There was shock in motorsport today as Allan McNish announced that he is to stop being Scottish.
The world championship winning driver said ‘now is the time’ for him to stop pretending to be from north of the border and that he will cease using words such as ‘aye’ and ‘wee’ with immediate effect.
McNish’s path to becoming Scottish started in 1981 when he competed in go kart racing. ‘This was an era when drivers like Jim Clark were still fresh in the mind,’ the driver explained, using his natural Home Counties accent. ‘So if people thought you were Scottish they assumed you were quick. It was a different time when phrases like “if you want to get speed, hire someone from Dumfries” were still commonplace. This was before David Coulthard of course.’
McNish went on to enjoy great success as a Scotsman, most notably at the Le Mans 24 hour race. ‘I have so many great memories of being Scottish,’ the driver reflected. ‘I’ve eaten loads of porridge, I’ve drunk a lot of Irn Bru, I’ve been to several weddings wearing a kilt.’
However, the popular driver confessed that affecting a Scottish accent and demeanour hasn’t always been easy; ‘There have been some dark times too,’ he admitted. ‘Having to pretend you don’t mind cold weather, the endless phone calls from Jackie Stewart when, to be perfectly honest, I hadn’t got a clue what he was saying. Oh aye, it’s no’ been easy… Sorry, force of habit.’