Defending Le Mans winner and FIA WEC World Champion Neel Jani is looking forward to this year’s Le Mans.
Even though he has gotten two new co-drivers for this season, he doesn’t see that as a bigger problem, as he revealed to Racing24-7-net at Spa last month.
“I’ve known Andre for a long time, for 10 years or so. We have the same physical trainer, so we have always known each other and been friends, and having fun together, so it’s great having him on our car. And with Nick as well. Us three get along well, and let’s hope that we can share our first win tomorrow (Spa, editor).”
As we know now, they still have the first victory together waiting for them, but what better place to claim it, than at Le Mans?
Jani is the only constant in the Porsche 919 Hybrid with number 1 on the side, after both his teammates from last year, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb, no longer are part of the LMP1 lineup. Dumas is competing at Le Mans this year with Signatech Alpine Matmut #36 in LMP2, while Lieb is a reserve driver for the Porsche LMP1 team. But it’s not like that everything is build around Jani.
“In the end, with Andre coming from Audi has a lot of experience, a lot of other ideas. So I can’t say – this is how we work. At the end, I am open for his ideas, Nick has also good ideas, from sportscars and GT cars. In the end, that is how a team has to work. There is no number 1 within – there can not be, because it will not work otherwise. It needs to be open-source between everyone, which is not always easy, for sure. It’s what gives you success here.”
He also has a lot of respect for Toyota. Toyota has won the first two races of this year, and almost won Le Mans last year, had it not been for some penultimate lap drama hitting the leading Toyota.
“Toyota has a great car. But it’s the overall performance, you need to get everything together, which is never easy. A six-hours race is even less easy. Having three drivers who are good at various conditions, and then put them in those. I hope it goes like last year. We don’t wanna win it in the last lap, but we wanna win it before – but we wanna win it.”
Following the test day, it appeared that Porsche had a lot of pace to find, but we won’t know until the qualifying is run, or perhaps even until the race. It’s not always the fastest car that wins the race at the end of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.