McNish’s Rolex Return
And Lammers Too
It definitely wasn’t a ‘done deal’ at the time
of the Daytona test days, but it’s definite now: Allan McNish
will be racing in the Rolex 24 this coming weekend, at the wheel
of the #2 Howard-Boss Motorsports Crawford Pontiac, with Danica
Patrick and Rusty Wallace.
The fourth driver
has been confirmed now too - Jan Lammers has been invited to join
the crew in #2. Support comes from Callaway Golf.
was probably a little ‘previous’ in announcing his partners
a couple of weeks ago (Boris Said was going to be the fourth driver,
but now isn’t), but it’s all confirmed now. McNish gets
his first try in a DP – and it’s his first time at the
Rolex 24 since 2001. He was just an interested spectator at the
event a year ago (left).
He set the fastest
lap of the race then (1:41.875), in the Risi Competizione Ferrari
333SP, but he, Ralf Kelleners, Eric van de Poele and David Brabham
retired with engine trouble after 15 and a half hours (462 laps).
It’s a very different race now.
the first time I’ve ever shared a racing car with a lady,”
says the Scot, “but Danica showed by leading the Indy 500
last year that she is very accomplished and talented - she could
be the ‘lucky charm’ I’ve previously been missing
“If we can steer clear of trouble and run consistent times,
we should be in the top-three by Sunday morning - after that it’s
flat out to the chequered flag.”
of trouble looks like being the key to success at this race, more
so than at any other 24 hour event – with over 70 cars likely
to start, over 30 of them being DPs.
“Avoiding contact when overtaking is the key,” continues
McNish, “you can pass most of the cars on the banking section,
either on the outside or inside, so you always have to stay alert
as to what the car ahead is doing.”
He confirms that he was “delighted to accept the drive once
I knew it didn’t conflict with any Audi plans.”
suggests that "traditionally the race is an exhausting battle,
predictions about the outcome are useless.”
be hard pushed to find two more experienced endurance racers than
McNish and Lammers to lead a line-up at Daytona - so we'll contradict
the Dutchman and predict that this entry, in its distinctive livery,
is a potential winner.
The Scot's next
race in North America, after Daytona, is expected to be the Sebring
12 Hours, in one of the Audi R10s. His first experience of a DP
will be on Thursday, at Daytona International Speedway. Jan Lammers
came close to being a Rolex winner last year, in one of the Crawfords
- but is a former double race winner of the event anyway, dating
back to a different era (1988 / 1990) at Daytona International Speedway.