We all know racing drivers are a different breed, able to drive flat-out without raising their pulse and shake off massive accidents in moments, but few have the eloquence to put into words just what makes them tick.
That accusation can’t be levelled at Audi’s Allan McNish, who is renowned not just as one of the fastest drivers in endurance racing, but also as the most able to put into words the extraordinary life he leads.
This week he heads to Le Mans driving an e-tron Audi Quattro, looking to be the first driver of a hybrid car to win the event, and in the build up we’ll bring you a series of candid insights from him. Today’s topic is retirement – not something he’s considering, but something he has an insight into.
Last year, while fighting for the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours, McNish clipped a backmarker and was fired across a gravel trap, into a tyre barrier and then through the air. “It was like being in a tumble dryer,” he smiles, recalling the dizzying series of pirouettes before he thumped back down to the ground, car destroyed.
It’s mark of the man that his first instinct was to try to fire the engine of his smashed car – and that, even aged 42 and with two Le Mans wins, three American Le Mans Series wins, a wife, kids and enough years in top teams and Monaco living to have earned well, that he never thought of giving up driving.