Allan McNish bids to become ..

the first Briton to drive a diesel engined sportscar to victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours next weekend (14-15 June) – a race the Scotsman believes will be a “Battle of the Titans”.

The 38-year-old Scotsman competes in a “factory” entered Audi R10 TDI for a third consecutive year aiming to record the German manufacturer’s eighth Le Mans victory since their début in 1999 – 10 years after McNish scored his previous win in the French classic.

The 76th Le Mans 24 Hours features 55-cars battling for honours around the 8.47-mile circuit comprising of closed public roads with McNish predicting a twice-around-the-clock duel from start-to-finish between Audi and Peugeot.

“Peugeot will be our main competition and I believe it’s going to be a fierce, had-to-head battle from green light to chequered flag,” confirmed McNish.

“It’s likely to a ferocious encounter, three cars apiece from the Audi and Peugeot ‘factory’ teams, a confrontation the likes of which in my opinion not witnessed at Le Mans for 10 years. Audi has a fast, economical, consistent and reliable car we know works in all weather conditions. The team can always be relied upon for a canny race strategy and a group of mechanics who I believe are the very best.   

“Le Mans is such a special, unique race, and once you’ve tasted victory there only an outright win can bring complete satisfaction. Since my victory in 1998, I’ve stood on the podium a further three times which itself is a real achievement, twice for finishing third over the past two years, but it’s that very top step I want to stand on again.”

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).

Allan added: “Dindo, Tom and I return to Le Mans this year with unfinished business. Our car dominated the race for almost 17 hours until a wheel nut problem caused Dindo to crash when we were over three laps ahead of the field.

“The three of us have a lot of adrenalin, a lot of emotion and a lot of focus and we’re determined to finish the job that we started so well last year.”

Audi has won the annual Le Mans race for the past two year’s with its turbocharged diesel-engined R10 TDI. Last year’s winning Audi spent less than 24minutes stationary during its 36 pit-stops, completing a record distance of 3,125 miles and at an average speed of 129.96mph. The amount of full-throttle per lap is 75% each lap while the Audi R10 TDI exceeds 200mph at four points around the circuit.

A so-called “full service” including refuelling, tyres and driver change takes around 40 seconds. If a tyre change is left out around 15 seconds are saved. The Audi R10 TDI manages twelve laps on average with a full tank of fuel. This means that the driver must return to the pits for refuelling almost every 45 minutes.

Allan continued: “Le Mans nowadays is a 24 hour sprint and is effectively a 17-race Formula One Grand Prix season undertaken with the same car and engine and completed at around the same average speed over a similar distance.”

2006 & ‘07 Le Mans winners Frank Biela (D), Emanuele Pirro (I) and Marco Werner (D) pilot the number 1 Audi with a third R10 TDI handled by Mike Rockenfeller (D), Lucas Luhr (D), and Alexandre Prémat (F) as in 2007.

The three Audi R10 TDI prototypes will race for the first time with the next generation of Biofuel. Biomass to Liquids (BTL) has now been blended into the Shell V-Power Diesel race fuel that Audi has used to win the annual French endurance race for the past two years (2006 & ’07). This year’s race marks the first time a second-generation biofuel has been used in the Le Mans race. Shell V-Power Diesel also includes synthetic GTL (Gas to Liquids) Fuel made by Shell from natural gas, which provides very clean and efficient combustion.

Audi at Le Mans #1         Frank Biela (D) / Emanuele Pirro (I) / Marco Werner (D)#2         Allan McNish (GB) / Dindo Capello (I) / Tom Kristensen (Den)#3         Lucas Luhr (D) / Mike Rockenfeller (D) / Alexandre Prémat (F)

TimetableTuesday 10 June1410-1440         Scrutineering for #1 Audi1420-1450         Scrutineering for #2 Audi1430-1500         Scrutineering for #3 Audi

Wednesday 11 June1900-2100         1st Qualifying Session – Part 1   2200-0000         1st Qualifying Session – Part 2

Thursday 12 June1900-2100         2nd Qualifying Session – Part 1   2200-0000         2nd Qualifying Session – Part 2

Friday 13 June1400-1500         Audi Press Conference, Audi Racing Arena, Parc du Raccordement1800-1900         Drivers’ parade (city centre)  

Saturday 14 June0900-0945         Warm-up   1500                 Start of 76th Le Mans 24 Hours

Sunday 15 June1500                 Finish of 76th Le Mans 24 Hours* All times above are local and are local and are +1hr BST

