Silverstone ALMS preview

Allan McNish is gunning for his first American Le Mans Series win at the Silverstone round of the championship - the Silverstone 500 USA challenge - on May 13

Silverstone ALMS preview

The Scot knows the circuit intimately, and is our guide around a lap of the Northamptonshire circuit in his Audi R8 sports-prototype, and gives us his tip for victory in the 500 mile race.

"It should be a good race, as there are going to be around 40 cars coming. There'll be a relatively large difference in speeds, because most corners are quite high speed - taken in fourth gear or above.

"Because of this there'll be a big difference between the GT3 cars and the prototypes, which should make for interesting racing.

"We'll be strong, depending on whether we bring the 2000 car or the '99 car. I expect the Panoz will be our main opposition - the Brabham/Magnussen car. It's got loads of torque, and it suits that kind of track. David [Brabham] knows the circuit really well, as he lives just a few miles from it. Circuit knowledge is quite important at Silverstone, and a lot of the American drivers - and even many of the drivers who drive in Europe - don't really know the track that well.

"I expect the Skea Porsche driven by Johnny Mowlem to challenge the Dick Barbour car more closely for this reason. It will be a battle between the Skea car and the Dick Barbour car driven by Sascha Maassen.

"The GT2 class winner will be a Viper - there's no-one to challenge them yet.

"Start the lap into Copse, which you approach at 260kmh. In the middle of the corner you'll be doing about 190kmh.

"You're back up to 260kmh on the approach to Becketts, the left-right-left-right series of bends. The slowest you'll be through Becketts in the dry is 150kmh.

"The key to a good lap of the circuit is probably Copse and Becketts, because if you're good through there you'll be good through about three or four other corners on the track. But then you can't forget about the complex - which is easy to omit from your mind, when you're thinking about set-up.

"Into Stowe, the fastest part of the track, your speed will be 280kmh, and in the middle of the corner, you'll be going 160kmh.

"Although Club corner is taken at similar speed to the complex, I generally find that you don't lose or gain a lot of time through Club, but you can through the Complex. Before Club, the speed is 230kmh, but you drop right down to 90 in the corner.

"Then it's down to Abbey, which we approach at 250kmh and slow to 110kmh for the middle of the corner.

"Bridge is the fastest corner on the track - that's taken at 210kmh mid corner."

Then it's on to the Complex which is made up of Priory, a tight left-hander, Brooklands, another tight left-hander, and the Luffield corner, a long right curve turning through more than 180degrees before opening out onto Woodcote, now a flat-out right sweep, and back onto the start straight.

(Speed data is based on information from Porsche AG recorded from the Porsche GT1-98 prototype which won Le Mans in 1998.)

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