Allan McNish is back at the Daytona 24 Hours after four years away. There's no surprise there, perhaps, given the dusting of star names right through the entry list. Except if you were present for his parting statement back in 2008: "If I ever talk about coming back to Daytona, please shoot me."
The Audi driver, who is making his return in the lead Starworks Riley-Ford Daytona Prototype, didn't have a great time on the last of his six appearances at the 24 Hours. There were any number of reasons why it wasn't a great experience for him, not least that the SAMAX Riley he was driving wasn't fully competitive, was beset by problems through the race and went out early with engine failure.
That disappointment was quickly forgotten, McNish now reveals. So much so that he has signed up with the same team owner he drove for in '08. Peter Baron returned to team ownership with Starworks in 2010 after a year on the sidelines in the wake of the demise of SAMAX.
"I subsequently found out after Daytona in 2008 that a lot of the things that happened that shouldn't have happened weren't Peter's fault," explains McNish.
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Gary Watkins has, for reasons best known to himself, devoted all his working life to covering sportscar racing. This season is his 25th as a motorsport journalist, during which time he has reported on major long-distance events on four continents and approaching 60 24-hour races. He reckons a degree in political philosophy makes him well qualified for covering the sometimes Machiavellian world of international sportscars.
Gary, who also writes for RACER, Autoweek, Motor Sport, Autocourse and others, lives in Surbiton but spends more time on the road than at home for most of the year.