After a very successful endurance racing career, in LMP1 (prototype racing), with Porsche, Neel Jani admitted feeling a sensation of rebirth with his new GTE Pro challenge. The Swiss will drive in the 2021 WEC season for the official Porsche GT team in the GTE Pro class.
Jani is a very experienced driver when it comes to prototype racing in endurance. The Swiss participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 10 times in LMP1 and won the event once, in 2016. With all the experience gathered in prototype racing, Jani decided he wanted to try something new and seems very happy with his new GT challenge.
The Swiss admitted having a lot to learn but knows he can count on his very experienced teammates being Kevin Estre, Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz. This year’s Porsche GT Team is, therefore, filled with Le Mans winners.
“I’ve got a good feeling with the car now, but there are a lot of things that I still have to think about and stuff I don’t know,” said Jani.
“I feel well prepared but it is clear that I am driving against GT pros who have been racing these cars for years and years.”
“There’s a lot of things that I will only find out in the races.”
“I know it is going to be tough, but luckily I’ve got good teammates to learn from in Kevin, Richard, and Gimmi.”
The 37-year-old also mentioned the obstacles he will have to overcome if he wants to become a successful GTE driver. He especially pointed out the traffic management which is, of course, one of the characteristic aspects of WEC. Nonetheless, this year, Jani will have to leave place for the prototypes instead of overtaking slower cars which is probably very challenging as it is a whole new way of thinking for a racing driver.
“One thing I’ve got to learn is how to deal with traffic. I’m not used to looking in my mirrors so much, but you still need to understand how not to lose time when you are being lapped by the prototypes.”
The swiss driver also revealed what he considers the major driving specificity in GTE.
“Driving in GTE is all about car rotation: you do that with a lot of steering input and on the brakes, but you’ve got to do it without killing the tyres.”
This Saturday, Neel Jani will participate in the 6 hours of Spa, alongside Kevin Estre in the Porsche 911 RSR number 92.