Audi confirms McNish will cease driving for its Audi Sport team immediately, as the driver steps back to allow younger drivers to take up the reins
Darren Moss
17 December 2013

Allan McNish will cease racing for Audi Sport with immediate effect.

The announcement means the 43-year-old Scottish driver will not race for the team in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans race, which he won last year alongside Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval. The move effectively ends McNish's career in sports prototype racing.

McNish started his racing career in go-karting in 1981, before progressing into the Formula Ford 1600 Championship in 1987. In 1988, he was named Autosport Club Driver of the Year, having moved to the Formula Opel Lotus Euroseries. 

McNish joined the Formula One circuit in 1991 as a test driver for McLaren, before becoming a reserve driver with Benetton for the 1993 season. He completed his first 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998, and returned two years later to place second, racing with Audi Sport.

Having joined Toyota to race in the 2002 F1 season, it was another two years before McNish returned to Le Mans with Audi, where he placed 5th. McNish placed 3rd in both the 2005 and 2006 Le Mans races, but had to retire from the 2007 event.

The 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans saw McNish finish first overall, while the 2009 and 2010 events again saw him place 3rd in both races. Having been forced to retire from the 2011 event following a collision, McNish placed 2nd in the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans, but again triumphed in 2013, winning the race as part of Audi Sport Team Joest and going on to claim the World Endurance Car Championship at the end of the season.

Speaking about his decision, McNish said: "I feel the time is right for me to step back and to put the helmet on the side and to look at other opportunities. 

"I've always said I wanted to stop at the right time, when it was right for me and also when I was still fast and capable to do the job. This year was a mega successful one, it ticked all of the boxes.

"There's been a lot of fun and success on the way, but now it's over to the young guys. There's a great new crop of drivers coming through. They need to get their seat time to show what they can do.

"There's many reasons why drivers decide that they want to step back. From my point of view I've stated that I want to go out when I'm still at the top. I've only been involved in racing to win, and to win is the reason why we go racing.

"There is nothing better than going out as the world champion."

Audi Motorsport boss Dr Wolfgang Ullrich said: "We appreciate and respect Allan’s decision to retire at the pinnacle of his career. 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 his professionalism, loyalty and commitment."

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Comments
5

17 December 2013
I wonder if there's a role somewhere in the paddock for an experienced head like McNish to apply his knowledge.

17 December 2013
Which team...?,he can drive a car, but can he man manage?.

Peter Cavellini.

17 December 2013
He has achieved more than most will in an incredible career. I had the privelidge of seeing him race at Le Mans the last two years, it seems a good time to retire after winning Le Mans again and securing a WEC title.

Calling his retirement from the 2011 race 'a collision' somewhat understates the size of that crash though!

17 December 2013
A good racing driver and certainly one of the best sportscar racing has seen. However, he was very rarely a team-player, which is what sportscar racing is about, and he was often very critical of something or someone else and not often accepting responsibility for his actions (I'm even not sure he admitted the massive 2011 Le mans crash he was involved in was his fault). Not great personal credentials if he wants to move on to management or something similar.

17 December 2013
A pedant writes: ...er, 'reins', not 'reigns'. Other than that I agree with Lanehogger, he was a patently quick driver but that accident at LeMans was so blatantly his fault it beggars belief. I'm not a fan of that level of arrogance.

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