McNish bows out from his leading role at Audi Sport at the top of his game
The 43-year-old Scottish driver has won the World Endurance Car Championship this year
McNish joined Audi's racing team in 2000
The announcement means McNish will not race in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans
At the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans, McNish's Audi R18 hit the barriers and rolled, prompting his retirement from the race
However, McNish returned to form in 2013, winning the race alongside fellow drivers Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval
Overall, McNish has had 29 wins in the WEC championship series
The Scot has also held 13 pole positions in the series, and finished inside the top three 66 times
It's unclear who Audi will choose to replace McNish in its Le Mans driver lineup
McNish will now step back to allow younger drivers a chance in the hot seat
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."