McNish ready for Toyota challenge

Allan McNish says his age will count in his favour as he attempts to break into Formula 1 with Toyota.

McNish ready for Toyota challenge

The popular Scot, who will be 31 when Toyota make their debut in 2002, McNish has been signed for three years by the Japanese engine giant but so far the deal is only for testing.

"This is the best opportunity I have ever had," he said as Toyota unveiled their F1 programme at the Belgian Grand Prix.

"I just needed that little extra nudge to get a Formula 1 drive but it never came and my career lost a little momentum. It took a while to refocus and get the momentum back.

He believes that his age - close to 10 years older than the age many drivers reach Formula 1 - will be an advantage.

And he has been told as much by Britain's last champion, Damon Hill, who was the same age when he made his debut with Brabham in 1992.

"Damon said coming in at such an age made him better equipped to cope," said McNish. "I feel the same."

McNish was touted as one of Britain's best F1 hopes when he landed a testing contract with McLaren in 1991.

Despite a second testing season at McLaren and two at Benetton he has never got the big break and instead built a career in sportscars, winning Le Mans in 1998.

Now in his fifth year of F1 testing he is one of the most experienced drivers never to have raced in a Grand Prix.

"I never really thought about giving it up. Drivers never think about giving up racing until they die because they are always looking where the next opportunity might come.

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