Allan McNish Daytona 24H pre-event notes

Scotsman to blow away winter "blues" in twice-around-the-clock Rolex marathon Allan McNish contests the Daytona 24 Hours this month (26-27 Jan) aiming for his maiden outright victory in the prestigious endurance sportscar race in ...

Scotsman to blow away winter "blues" in twice-around-the-clock Rolex marathon

Allan McNish contests the Daytona 24 Hours this month (26-27 Jan) aiming for his maiden outright victory in the prestigious endurance sportscar race in Florida.

McNish, who celebrated his 38th birthday recently (29 Dec), has twice finished second in the annual race (1998 & '99) but believes driving the SAMAX Riley Pontiac in his sixth Daytona could earn him the one "blue riband" sportscar race win currently missing from the Scotsman's already impressive career.

"I am pleased to join SAMAX Motorsport for the Daytona 24 Hours, the team have proven their worth in the Grand-Am series and especially in this race, which kicks off the Grand-Am season, when they achieved second place overall last year," confirmed McNish.

The Audi "factory" driver competes in the Le Mans 24 Hours in June, 10 years after winning the French classic, but does not have any clashing commitments for the German manufacturer which allows him to contest the Daytona race.

Indeed the triple American Le Mans Series champion is joined by fellow Audi "works" drivers Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller at Daytona in the SAMAX Riley Pontiac plus American Henri Zogaib.

Allan added: "We have a strong driver line-up with my Audi team-mates Lucas and Mike along with Henri. The speed and reliability of the Riley Pontiac plus the strong technical back-up from the SAMAX team all combine to make me very optimistic that we will be challenging for victory.

"I have personally always enjoyed this race. I have already enjoyed some great results there having finished second overall on two occasions and winning the GT1 category [1998].

"There will be a large but quality field in this year's race. Daytona is the perfect 'warm up' in readiness for my new season with Audi. Additionally, the Rolex Daytona wrist watch awarded to the race winner is something I've had my eye on for a while."

McNish is testing the SAMAX Riley Pontiac for the first time (4-6 Jan) in readiness for the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. The demanding 3.56-mile track comprises a high-speed banked oval circuit combined with an infield section. The 46th running of the Daytona 24 Hours begins at 1830 (GMT) on Saturday 26 January.

-credit: amPR

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Series GRANDAM