Daytona 24: Allan McNish preview

Allan McNish focuses on a watching brief next weekend (26-27 Jan) when the Scotsman contests the Daytona 24 Hour endurance race in Florida. The 38-year-old sportscar ace aims to win the prestigious twice-around-the-clock marathon and earn...

Allan McNish focuses on a watching brief next weekend (26-27 Jan) when the Scotsman contests the Daytona 24 Hour endurance race in Florida.

The 38-year-old sportscar ace aims to win the prestigious twice-around-the-clock marathon and earn himself an exclusive wrist watch courtesy of race sponsor Rolex who present the victorious drivers with an eye-catching Rolex Oyster Perpetual Daytona Cosmograph timepiece.

McNish drives a Riley Pontiac prototype in a one-off appearance for the American SAMAX team having twice finished second in five previous attempts at Daytona glory.

The Dumfries-born driver shares the SAMAX Riley Pontiac with German duo Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller plus American Henri Zogaib.

"I know Lucas and Mike very well and what they're capable of while the SAMAX squad achieved second place in last year's corresponding race so it's a very competitive package and one that could earn me a very smart watch," confirmed the 1998 Le Mans 24 Hour race winner.

"A Daytona Prototype is a very different sportscar from the Audi R10 TDI that I normally drive. The SAMAX Riley Pontiac has less power, around 500bhp, a lot less grip, features steel disc brakes and not carbon ones I'm used to and also has a standard sequential gearshift and not the paddle shift I use in my hi-tec Audi. From a driving perspective, it's like moving back in time which took a little time to re-learn."

McNish drove the Riley Pontiac for the first time earlier this month at an official three-day test (4-6 Jan) in preparation for the 46th running of the Daytona event that features champions from all realms of motorsport worldwide.

"I was into a reasonable groove pretty quickly," added Allan. "Grand-Am is very much a restricted formula. There aren't any technical innovations, and no big manufacturer budgets allowed. This means you're basically all working with the same product.

"I think up to 10 Daytona Prototypes, including us, will be contenders for race honours come Sunday afternoon."

-credit: amPR

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Allan McNish , Lucas Luhr , Mike Rockenfeller , Henri Zogaib