Capello (Italy), Pierre Kaffer (Germany) and Frank Stippler (Germany).
Unlike some of the 2005 DTM venues, the 2.84-mile Hockenheim track will be familiar to McNish. Having raced there for the first time in 1988 - alongside former team-mate H?kkinen in the Vauxhall-Lotus - Allan last raced there two years ago at the German Grand Prix.
"Nowadays Hockenheim is like many other tracks but it was mega back in 88 before they added slow chicanes and finally changed it completely," concluded McNish who drives an A4 sponsored by electronics giant Siemens.
The DTM aims to deliver spectacular but at the same time, cost-conscious touring car racing. Numerous components such as the gearbox, propshaft, engine electronics, rear wing and carbon-fibre brakes are identical and stipulated by the regulations to be used by all manufacturers while traction control is not permitted.
Regulations also dictate that all manufacturers use normally-aspirated 4-litre, V8 engines - the Audi A4 produces approximately 460-bhp. Meanwhile all competitors use Dunlop tyres while aerodynamics are also strictly governed to the extent that they cannot be changed once the season begins.