McNish began his career in karting. Formula Ford and Formula 3, he came into the formula 3000th He drove for the team DAMS (1990 and 1991 ), 3001 International ( 1992), Vortex ( 1994) and Paul Stewart Racing, the predecessor of the Formula 1 team Stewart Grand Prix (1995). In his first Formula 3000 season McNish achieved the best results he achieved two wins and finished the season in 4th place in the driver standings.
In addition to his Formula 3000 inserts McNish worked for a long time as a test driver for various Formula 1 teams. Belonged to them, McLaren (1990 to 1992), Benetton (1993, 1994 and 1996 ), Lola (1995) and Toyota ( 2001). As Toyota Racing boarding as factory team in Formula 1, he participated in the 2002 season, a year in part with the TF102 at the Formula 1 World Championship.
However, his greatest success McNish in other racing series. In 1998 he won the 24 - hour race at Le Mans and 2004 12 Hours of Sebring. In 2004 he won with Pierre Kaffer in the 1000 km race at the Nürburgring. In 2005 he worked for Audi in the DTM. In 2006 he won the 12 - hour race at Sebring for the second time and finished in Le Mans a third place. In 2008 he took a further success: With Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello, he won an Audi R10 TDI for the second time the 24 - hour race at Le Mans. 2009 McNish was able to enter his third victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring race in the first race with Kristensen and Capello in the Audi R15 TDI.
During the 24 -hour race in Le Mans 2011, he was involved in a serious accident, but remained unharmed. 2012 finished the race - together again with Kristensen and Capello - in the second place overall.
At the 24 - hour race at Le Mans in 2013 together with Tom Kristensen and the Frenchman Loïc Duval McNish celebrated his third overall victory at the endurance classic.