from Sportscars to DTM with Audi
Allan McNish will race
for defending German Touring Car Masters (DTM) champions Audi in
next year's series. The Monaco-based Scotsman makes his début in
the powerful, ultra-competitive touring car series which will
feature fellow ex-Formula One drivers Mika Häkkinen, Jean Alesi
and Heinz-Harald Frentzen.
Dumfries-born McNish, 35 next month, has been selected to drive
the new generation A4 DTM car along with 2004 DTM champion
Mattias Ekström (Sweden), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Martin
Tomczyk (Germany). Meanwhile Christian Abt (Germany), Rinaldo
Capello (Italy), Pierre Kaffer (Germany) and Frank Stippler
(Germany) will race the current 2004 A4 DTM model which was
confirmed at the Essen Motor Show in Germany today (25
McNish commented: "The DTM has got a very high pedigree of
drivers, some from Formula One like Mika, plus some unfamiliar
faces for me like Britain's Gary Paffett but no matter anyone's
background, there is not one person racing who wants to finish
second. DTM will be new territory for me but having visited the
championship finale this year I can confirm the racing is very
fast and furious. I will give 100% but being a DTM `new boy', I
am not going to make any predictions."
1998 Le Mans 24 Hours winner McNish returned to Audi this year
after three years in Formula One having won the 2000 American Le
Mans Series title with the German manufacturer. Allan scored
three victories for Audi UK's sportscar endurance team this
season, finishing second in the inaugural Le Mans Endurance
"I enjoy working with Audi and their clear and decisive
mentality suits me," continued McNish. "Additionally, many
people from the ultra-successful Audi R8 programme are also
involved in the DTM project. When I came back from F1 I wanted
to return to Le Mans and Audi after driving for them in 2000.
There were many reasons but the two important ones were they
know how to win and we work well together."
McNish has never previously raced a modern era saloon or touring
car but does not see this as a handicap. Six-times Le Mans 24
Hours race winner Tom Kristensen contested the DTM for the first
time this season, scoring one win and fourth place in the final
championship standings for Audi.
Allan added: "It is not going to be easy for me and I am going
to have to learn the tricks of the trade but I watched Tom's [Kristensen]
progress this year coming from a similar background and he was
"I am really excited about this programme and can't wait to
start. I still get the same feeling now as when I started
karting almost 25 years ago and combining that passion with hard
work and effort from myself and the team I know we can be
In addition to Audi's Mattias Ekström winning the 2004 DTM
Drivers' "crown", Audi and Audi Sport Team Abt claimed the
Manufacturers' and Teams' titles respectively in a year which
saw Audi running two "factory" teams for its 460-bhp A4 model.
Teams Abt and Joest will again prepare the Audis in 2005.
The DTM regularly attracts over 100,000 spectators at each race
and is likely to visit the Netherlands, Belgium, France and
Turkey as well as Germany next season.