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IMSA Petit Le Mans Road Atlanta

Jani relishing Petit Le Mans return after decade-long absence

Neel Jani says he is relishing a chance to return to next month’s Petit Le Mans a full decade on from his 2013 victory at the IMSA SportsCar Championship season finale.

#12 Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60 Toyota: Nick Heidfeld, Neel Jani, Nicolas Prost

The Swiss driver will contest the Road Atlanta classic at the wheel of Proton Competition’s Porsche 963 LMDh alongside his regular World Endurance Championship team-mates, Harry Tincknell and Gianmaria Bruni.

It will mark Jani’s first Petit outing since he triumphed overall in 2013 driving a Lola B12/60-Toyota for Rebellion Racing (pictured top) together with Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld - which also marked the final race of the American Le Mans Series prior to the creation of the modern IMSA series.

As well as looking forward to the chance of aiming for a third Petit win, Jani says he is relishing the prospect of going into the weekend with a test at the same circuit beforehand.

That follows a troubled outing at Fuji last weekend in which the Proton 963 showed impressive pace but was denied a shot at a top result by a “freak” seat belt issue that left it ninth at the finish.

“We’ll test at Road Atlanta in late September, so it will be the first race where we will have had a test beforehand,” Jani told Motorsport.com.

“We will get a bit more in the groove. And we know how IMSA is: everything is possible. From that point of view, I’m very excited to be there with Harry and Gimmi. We want to be up there.

"It will be the first time that we are not starting totally on the back foot, like here or Monza, where the car is brand new for that weekend. The seatbelts, the pedals… all these things will be sorted!

“Then Bahrain [the WEC season finale in November] is the race where we start really building ourselves up for next year.”

 

Although it appears likely Jani will stay on at Proton for the 2024 WEC season, the 39-year-old underlined that no deal is in place yet.

“The only deal I have in place for next year is the one with Audi [as a simulator driver for the marque’s Formula 1 project],” Jani said. “About the rest, we’ll see.

“But it’s clear that my aim is LMDh and WEC… and for sure I want to do Daytona [Rolex 24] as well, because it’s the one I’m missing from my CV.”

Proton will also be in action for this weekend's IMSA round on the Indianapolis road course with Tincknell and Bruni competing as a two-driver line-up.

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