McNish: Audi exit a 'speedbump' for World Endurance Championship

Three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Allan McNish says Audi's withdrawal from top-flight sportscar competition is just a "speedbump" for the World Endurance Championship

McNish: Audi exit a 'speedbump' for World Endurance Championship

Three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Allan McNish says Audi's withdrawal from top-flight sportscar competition is just a "speedbump" for the World Endurance Championship.

McNish was a long-standing member of Audi's programme, lifting the 2013 WEC title in addition to his Le Mans successes, and remains part of Audi Sport in an advisory and ambassadorial role following his retirement from racing at the end of '13.

With Audi leaving the prototype ranks, the WEC will be back down to two manufacturers in LMP1 for the first time since 2013, with only Porsche and Toyota remaining, but McNish does not believe that is a terminal blow.

"Audi had been a mainstay of endurance racing for 18 years, but it had to end some time," McNish said.

"It's a huge brand to lose from the grid, but I don't get people saying the world championship and Le Mans won't work with just two factory [LMP1] teams.

"For many years Le Mans was all about two teams - Audi and Peugeot - and they created some of the best years and the best races between them.

"If you look back to the original entry deadline for the first-ever WEC back in 2012, Peugeot had just pulled out and Toyota came in very quickly and perhaps wasn't truly ready to, but they made it work and the championship was great.

"Losing Audi is a speedbump for the WEC and Le Mans, not a wall or a dead end. Le Mans especially has survived through far darker times."

McNish added that he felt the move to postpone changes to the LMP1 technical regulations until the 2020 season will also help the competition.

The WEC had been due to bring in a new 10-megajoule hybrid class and allow third energy retrieval systems from 2018, which would have added significant costs to teams' development budgets.

"The freeze in rules will definitely help the competition," McNish added.

"Changing the hybrid systems that much would have been a huge expense, both in terms of time and money for manufacturers.

"Delaying it opens the door for extra development and I expect Toyota and Porsche to be incredibly closely-matched this season.

"Both brands have a point to prove. Porsche wants to be dominant, but Toyota will go all-out for Le Mans this year having come so close last year [when its lead car failed on the last lap when leading]."

shares
comments
Nicolas Lapierre to defend LMP2 WEC crown with Signatech Alpine

Previous article

Nicolas Lapierre to defend LMP2 WEC crown with Signatech Alpine

Next article

Ginetta plans to build LMP1 car for World Endurance Championship

Ginetta plans to build LMP1 car for World Endurance Championship
Load comments
The standout memories of Le Mans 2021 Plus

The standout memories of Le Mans 2021

OPINION: With four of the five Hypercar entries unproven in a 24-hour race, it would not have been unexpected for at least one of them to suffer serious reliability trouble. That they all managed to make it through the race relatively unscathed, says GARY WATKINS, was something of a surprise.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Plus

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Aug 22, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Plus

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Plus

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans Plus

The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans

The rising HubAuto team steps up to GTE Pro at Le Mans this year for an ambitious bid to take on the three works giants – and has every reason to be optimistic of achieving its goal in becoming the first privateer on the podium since 2016

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Plus

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and were considered heavy favourites to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen

Le Mans
Aug 14, 2021
Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Plus

Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally

WEC
Aug 14, 2021