Neel Jani

Works drivers

“In some ways it’s a shame that I now sit in the same car as André”, says world champion Neel Jani about his new team mate Lotterer, “because we used to have some nice battles. But on the other hand it’s great of course to now have him by my side.” Super-fast, super-cool – the two virtuosos respected each other as opponents and are now allies against the rest of the field. Jani and Lotterer have had the same fitness trainer for years, are both world champions, Le Mans winners and former Formula One test drivers. “And with Nick Tandy we now have a third Le Mans winner on board,” stresses Jani. “Nick took the 2015 victory in the third car almost from nowhere.” In 2016, Jani has now achieved two rather significant career goals: the world championship title and the overall Le Mans victory with Porsche. And now? “Now I know how it feels – and I want more of it!”

Weekend excursions in a Porsche have always been a passion of his. “I have great memories of when I was a kid,” says Jani. “On Sundays I would climb into the back of my father’s 911 2.7 RS with my sister Reena and he would take us out walking. We absolutely loved these outings. Unfortunately we later had to sell the car because my racing was so expensive.”

Coming up through Formula Renault, the GP2 and A1GP series, Jani marched towards Formula One. He tested for Red Bull Racing for the first time in 2004 and in 2006 he became the stand-in driver for sister team Toro Rosso. He took part in test days and demo drives and raced in the American Champ Car and A1GP series. In 2008 he made an appearance as a guest driver in the Porsche Supercup. “Unfortunately I didn’t finish the race”, he remembers, “but I did get to drive a 911 GT3 RS for two weeks beforehand. That was quite an experience for me as a 24 year old. The car had so much power but could still be controlled so precisely, very impressive indeed.” Calculation and precision are part of his very being. When asked what job he would have had if he hadn’t become a racing driver, he says: “An accountant. I like numbers.”

He drove at Le Mans for the first time in 2009 and has done so every year since – with Rebellion in the LMP1 class up until 2013. With the team he won the Le Mans Series in 2011 and in 2012 he just missed out on a podium finish in Le Mans, coming fourth overall. In 2012 and 2013 he took victory in the ten-hour race at Road Atlanta, better known as Petit Le Mans. He’s been a Porsche factory driver since June 2013. “A huge opportunity to be part of Porsche’s return from the very start!”

The first test drives with the 919 were difficult from a technical perspective and the 2014 début season had tough patches, but alongside Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb, Jani took the first three pole positions and the maiden victory for the innovative Porsche prototype. In 2015 there were technical problems in Le Mans, the third car won and at the end of the season it was the sister car's crew that became world champions. Unfinished business was starting to pile up for Jani, but he remained calm and collected. “I believe in karma”, he says, “that helps. Everything happens when it’s supposed to happen and what goes around comes around. In 2016 at Le Mans, and later in the world championship final, I was rewarded for the effort I'd put in previously.”

Personal info

Date of Birth: 8th December 1983
Place of Birth: Rorschach (CH)
Nationality: Swiss
Residence: Port (CH)
Height/weight: 1.72 m/62 kg
Marital status: married to Lauren
Hobbies: Sports, cross-country skiing, tennis, cycling
Website: www.neel-jani.com
Twitter: @neeljani

Le Mans starts: 8 (1 overall victory)

Neel Jani competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), including the Le Mans 24 Hours race, in a Porsche 919 Hybrid for Porsche.

Career

2017

Porsche works driver WEC, LMP1;
31st overall Daytona 24 Hours (Rebellion)

2016

Porsche works driver WEC, LMP1
Drivers’ World Champion with Dumas/Lieb,
Overall race victory Le Mans 24 Hours,
race win (Silverstone), pole position (Le Mans)

2015

Porsche works driver WEC, LMP1
3rd Drivers’ World Championship, 1 win (Bahrain), 5 second places,
2 pole positions including qualifying lap record in Le Mans,
5th Le Mans 24 Hours

2014

Porsche works driver WEC, LMP1
1st São Paulo, 2nd Bahrain, 3rd Shanghai
Pole positions Spa, Shanghai, Bahrain

2013 1st Road Atlanta (ALMS, overall)
3rd Sebring 12 Hours (ALMS, overall)
2nd Laguna Seca, Long Beach (ALMS, overall)
Porsche works driver since June
2012 4th WEC (overall)
4th Le Mans 24 Hours (overall)
2011 Winner Le Mans Series (LMP1)
6th Le Mans 24 Hours (overall)
Formula One show runs (Red Bull Racing)
2010 3rd Le Mans Series (LMP1, Rebellion)
Le Mans 24 Hours
Formula One show runs (Red Bull Racing)
GT1 Championship (3 races)
Superleague Formula (2 races, 1 win)
2009 Le Mans 24 Hours (LMP1)
Formula One tests (Red Bull Racing)
2008/09 2nd A1GP (4 wins)
2008 Formula One tests (Red Bull Racing)
Porsche test (LMP2)
2007/08 Winner A1GP-Serie (4 wins)
2007 Champ Car World Series (3 podium finishes)
2006 Formula One test and reserve driver (Scuderia Torro Rosso)
2005/06 2nd A1GP series
2005 GP2 series (2 wins)
2004 Formula Renault V6 Eurocup (5 wins)
Formula One test (Red Bull Racing)
2003 2nd Formula Renault V6 Eurocup (4 wins)
Formula One test (Sauber-Petronas)
2002 2nd Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup (3 wins)
2001 Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup
Italian Formula Renault
2000 Winner Formula Lista Junior, Switzerland
1996-2000 Karting