Three-time Le Mans winner and triple ALMS champion Allan McNish has announced his retirement from the sport.
The news comes shortly after the 43-year-old Scot achieved his target by winning the FIA World Endurance Championship.
McNish’s long career includes a single season of F1 with Toyota in 2002, although he was also a F1 test driver for many years, notably with McLaren during the Honda era. Since that time, he has been a key player at Audi, and will continue to work for the German automaker.
“I’ve had fantastically successful time with Audi and feel it’s the right time to step back from Le Mans sports-prototype racing and to look at other opportunities,” said McNish.
“As a racing driver it’s important to stop [racing] at the right time when I’m still fast and capable of doing the job and the timing feels right after winning Le Mans for a third time this year and claiming the World Title.
“This year especially was mega successful, teaming up with Loïc [Duval] for the first time and, obviously, with longtime co-driver Tom [Kristensen]. We’ve ticked all of the boxes and I ticked my personal ones, too, but now the time is right to hand over to the young guys.
“I’ve won the championships and races I wanted to win and, frankly, there’s no better way to end my Audi sportscar race career than going out as a World Champion.
“My fellow Scot and mentor, Jackie Stewart, knew when to get into things, but also knew when to get out, and he has taught me that lesson.
“I celebrate my 44th birthday later this month, and I’ve only ever been involved in racing to win. Winning is the sole reason I went racing, and the investment of time, energy, mental and physical attention plus the sacrifices for my family can now be adjusted.”
Although he’s achieved a great deal over the years, his spell with Audi has been a big part of his career.
“I joined [Audi] in 2000 and immediately found that we each worked in the same way: you either won or lost,” McNish said. “If we lost, then we solved the problem. Over the years I won three American Le Mans Series titles, four race wins at Sebring and at Petit Le Mans, scored two wins of my three Le Mans wins with Audi and have now won the World Title.
“My success is not just down to me but comes as a result of a huge effort by Audi Sport who gave me the tools and my co-drivers to do the job right. There are some great new drivers coming through and they need an opportunity just like I did. I’m looking forward to being part of Audi Sport in the future to ensure that these young drivers have the same level of fun and success that I have enjoyed over the years.”Allan McNish, ALMS, Audi, FIA WEC, Sports Cars