What I would like to see, I would like to see it going further again, quite a bit further. Because I do think that motorsport isn't immune to trying to be part of the next generation of cars. We've been so long with the current sort of setup, that I think since 2006, when the TDI diesel was introduced to motorsport, it's been a big change, but I think that there will be a huge change again, coming up. Part of that is, I would say, the integration of different types of propulsion systems, and not just relying on one, be it a gas or a diesel engine. There's certain aspects coming, whether it be superchargers or turbos, whether it be the hybrid running through the fronts and rears, and things you can actually see and feel starting up on road cars as well in the not-too-distant future.
I think that we've got a great opportunity, and it's part of the opportunity of sports car racing now because not just Audi want to be there. Audi has seen the benefits to racing in this type of category for road car development, as well as obviously its marketing, but I think that other manufacturers are starting to latch on that this is a very relevant formula. If you look at it, we've got Porsche joining the ranks next year, there's already Toyota, but there's Ferrari, there's BMW, Porsche in GT, and that's just to name a few. I understand there's another manufacturer looking to come to LMP1 in the very, very near future. I think we have got the perfect platform for racing in the future, and racing for the future developments.
How has Porsche's decision to return to P1 racing at Le Mans affected the Audi team?
It's very clearly separate--it's a different company. The companies fight against each other in the marketplace, the 911 and the R8 go up head-to-head, and the Boxster and the TT, just as an example, again. From that point of view, there's no reason why they're not going to fight on the track.
I only know so much about the program, they haven't sent me through specific technical details of their car, but then again, I wouldn't expect that in reality. I think it's good, because it's another big marque, it's a big marque with history, it's a big marque that we want to fight against. We like competition, that's why we're involved in sport, and it's also why Audi's involved in sport that has got that element of heavy competition. And I believe that joining the ranks with Toyota and us for 2014 gives it quite a heady combination.
They will go at it, I'm sure, in a slightly different way than we do, but Audi's the benchmark right now, and it will be interesting to see how they compete.
Allan McNish and the Audi team prepare for the 2013 24 Hours of Le MansTeam Joest has had tremendous success at Le Mans with both Porsche and Audi, outperforming every other team in recent years. What is it about the team that puts it at the front so consistently?
Allan McNish and the Audi team prepare for the 2013 24 Hours of Le MansEnlarge Photo
You can't just put it down to the team; it is a big team, and that team includes, obviously, Audi, and it includes all of its drivers, and different personnel. As I said, the thing that it has in depth is experience, and it has consistent experience.
Joest has been going back to Le Mans for God knows how many years, you know, when he turns up at Le Mans, for him, it's like turning up in his living room, he knows it so well. Therefore, I think that he's seen it all, he's done it all. He's had cars that have been leading by miles, and then had a problem and gone out. He's seen cars that had been out of the race, but then recovered, and so therefore he's got a lot of sort of fail-safe scenarios. Plus he also has a lot of scenarios pre-prepared, so that if something does happen, then it's just an open-the-door-and-go sort of situation.
For me, that experience is the key factor. A lot of other teams have come and gone, and a lot of other manufacturers have come and gone, and each time you come back, you have to rebuild all of that experience because naturally it's drifted off to other areas. Joest hasn't done that. He's built it up, and he kept it maintained. Right now he's got a very young team, the mechanics, the engineers, they're all young people, and they've got a lot of time ahead of them.
If you had to sum up your thoughts, feelings, and plans for this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans in a single word, what would it be?
Win. Every other scenario is just talking about trying to get to that final point, so there's no point beating about the bush. We're going there to win.