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McNish To Drive In Rolex 24

| , RacinToday.com Tuesday, January 3 2012

Allan McNish is heading back to Daytona for the Rolex 24. (Photo courtesy of Martyn Pass)


Scotland’s Allan McNish will return to Daytona International Speedway later this month to run in the Rolex 24-hour event.

He will be co-driving a Riley-Ford for Starworks Motorsports.

A two-time winner of the Le Mans 24-hour race, McNish will be attempting to win at Daytona for the first time in his storied racing career.

Dumfries-born McNish, who celebrated his 42nd birthday recently last week, has twice finished second at Daytona (1998 and ’99), said the Rolex will help get him ready for the season ahead – he drives an prototype for the factory-back Audi Sport team.

“Contesting a 24 hour race so early in the year will certainly blow away the winter cobwebs,” McNish said. “The Rolex 24 At Daytona offers a stern challenge and will undoubtedly be tough.

“Having finished second overall twice in this race, I’d love to add this 24 hour race win to my two triumphs at Le Mans but I’m under no illusion just how difficult it will be.”

McNish, who is able to race at Daytona for a seventh time as he has no clashing test or race commitments for the German team, will co-drive the Riley in the 50th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona with former Audi team-mate Lucas Luhr (D) plus Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series regulars Ryan Dalziel – Scotland’s 2001 Rolex 24 race winner – plus Venezuelan duo Enzo Potolicchio and Alex Popow.

McNish, who had a brief run in the Riley at Sebring just before Christmas, added: “The Daytona 24 Hours is always a tough challenge – just like any twice-around-the-clock race. This year’s race is not only the opening round of the 2012 GRAND-AM Series but also the 50th running of the Rolex 24 so a big entry is guaranteed. Last year’s race was decided on the very last lap with less than four seconds covering the top-four finishers.

“It will be a massive challenge but the Starworks team are proven winners in the GRAND-AM category and with our driver line-up that includes fellow Scotsman Ryan Dalziel, who incidentally I watched at the beginning of his career in karting, we’ve got a good opportunity of being at the sharp end when the chequered flag comes down.”

Starworks Team Principal Peter Baron commented: “We weren’t going to add a fifth driver but you do not pass on the opportunity to put Allan McNish in the car. He is a legend. He brings much more than his speed. He elevates the other guys, gets the others even more motivated and it is great to work with someone with his kind of history in sports car racing. Plus Allan has won just about everything in sports car racing but the fabled Rolex Daytona.”

McNish tests the Starworks Riley again at the “Roar Before the Rolex 24” at Daytona this week (6-8 Jan). The 24-hour sports car endurance race is held annually at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach. The track consists of a 3.56-mile combined road course, utilising portions of the NASCAR tri-oval and an infield section. The 50th running of the Daytona 24 Hours begins at 2030 (UK time) on Saturday 28 January.

Allan McNish – Daytona 24 Hour history:

1998: 2nd overall, 1st GT1 (Champion Porsche).

1999: 2nd o/a (Ferrari 333 SP) (Doyle Risi).

2000: Retired, engine. (Ferrari 333 SP) (Risi).

2001: Retired, engine. (Ferrari 333 SP) (Risi).

2005: Retired, engine. (Crawford Pontiac) (Howard Boss Motorsport).

2008: Retired, engine. (Riley Pontiac) (SAMAX).

2011: Riley-Ford (Starworks Motorsports).

| , RacinToday.com Tuesday, January 3 2012
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