McNish targets sportscar world title

Double Le Mans 24-Hours winner Allan McNish has admitted he would love to become the first sportscar world champion when the new series is launched, as expected, next year.

The 40-year-old from Dumfries has given his full backing to plans by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, which organises the French endurance classic race in June, to launch a new world championship for prototype LMP1 sportscars.

McNish, who won with Porsche in the Nineties before becoming the the first Briton to drive a diesel-engined sportscar to victory at Le Mans with Audi in 2008, was speaking at the Autosport International in Birmingham today.

“In 2011 the ACO’s idea is to roll out a kind of world championship, and with the suggestion of a few other manufacturers coming on board, I can see that being a very, very good programme,” McNish, also president of the Scottish Motor Racing Club, said.

“With more non-manufacturer teams now able to fight out the Le Mans Series championship and the American Le Mans Series championship, it frees up the manufacturers to go into this global branding programme.”

McNish, a triple American Le Mans champion and who will again lead Audi’s assault at Le Mans in June, will also contest the ACO’s new Le Mans Intercontinental Cup this year.

The three-race series encompasses the 1000kms at Silverstone, the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, and a yet to be decided event in Asia.

And with everything in place for the ACO to expand the championship for 2011, McNish — acknowledged as the world’s fastest sportscar racer —  admitted he would dearly love to fight for a fully-fledged world championship.

“I have won, thankfully, all the major races in sportscar racing, I have won three American Le Mans Series titles, but I’d love to have a crack at a world title,” the Scot said.

“As a racing driver, when you go to your retirement home, it’s always nice if you’ve got that chance to have world champion against your name in any category. It is a fantastic opportunity if it can develop as they hope; and obviously I’d love to be world champion.”


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