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Tuesday 23rd August 2011

McNish Meets The Audi R8 LMS At Silverstone

Le Mans ace puts GT3 car through its paces for Autosport 6hrs preview



Witnessing a bit of ace wheelmanship from the passenger seat is a rare privilege, so we jumped at the chance to jump into an Audi R8 at Silverstone yesterday. The R8 was an LMS (Audi's GT3-spec 'customer' racing car), and the ace wheelman none other than two-times Le Mans winner Allan McNish.

With 'only' 500 or so horsepower to play with on the wide-open spaces of Silverstone, it's not the outright acceleration that gets you. But 'lawks', those big Michelins don't half hang on through the corners.

Don't get me wrong, the view from the passenger seat positively flies by when Nishy's leaning on the power, but it's the lack of much discernible slowing down for some of the corners that really makes your eyes wobble. Don't go for a taxi ride with a hangover, is my advice, or you'll risk the £50 clean-up fee...


Yesterday's media event was staged to promote the upcoming Autosport Six Hours of Silverstone, at which you won't see the R8 LMS competing because the race is for Le Mans cars. That means McNish will be lining up his R18 TDI for team Audi to do battle with the Peugeot, Aston Martin, Lola and Zytek LMP1 cars (to name a few), plus the Porsches, Ferraris, Lotuses et al in the lower classes.

So why was the R8 there yesterday? Well they can't do passenger rides in the R18 and this particular car is the latest addition to Audi UK's PR fleet. So look out for eager hacks driving it in your favourite magazine soon (they may even let PH have a go...), but maybe not just yet as it's fresh out of the packing crate from Germany.


Surprisingly perhaps, yesterday was the first chance McNish has had to drive the GT3 racer. So was he impressed? Yes (less surprisingly, perhaps...), and although it was always going to be hard drawing comparisons between a 4x4 road car and a rear-drive racer with a six-speed sequential box on racing slicks we gamely offered Nishy the opportunity to earn his PR fee:

"Where you can really feel the lineage from the road car is the weight distribution," he told us. "It's very good for a road car with a V10 engine in the back, and this is transferred across to the race car. It's really easy to set it up balanced in a corner and hold it there."

"It's also a really flat, stable platform - which I'm used to from my LMP1 car - you don't feel the car pitching or rolling when changing direction. There's also lots of front end grip and the car turns in really quickly - which is something I'm not so used to on my own racer, so I'll be taking that back to the team in Ingolstadt..."


As for the race, the typically chipper Scot is upbeat about the team's chances: "Our car should suit the circuit well, and I like the new track layout apart from the 35mph hairpins which are tricky.

"As my 'home' race, the pressure's on to do well, especially as there'll be so many friends and old faces turning up."

If you want to join them, you can see McNish racing his R18 at Silverstone on the weekend of Sept 9-11. Tickets are available from a measly £12 at www.silverstone.co.uk.













Chris-R
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Author Discussion

Lordbenny

Original Poster:

5,875 posts

103 months

[news] 
Tuesday 23rd August 2011 quote quote all
Side profile look a bit Ultima'ish or are my eyes deceiving me?

Olly

2,172 posts

168 months

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Tuesday 23rd August 2011 quote quote all
Wonder if cruise control is an option (becuase the stalk is still there !)

StuartMcKay

1,136 posts

106 months

[news] 
Tuesday 23rd August 2011 quote quote all
I was lucky enough to be there yesterday and I have to say that not only is the R8 LMS a simply amazing car but also Allan McNish is one of the nicest people I have ever met.
When you meet or interview some drivers, you can get the feeling that they are only there because they have to be, but with Allan it didn't feel like that in the slightest. He went in to great detail in each of his answer's to the questions being thrown at him (even though he's possible answered them a million and 1 times before...) and cracking jokes. One of racings great guys!

With the R8 LMS, it's not the straight line speed that gets you, it's the braking (sometimes lack of braking....) and cornering speeds. We were pulling just over 2G in to Stowe, braking from about 160ish. Here's my video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q--922obu-Q

Not Ideal

2,034 posts

72 months

[news] 
Tuesday 23rd August 2011 quote quote all
Olly said:
Wonder if cruise control is an option (becuase the stalk is still there !)
I saw that and was wondering the same..!!

Henry Fiddleton

1,250 posts

61 months

[news] 
Tuesday 23rd August 2011 quote quote all
£12 entry for the race?

If thats correct then its a ruddy bargin and I will be attending with the Misses in tow.

Checked website, £23/£25 is not bad still for the race.

Edited by Henry Fiddleton on Tuesday 23 August 14:53

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TorqueBHP

4 posts

59 months

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Tuesday 23rd August 2011 quote quote all
Can we have any of these in high def as a POTW???? Some great shots there!

British Beef

685 posts

49 months

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Tuesday 23rd August 2011 quote quote all
Hopefully he stays clear of the Ferraris this time (the variety that shunted him off the track at Le Mans) !!!

School boy

933 posts

95 months

[news] 
Tuesday 23rd August 2011 quote quote all
Ahhh! Why is everything over that weekend? LMS, Sunday Service and LRO show which I've got to go to as my mate wants to drive his new Discovery to.

rev-erend

18,232 posts

168 months

[news] 
Tuesday 23rd August 2011 quote quote all
Did you mention to steer clear of the barriers this time ..

That sure was some accident at Le Mans this year !

chuntington101

4,693 posts

120 months

[news] 
Tuesday 23rd August 2011 quote quote all
Stunning car. If only the road going versions looked as good! frown

TankRS

1,959 posts

38 months

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Tuesday 23rd August 2011 quote quote all
chuntington101 said:
Stunning car.
was just thinking the same, looks better 'naked' than all liveried up with sponsor decals hiding the lines frown

amirh94

7,887 posts

47 months

[news] 
Wednesday 24th August 2011 quote quote all
First picture kind of reminds me of the Audi's in irobot,,

zebedee

4,289 posts

162 months

[news] 
Wednesday 24th August 2011 quote quote all
School boy said:
Ahhh! Why is everything over that weekend? LMS, Sunday Service and LRO show which I've got to go to as my mate wants to drive his new Discovery to.
Going in a discovery to a land rover show or going to the 6 hrs of silverstone and seeing an epic sportscar battle. Tell your mate where to go! (Silverstone).

fieldl

1,295 posts

115 months

[news] 
Wednesday 24th August 2011 quote quote all
Had the pleasure of being around when United Autosport were at Zhuhai and Macau last year who race these. Great looking cars and seemingly very reliable. Opens up the pack from the run of the mill Ferrari and Porsche entries.

zebedee

4,289 posts

162 months

[news] 
Thursday 25th August 2011 quote quote all
fieldl said:
Had the pleasure of being around when United Autosport were at Zhuhai and Macau last year who race these. Great looking cars and seemingly very reliable. Opens up the pack from the run of the mill Ferrari and Porsche entries.
think I know what you mean but the 458 Italia is a far more dramatic car than the R8, in road or race form.
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