Tributes have begun to come in following news Tuesday that Allan McNish will retire from top-line racing. The 43-year-old Scot ends his illustrious career on top, having won this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship while also claiming his third overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
See what drivers, mentors, team principals and series executives have to say about McNish. Additional comments will be added as they become available.
Pierre Fillon, President, Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “A great driver is retiring today. It’s obvious that Allan McNish’s absence will leave a big hole at the start of the Le Mans 24 as well as in all the FIA World Championship events. But in the big Le Mans endurance family, he will remain one of the greatest ambassadors for a branch of motor sport that he loves so much, which has given him so much and in which he has written some of the greatest chapters in its recent history.”
Jackie Stewart: “It’s great news that Allan McNish has announced his retirement from motorsport as a driver. He has now won the World Championship which is a great statement for Scotland and of course for Allan. It allows him to start a new life at a young age, in his early 40’s, so I think it is absolutely the right decision for him to make.
“He is a very talented commentator for the BBC television. I’m sure he will pick up lots of other things to do with his life and he is a great ambassador not only for motorsport but also for Scotland. So I think he is going to enjoy his family to a much greater extent than he has so far because of the commitments that a modern sportscar driver like Allan has. I wish him and the whole of the Stewart family wish him, a very happy retirement and of course a new life.”
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport: “We appreciate and respect Allan’s decision to retire at the pinnacle of his career. At the same time, this is a parting that is particularly difficult for us. All of us are well aware of Allan’s racing successes. We should not forget, though, how valuable he has been in the development of our race cars, how great a team player he has always been and how he has consistently applied himself to achieve Audi’s aims far beyond motorsport with professionalism, loyalty and commitment. We regret that Allan will no longer be contesting any races for us but are happy that he will continue to be associated with Audi Sport and the Audi brand.”
Ryan Dalziel: “Allan has been huge to my career, dating back to when I was 10 or 12 years old racing karts. I was fortunate to have come through the same ladder system that he did, with some guidance along the way. When I came to the States, I was following more of the Dario path. But from 2005 when I made the transition to sports cars, Allan has very much guided me and directed me.
“He’ll be sadly missed but what a great way to go out and to be remembered. I said to a lot of people in 2012, if I was at a point where I was looking to retire, I would have retired after that year. Allan had a very similar year and crossed off a lot of things in one year. What better way to end than being on top in every possible race. I’m definitely honored to have been able to share a car with him a couple of times. Who knows, maybe we can drag him back out sometime in the future and come over and do a few races with us.”
Scott Atherton, IMSA President and COO: “It is hard to put into words the appreciation we all have for the career Allan has had and the role he played in the development of the American Le Mans Series. Allan was one of the first star drivers to emerge and while he had many co-driver partners over the years, he was in a category all his own. He was the benchmark example of a rare combination; exceptionally fast and competitive behind the wheel, but also articulate and approachable out of the cockpit. He was our go-to guy for many years and we all owe him our appreciation and applause for all he did to build the sport of endurance sports car racing in North America.
“His decision to retire at the pinnacle of his prototype driving career is a perfect reflection of the man – and how he operates. He has left us all with full career of racing memories and I am confident he will now go on to achieve similar results as he pursues new career opportunities.”
Derek Bell: “I am very surprised that he has quit; he seemed to be right on top, winning so magnificently as he did this year, but one forgets the actual length of his career and the pressure there is on drivers at the top. So what a way to finish. Such a variety of cars all the way through, skirting around the edge of F1, such a disappointment for him, but found a home in sports cars as so many of us have, which has elongated our career in our life in motor racing. We shall miss watching him race but I am sure his family will be pleased to have him home.”