McNish flies the flag for Scottish racing

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

Current page

181

His marshaling efforts may have been a little half-hearted, but the Audi ace excels in his role as Scottish motor racing president

Here’s a novel experience at a club meeting. I find myself stationed at a marshals’ post at Knockhill, in conversation with one of the orange-clad volunteers – who also happens to be a two-time Le Mans winner. As it turns out, Allan McNish should stick to driving.

At the end of the day, the post chief submits his report for the meeting and his remarks about the new recruit are far from complimentary.

“McNish didn’t stay on the post for the full day,” the report states, “and continually distracted other marshals by talking during the racing. He used a mobile communication device while the track was live and I got the impression that the gloves were worn to keep his hands warm. May be better spectating in the future.” Oh dear. Where’s the dedication, Mr McNish?

Allan was at Knockhill visiting as many people as possible as part of his role as president of the Scottish Motor Racing Club (SMRC). He’d taken this group of marshals, all of whom he counts as friends, down to Silverstone for the six-hour race in September and was determined to get out onto the track to say hello. But after his less-than-auspicious cameo on the marshals’ post, we are whisked back to the windswept paddock. Only after Allan has grudgingly handed the gloves back, of course.

As soon as we’re out of the course car it’s a short march up to the Legends paddock where he tracks down driver ‘number 30’. “Hi, I’m Allan,” he says. It seems the introduction is superfluous as ‘number 30’ looks as though she’s about to keel over. During her race the driver was locking up under braking and trying to turn in at the same time, and Allan is soon explaining why that won’t work, especially in the wet. The dumbstruck Legends driver no doubt went better in the second race.

When Allan asked me to Knockhill to see what the SMRC is up to and find out more about his role as president, I didn’t expect him to be handing out advice to individual drivers. “It’s a funny thing advising young drivers,” he says as we’re battling through traffic on the way back to Edinburgh airport. “They might take in 10 per cent, but if that’s the case then they’ve still taken in 10 per cent more than if you hadn’t sat down with them. It only takes a little bit of time. It’s all about time at the end of the day, and it was time that I was lucky enough to get from others. You’ve got to put something back into the pot otherwise it runs out.”

Allan was asked to be president of the SMRC by Sir Jackie Stewart in 2007. He wasn’t keen on the idea at first, but only because he was concerned that he wouldn’t have enough time to dedicate to the cause of Scottish motor racing. “I was told that all I needed to do was put my name above the door, but I wanted to do more than that,” he says.

“Ultimately there is a committee that decides on the general running of the club, but the main thing I can offer is that I can open some doors and create introductions. The club services Scottish motor sport. It’s not necessarily international motor sport, but it does provide a platform for drivers and engineers. What’s really helping at the moment is that the ruling SNP (Scottish National Party) want to talk about Scottish success stories. If you win a major race you now get a letter from [First Minister] Alex Salmond. DC [David Coulthard] won 13 Grands Prix, but I’m pretty sure he never got a letter from the Labour ministers during that time…”

Earlier that morning, Allan was asked by a fellow SMRC board member to talk to young driver Craig Mitchell, who has been campaigning a Sports 2000. This wasn’t just a five-minute chat, though. After 45 minutes spent covering sponsorship, the right series to race in, test drives, and racing in the wet, the dry and everything in between, we stepped back into the Knockhill wind. With some successful drivers it would be easy to put all this attention down to the presence of Motor Sport, but with Allan, you know that’s not the case.

“We did a sponsorship brochure for all the young drivers recently so that they had something presentable to give to potential sponsors,” he says. “We need to work with drivers rather than just letting them get on with it.

“There’s no way we can fund the racing for them. If we were to try and find £1.3 million to put a young Scot through two years of F3, where’s that money going to come from? You’re never going to get it. Forget it.

“It’s all about raising awareness. Crikey me, motor racing is the most successful Scottish export in terms of sport. Which other sport has World Champions, Indy 500 winners, Le Mans 24 Hours winners and Monaco Grand Prix winners? Which other sport has got Scottish people at the elite level now? We’ve got Andy Murray, and that’s it.

“However, we can’t be comfortable with what we are doing, we’ve got to look to the future. We’ve got to get young drivers to come into the sport because many of the people racing now will soon retire. The future is having more people coming into the sport. Something must be working, though, because we’ve got the maximum number of entries and we’ve got plenty of marshals.

“From my side, I also want to make sure younger drivers know that we – and I suppose I’m a representative of the international drivers – still care. Going to the annual SMRC dinner is part of it, coming here is part of it. It’s important that the current crop can have a relationship with where we are now. Normally it’s too distant.”

McNish, Paul di Resta and Dario Franchitti are all proof that motor racing drivers continue to be a truly successful Scottish export. With the likes of Allan working for the SMRC and the current push for young drivers, don’t be surprised if you see more international stars sporting the blue and white colours of the Scottish Saltire very soon.

You may also like

Related products