Audi’s Allan McNish aims to consolidate his FIA World Endurance Championship lead at the Circuit Of The Americas in Texas on Sunday, at the wheel of his diesel-hybrid racecar.
Dumfries-born McNish and co-drivers Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Loïc Duval (France) are heading to the 3.427-mile circuit in Austin with a 22-point lead having scored two wins and two second places.
“It’s important that Tom, Loïc and I score well in terms of the championship,” said McNish. “Audi has definitely taken the fight to Toyota this year winning every WEC so far this season but knowing the competition, they’ll be out to get revenge and so I’m sure the battle at the front is going to be strong, if not stronger than ever. Tom, Loic and I had the performance and the possibilities to win the last race in Brazil but a rare wheel issue took us out of contention. Audi goes to North America to continue its winning form over there which historically has been very successful and a great hunting ground for us.”
The Six Hour Race marks the first time the WEC has visited the Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) facility which only opened last year and unusually is a relatively unknown quantity for McNish.
“I’m looking forward to going to COTA. I have not raced there but those that have say the atmosphere is fantastic and also the circuit itself is absolutely tremendous. It has a lot of demanding qualities about it, for driver and car, said Allan. “The first section is high-speed with quick changes of direction, a long straight with a very tight and twisty final part that will require us to compromise on the car set-up.”
Marcel Fässler (CH)/André Lotterer (D)/Benoît Tréluyer (F) drive a second Audi Sport Team Joest R18. The defending WEC champions lie second in this year’s standings.
Although the R18 e-tron quattro won an American Le Mans Series race in the U.S. in March, the Austin race marks the first time Audi’s hybrid diesel has contested a WEC race Stateside. So far this year, Audi said the double Le Mans 24 Hour race winning R18 e-tron quattro is undefeated.
Former triple American Le Mans Series champion McNish is no stranger to racing in North America. Fifty-one ALMS race starts, 41 top-three finishes – including 20 outright and 28 class wins – 16 fastest race laps, and 12 pole-positions, the Scotsman completing just three full seasons in 2000, 2006 & ’07.
Meanwhile the last time McNish raced in Texas was in 2007 when he finished third – first in class – in Houston at the wheel of an Audi R10 TDI.