One of the most successful and charismatic race drivers is leaving the grand stage of motorsport. A few days before his 44th birthday, Audi factory driver Allan McNish announced that he would not continue his active career in the 2014 season.
The Scotsman began his very successful racing career 32 years ago in karting. McNish achieved many of his greatest victories since the 2000 season with Audi – most recently, the first World Championship title in his career at the wheel of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
“I found the ideal moment for myself to bring an end to my LMP sports-prototype racing with Audi," says McNish. “Together with my team-mates Tom Kristensen and LoÃ¯c Duval I finished my most successful season in the sports car. Having also won the Le Mans 24 Hours, I can’t wish for more than what we’ve achieved this year. I can look back on a fantastic career that has left no aims unfinished and I’m looking forward to new challenges the future holds for me. Now I’ll have a lot more time for my family. But I’m going to continue to be part of motorsport in various roles, albeit no longer as an Audi race driver."
Allan McNish will remain in close contact with Audi Sport and contribute his knowledge. “We appreciate and respect Allan’s decision to retire at the pinnacle of his career," says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “At the same time, this is a parting that is particularly difficult for us. All of us are well aware of Allan’s racing successes. We should not forget, though, how valuable he has been in the development of our race cars, how great a team player he has always been and how he has consistently applied himself to achieve Audi’s aims far beyond motorsport with professionalism, loyalty and commitment. We regret that Allan will no longer be contesting any races for us but are happy that he will continue to be associated with Audi Sport and the Audi brand."
In the 2000 season, Allan McNish in the Audi R8 won the American Le Mans Series for the first time. In 2006 and 2007, in the Audi R10 TDI, he again celebrated title wins in the North American sports car series. Four overall victories in the Sebring 12 Hours complement his track record in North America. Two of his three successes in the Le Mans 24 Hours he celebrated with Audi in 2008 and 2013. The early title win in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Shanghai (China) five weeks ago marked the pinnacle of the Scotsman’s career, who had initially pursed a classic career in formula racing.
Except for the years of 2001 to 2003, when the racing pro with the physique of a jockey was active in Formula 1 as a test and race driver, he was competing for the four rings since 2000. He almost exclusively drove the company’s sports cars and in 2005 he was additionally active in the DTM. He is the only driver to have raced all sports cars ever made in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, from the Audi R8R to the R8, R10 TDI, R15 TDI, R18 TDI models and the R18 ultra through to the R18 e-tron quattro. He has recorded 29 overall victories, 18 pole positions, 17 fastest race laps and four title wins in eleven years, which makes him one of the most successful Audi sports car drivers. “Of course, we’re going to miss Allan in our driver line-up extremely," says Chris Reinke, Project Manager LMP at Audi Sport. “But it’s typical of Allan that he’s also found a perfect point in time to end his career."