The 44-year-old Scot has triumphed three times at Le Mans, participated in Formula One, and become one of the best-respected competitors of his generation. However, there have also been plenty of occasions when the Audi driver, who is currently striving to claim the FIA World Endurance Championship, has been stymied by the pitfalls which befall those who put their bodies on the line in the quest for speed.
That explains why McNish has such a pragmatic streak. It has also helped him to develop into one of the most astute commentators on the F1 circuit, for the BBC, and he can understand the disappointment felt by his compatriot, Paul Di Resta, who has suffered a litany of problems in recent grands prix.
As McNish acknowledged yesterday, it must be galling when other drivers, such as Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen, are switching teams from Toro Rosso and Lotus into the big league at Red Bull and Ferrari, respectively. Whereas, it increasingly seems that Di Resta, who is now 27, might in 2014 have to spend another season at Force India. But, according to McNish, that need not necessarily be a bad thing for the Bathgate-born driver if he can steer clear of the mechanical glitches and collisions which have marred recent displays.
"Some of Paul's best drives this season have come after he faced difficulties in qualifying, and he has produced enough good performances to remind everybody how much talent he has," said McNish. "But the fact is that F1 can be a merry-go-round, and although Paul's options are limited, given what has happened elsewhere, I don't think Force India is a bad place for him to be next year.
"As things stand, he is in a team who know him and who can help him, and they did well during the first half of the campaign. He and Adrian [Sutil] were up around 6th or 7th and I thought Paul might even gain his first pole position in Spa.
"Next year, there are going to be big changes in the regulations and nobody quite knows how matters will pan out. So, amid all the chopping and changing, I can see Paul benefiting from a bit of stability. He is still young and you always have to focus on things you can control, because there will be afternoons where things go wrong.
"Of course it can be annoying, but I've been in this business for 30 years and experienced my own share of frustrations. Yet, when I won my third Le Mans [in June], it gave me a great feeling and pushed all the other memories to the back of my mind."
The two Scots will be in action on different continents this weekend. While Di Resta attempts to regain some momentum on the spectacular street circuit in Singapore, McNish and his Audi team-mates, Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval, will be doing their utmost to consolidate their 22-point lead on the Dumfries driver's debut at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas.
"I'm really looking forward to going to the COTA. Those who have raced there have told me the atmosphere is fantastic and that it is a tremendous circuit," said McNish, who thrives in these marathon events. "The first section is high-speed, with quick changes of direction and a long straight with a very tight and twisty part which will require us to compromise on the car set-up.
"But I have no doubt that we will be ready for the challenge. We have improved massively this year and a lot of that is down to the efforts of the many individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes at Audi and who have put us in an excellent position.
"There are maybe 10 people you see at the track, but we have around 250 throwing themselves into delivering the best car they possibly can. I am not usually that glowing in my praise, but we want to win the championship and I think that we have the vehicle to do the job."
Privately, Di Resta may wish he could echo these sentiments. Yet, as McNish stated, there is no reason why he can't progress to that stage in the future if he keeps the Force.