Interviewer: The first one is do you remember the first time in your life you heard
about Le Mans?
Allan McNish: It was in a book that I was given about cars. I was maybe six or seven years old. They had the track map of Le Mans. I remember sitting in my bedroom and there was a small area underneath a desk. I sat under the desk pretending I was driving the circuit of Le Mans. Scotland has a big history at Le Mans. Not because of drivers, but because of the Ecurie Ecosse. In ’56 and ’57 they won outright with the Jaguar. The Ecurie Ecosse, when I started karting a little bit after that, were returning to LeMans with a Group C2. Ecurie Ecosse also sponsored me in karting. Very early I had associations of the 24 hours in that way, but I also remember my first visit to Le Mans was the World Karting Championships in 1985 at the Circuit Alain Prost. I now you sit here in 2017, and to think in reality my career was always going to come to Le Mans, with all of these pieces of the story.
Interviewer: When you saw the track when you were six years old, you were already passionate for motor sports?
Allan McNish: My father and mother liked motor sport, but they liked motorcycles and so I followed that, but I had a passion for speed. I had a passion for competition. I liked motor sport, but I never had the idea it was a career. It was just a love. That love definitely developed.
Interviewer: Do you remember the first time you drive on the Le Mans track?
Allan McNish: Yes, in a rental car. 1985.
Interviewer: How it was?
Allan McNish: I remember Indianapolis, because I was racing for a man called Teddy Fullerton in karting. We went round the Indianapolis Corner and it felt like it was on two wheels. Then it became a little bit more real. Then after I was racing for team DAMS formula in 3000. I was then testing on the Bugatti Circuit quite often, but my first time driving on the track was in ’97 in the pre test. I remember – I’d driven Formula One cars, Indy cars, all these other things, but first time down the Hunaudières, into the first chicane, it felt like I was doing 1000 kilometres per hour. I braked. Changed down. Then had to accelerate and change back up because I just had no idea about the track or where it went or anything. It was like the first time I had driven a racing car, and it frightened me.
Interviewer: It frightened you?
Allan McNish: It frightened me. The first time I drove it, it frightened me, because it was so fast. The car was moving around so much. It was a Porsche GT1. It was just quicker than anything I had experienced before. The atmosphere of the place. Everything about it was just super cool, but as a driver I gave it so much respect because it was not easy.
Interviewer: Did you like this track?
Allan McNish: I liked it, but I was very cautious of it. I liked the natural feel. I loved the S’ especially the old one. It was still the old Dunlop as well. I didn’t like Mulsanne. I struggled with Mulsannes Corner because then you would brake before you turned in. You went across the little bumps and the car started dancing and you’re doing 340 kilometres per hour and the car’s dancing. Okay. Easy boys. Clearly the section Porsche and through karting was super cool.