McNish: New Audi can win Le Mans

Allan McNish says Audi can repeat their Le Mans 24 Hours victory with the new R15 TDI diesel-powered prototype next year, despite only having one build-up race to prepare the car for sportscar racing's blue riband event in June

McNish: New Audi can win Le Mans

Audi has decided not to continue with its Le Mans Series and American Le Mans Series programmes in 2009 and will instead only enter the Sebring 12 Hours in March and the 24 Hours at La Sarthe.

And while rivals Peugeot enjoyed a performance advantage over Audi at Le Mans in 2008, and will be even more determined to win their home event after being defeated by the German manufacturer this year, McNish is convinced that the R15 TDI will be fast and reliable enough to compete.

"I haven't driven the car, but the reason I think we can win is because Audi have never, in my experience, done anything by half," said McNish.

"When they compete, they race with a car that is already proven in reliability and performance gain. And as much as we have got some regulation changes which are going to make it very difficult, with regards to the petrol engines and things like that, we are going to make a step forward.

"Looking at Peugeot we are going to have to make a big step forward because they had an advantage.

"But we beat them on the human terms this year and we will have to beat them on the car terms as well because they won't make that same mistake twice."

McNish, who scored his second Le Mans 24 Hours victory last summer, admitted that he was naturally disappointed not to be racing more in 2009, but added that he didn't think it would have any impact on Audi's competitiveness at Sebring and Le Mans.

"At the moment it's just two races," said McNish. "We unfortunately confirmed that the Le Mans Series and the American Le Mans Series were not going to happen which was a surprise.

"But the one thing I would say is that there is still a very strong motorsport bloodline at Audi and that commitment and support is still there, it's just that it's on a leaner level than it has been lately.

"We'll still be at the two biggest sportscar races though and it's with the new car, so we'll come out fighting."

shares
comments
Saulnier switch to Mazda engines

Previous article

Saulnier switch to Mazda engines

Next article

Minassian: Peugeot learned from '08

Minassian: Peugeot learned from '08
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