Dumfries-born Allan McNish competes in an official one-day test at Le Mans in France on Sunday (1 June).
1998 Le Mans winner McNish, 38, drives his diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI sportscar in two, four-hour sessions (9am-1pm & 2-6pm) around the 8.47-mile circuit comprising of closed public roads.
“The Le Mans circuit is made up of a permanent race circuit plus closed public roads and is unique in this respect,” commented McNish. “This fact alone makes the pre-test, the only time prior to Le Mans race week that we can drive on the track, very important in the final build-up.
“Not only is it a case of fine-tuning the cars to the track but it allows drivers to reacquaint themselves to the over eight mile Le Mans track.”
From an original entry of 88, 55-cars have been invited to take part in the Test Day with the aim of making it onto the grid for the 76th Le Mans 24 Hours staged on 14-15 June.
McNish, who will compete in his ninth Le Mans race aiming to become the first Briton to win driving a diesel-engined sportscar, has led the race for the past four years.
“It’s reported our competitor Peugeot will have a new aero package for Le Mans so we’ll take a keen interest in that. And although the lap times have no consequence on race week, it’s likely that teams will bolt on some softer tyres and simulate qualifying in the final 30mins, it’s purely for bragging rights.”
The Monaco-based Scotsman’s co-drivers are the same as the past two years with regular Le Mans Series co-pilot Dindo Capello (I) joined by Tom Kristensen (Den).
Frank Biela (D), Emanuele Pirro (I) and Marco Werner (D), who have won the race in their similar diesel-powered Audi for the past two years, drive together once again while a third “factory” entered Audi R10 TDI will be handled by Lucas Luhr (D), Mike Rockenfeller (D) and Alexandre Prémat (F).