Allan McNish Biography . . .Allan McNish (GB). Age: 38. Born: Dumfries, Scotland. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco. Married to Kelly, one son (Finlay, 3yrs)1981-82 Kart1983 British Kart Champion1985 3rd Kart World Championship1986 British Kart Champion1987 2nd Formula Ford 1600 Championship1988 1st Formula Opel Lotus1989 2nd British Formula 3 Championship1990 4th International Formula 3000 Championship, Formula 1 test driver1991-2 Formula 1 test driver, Int. Formula 3000 Championship1993 Formula 1 test driver1994 Formula 1 test driver, Int. Formula 3000 Championship1995 Int. Formula 3000 Championship1996 Formula 1 test driver1997 Won three sportscar races in USA1998 1st Le Mans 24 Hours, 5th FIA GT Championship1999 24 Hours of Le Mans, 2nd in 24 Hours of Daytona2000 1st American Le Mans Series (Audi R8)2001 Formula 1 test driver, 24 Hours of Daytona2002 Formula 12003 Formula 1 test driver2004 2nd Le Mans Endurance Series (Audi R8): 1st Nürburgring 1,000km and 1st Silverstone 1,000km (Audi R8). 1st Sebring 12 Hours (Audi R8)2005 3rd Le Mans Endurance Series (Audi R8). 1st Silverstone; 2nd Nurburgring & Istanbul 1,000km (Audi R8). 2nd Sebring 12 Hours (Audi R8). German Touring Car Masters (Audi A4DTM)2006 1st American Le Mans Series (Audi R8 & Audi R10 TDI): 7 outright/8 LM P1 class wins (from 10 races). 3rd Le Mans 24 Hours. British Racing Drivers’ Club / Automobile Club de l'Ouest Trophy and Scottish Motor Racing Club's William Lyons Trophy winner. 2007 1st American Le Mans Series (Audi R10 TDI): 3 outright wins/9 LM P1 wins (from 12 races).2008 Currently 3rd in Le Mans Series (Audi R10 TDI)

Allan McNish at Le Mans (ninth career appearance in 24 Hours):1997 Roock Racing Porsche 911 GT1. Qualified: 11th. Race: Retired Retired due to accident damage after 30mins.

1998 Porsche AG Porsche 911 GT1-98. Qualified: 5th (AM). Race: 1st  Led opening five hours building almost a one lap lead. Water pipe split after 14hrs losing 30mins for repairs. Swapped lead with Toyota GT1 around pit stops until it retired with 75mins to run.

1999 Toyota Motorsports Toyota GT-One. Qualified: 2nd. Race: RetiredLed initially then traded lead with BMW for next 12hrs until co-driver Boutsen retired after accident with backmarker.

2000 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R8. Qualified: 1st (AM). Race: 2nd + Fastest Lap (AM)Led for opening 6hrs but lost over 6mins when rear section changed after almost 7hrs due to gear shift problems. Two pit-stops (losing almost 5mins) with rear diffuser problems after 9hrs, 2mins lost when front brake disc/pad changed after 17hrs

2004 Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx Audi R8. Qualified: 2nd (AM). Race: 5thLed early stages but Allan crashed at high-speed on oil after two hours. Although suffering no injuries and declared physically fit, he was advised by race officials not to take any further part in the race. Two pit-stops for repairs cost 75mins.

2005 Champion Racing Audi R8. Qualified: 3rd (AM). Race: 3rd  Led after 2½ hrs but lost 3mins with a pit-stop for repairs after 3½ hrs when Pirro slid off at slow speed following a Safety Car period. Allan cashed out of 2nd approaching two-thirds distance when tyre delaminated. 4mins lost getting out of gravel trap and a further 18mins to repair the front suspension.

2006 Audi Sport Audi R10 TDI.   Qualified: 1st. Race: 3rd Led most of the opening three hours. After 3½ hours, right bank of injectors were changed (losing 21 mins), 11mins lost for suspension repairs after Capello contacted backmarker, a further 19mins for additional repairs and another 15mins to change turbo.

2007 Audi Sport Audi R10 TDI.   Qualified: 2nd (AM). Race: Retired Led from the first corner on the opening lap, dominated the race for over 16½ hours, led by over three laps but left rear wheel came off at Indianapolis Corner at around 150mph with co-driver Dindo Capello at the wheel causing instant retirement.

Audi R10 TDI at a glance . . .V12 5.5-litre diesel engine, twin-turbochargers, producing over 650hp (over 1100 Newton metres torque). 5-speed sequential gearbox, rear-wheel-drive, 925kg, fuel tank capacity 81 litres (17.82 gallons) of Shell BTL Diesel fuel.

Audi at Le Mans . . .Made race début in 1999 (finishing 3rd & 4th). Has since won on seven occasions (2000-2, 2004 & 2005 with the petrol-engined Audi R8 and in 2006 & ‘07 with diesel-engined Audi R10 TDI).

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