On the road with Allan McNish: Let the good times roll

Black gold and good food: a tasty combination. And above all, a true Michelin tradition. A road trip around Barcelona - and through the history of the French brand. With three-time Le Mans winner Allan McNish.
Text Marko Knab
Photo Marko Knab • ramp.pictures & Michelin

A flat tire that helps you win a race? That's a real success story. It's Michelin's: It begins with the tire puncture of a cyclist in Clermont-Ferrand who, in his distress, turns to the Michelin brothers - who quickly provide him with a new type of bicycle tire with a protective cover. It turned out to be a good idea. A short time later, the cyclist Charles Terront also put on a further developed version of this tire and won the Paris-Brest cycling race with it - with a lead of eight hours. This victory ultimately inspired the confectioner Louis Durand to create a pastry called »Paris-Brest« - a kind of cream puff filled with praline buttercream and garnished with almonds. Here at the latest it becomes clear: Perfect grip and culinary pleasure belong together at Michelin.

And today?

We unerringly hit every corner’s apex here in the mountainous hinterland of Barcelona. Right, then left, and then right again, past a huge red boulder that splits the road in front of us. At the wheel is Allan McNish. He had Michelin tires for his three Le Mans victories. Today he is testing the French company's new Pilot Sport 5 on the road - and it proves to be the perfect and, above all, sure-footed choice on the curvy and rocky roads of the Costa Brava.

Stopover at the »Quatre Vents 3.0« in Hostalric. Here you can enjoy the finest fish & ham specialties from the region. For Allan McNish, this is a kind of compulsory stop. During his time as a racing driver, he not only learned to appreciate Michelin tires, but also to enjoy them. He talks about a road trip he recently took with his son. At the wheel of his Audi R8 and along the Scottish coast. On the way, they also passed the kart track where Allan did his first laps. We, in turn, pass the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona on the highway, where he scored his second-best result in his only Formula 1 season. He was driving for Toyota at the time. The tire? French.

We stop in front of the »Cocina Hermanos Torres.« Michelin has awarded the restaurant two classic stars and one green (and therefore sustainable) star. Opportunity to talk about the origins of Michelin. How does he feel about cycling? McNish waves it off. »Never been my thing. I'd rather walk,« he grins - and goes straight to the restaurant. Enjoyment, on the other hand, is very much his thing!

→ Read the entire interview with endurance legend and former Audi factory driver Allan McNish here soon.

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