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Allan McNish will be hoping for “home” rule when the Briton contests the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone on Sunday (26 Aug).
The Dumfries-born driver jointly leads the eight-race WEC by 6.5pts with co-driver Tom Kristensen (Denmark) from Audi Sport team-mates Marcel Fässler (CH)/André Lotterer (D)/Benoît Tréluyer (F).
McNish shares a diesel-engined Audi R18 ultra with Kristensen and is determined to claim a maximum points haul before the series moves onto races in Brazil, Bahrain, Japan and China.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back to racing after a couple of months out since Le Mans and there is no better place for me than at Silverstone,” commented McNish.
“This track has been very important to me ever since my first car race. I was on pole for that race back in 1987 and enjoyed many victories in other ‘junior’ formulas and more recently sportscars with Audi.”
McNish is a winner of the corresponding Silverstone Six Hour race on three occasions. While he only gets the opportunity to race at Britain’s Grand Prix venue once a year nowadays, McNish raced frequently at Silverstone earlier in career – the first time in March 1987.
Having posted fourth (Spa Six Hours) and second (Le Mans 24 Hours) placings in the last two WEC races, McNish is intent on returning to winning ways which got his title assault off to a flying start in the Sebring 12 Hours (USA) five months ago.
Allan added: “I’ve started the corresponding race from the front row of the grid for the last two years only for little niggles to frustrate us in each race but those are in the past now.
“Tom [Kristensen] and I are leading the WEC driver’s championship so we are very eager for the Silverstone race and the opportunity to increase our points advantage.”
The McNish/Kristensen R18 ultra is powered by a conventional V6 turbocharged diesel engine delivering around 510hp through the rear wheels while the R18 e-tron quattro, piloted by 2011 & ’12 Le Mans 24 Hour race winning trio Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer,benefits briefly from an extra near 200hp, transmitted only through its front axle above 75mph at four specific “zones” around Silverstone’s 3.67-mile Grand Prix track, using power “harvested” under braking from the 50metre board at corners three, six, 15 and 16.
McNish continued: “Silverstone is a tricky circuit. It is fast featuring awkward corners, like Copse, Maggots, Becketts, Stowe – even the new first corner is fast – but then there are some slow sections. The new section is tricky because you come from very high speed and suddenly the car has got to work in really tight corners.
“Our Audi R18 ultra is primarily designed for fast, sweeping 180mph corners at Le Mans rather than 40mph turns but that is an element us drivers and our engineers must adapt the car to.
“The competition with Toyota will increase with each race and I think they will be extremely strong at Silverstone. They came out of Le Mans with a lot of positive feeling, knowing they are competitive, they will be trying very hard to ensure that they give us a run for our money and I am very sure they will.”
Practice begins on Friday (1130-1300 & 1600-1730) with qualifying for the anticipated 35-car entry on Saturday (1520-1540). The race begins at 1200 on Sunday (26 Aug).
2012 FIA World Endurance Championship (after 3 rounds)
Driver’s: 1st Allan McNish (GB)/Tom Kristensen (DEN)/Dindo Capello (ITA), 77pts. 2ndMarcel Fässler (CH)/André Lotterer (D)/Benoît Tréluyer (F), 70.5pts. 3rd Romain Dumas (F)/Loïc Duval (F), 67pts. LMP1 Manufacturers': 1st Audi, 103pts.
Audi Silverstone 6 Hours (or 1,000km) Formguide (Début: 2000 – 8 podiums including 3 wins from 7 races)
2000: 3rd (McNish/Capello) Audi R8R. Also 5th (Biela/Pirro).
2004*: 1st (McNish/Kaffer) Audi R8. Also 2nd (Ara/Capello) & 3rd (Davies/Herbert).
2005*: 1st (McNish/Ortelli) Audi R8.
2008: 1st (McNish/Capello) Audi R10 TDI. Also 4th (Premat/Rockenfeller).
2009*: 5th (Albers/Bakkerud) Audi R10 TDI. Also 6th (Karthikeyan/Meyrick/Zwolsman).
2010: 3rd (Bernhard/Capello) Audi R15 TDI.
2011: 2nd (Bernhard/Fässler) Audi R18 TDI. Also 6th (McNish/Kristensen).
Allan McNish Silverstone 6 Hours (or 1,000km) Formguide (Sportscar début: 2000 – 4 podiums including 3 wins from 6 races). In addition to racing sportscars at Silverstone, Allan has also raced Formulae Ford, Vauxhall Lotus, Three, 3000 & One at the British venue.
2000: 3rd (Qualified 4th, AM).
Shared lead for over half the race but R8R, marking first UK appearance of an Audi sportscar, broke rear suspension on last lap.
2004*: 1st (Qualified 3rd, AM).
Comfortable victory earning R8 first win on its UK race debut.
2005*: 1st (Qualified 4th, AM).
Opening lap half-spin & pit-lane exit “hold” fails to prevent last-gasp victory in a rain-effected race.
2008: 1st (Qualified 3rd, AM).
R10 TDI marked first UK appearance of a diesel-engined Audi sportscar and a two-lap winning margin. Contact with another car sent Capello into gravel trap at Copse with just over 1hr on clock dropping to 19th after pit-stop to change punctured tyre.
2010: Retired (Qualified 1st, AM).
McNish achieved R15 TDI’s maiden “pole”, his first pole in three years and his first at Silverstone since 1990 but differential problem 30mins into race when placed second caused first R15 TDI retirement due to a technical failure, the first for Audi Sport Team Joest in over four years and the first for McNish since him becoming an Audi driver in 2000.
2011: 6th (Qualified 2nd, AM).
Collision with slower GT car in opening hour cost six laps for repairs and dropped to 44th.
* Denotes “customer” team