PKV Racing finally makes Jani official PKV Racing announced today that Neel Jani will campaign a Red Bull-branded car for the team during the 2007 Champ Car World Series season.
Jani, 23, a native of Jens, Switzerland, spent the 2006 season as a test driver for the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula 1 team and competed in four GP2 races plus four A1 GP events taking the win and finishing fourth in Malaysia. A member of the Red Bull driver development program since 2005, Jani will pilot the #21 Red Bull PKV Racing Cosworth/Panoz/Bridgestone machine this year.
“We are very excited to have a driver of Neel’s caliber join PKV Racing,” said PKV Racing co-owner Jimmy Vasser. “Neel has been competitive at every level during his racing career and I am looking forward to helping him through the learning curve during his inaugural Champ Car season.”
Vasser went on to say, “We are also extremely fortunate to have the support of a company like Red Bull. We feel that the combination of Neel Jani and Red Bull gives PKV Racing the opportunity to fulfill our goal of challenging for race wins and championships now and in the future.”
Jani began his career karting in 1996 at age 12 continuing through 1999. In 2000, he moved into the Swiss Formula A Lista Junior Championship where he achieved his first formula car title winning eight of 12 events with four second place showings. In 2001 and 2002, Jani competed in the Formula Renault 2000 European Championship finishing second in 2002 winning three of nine events. Jani joined the Renault V6 series in 2003 capturing four wins and 12 podiums in route to a second place showing in the European Championship. He placed fourth in the Formula V6 standings in 2004. During the 2003 and 2004 seasons, Jani tested for the Swiss Formula 1 Sauber Petronas team. In 2005, with the backing of Red Bull, Jani competed in the GP2 series which took the place of F3000. He scored two victories (Budapest and Monza) for the Red Bull-supported Racing Engineering team and finished seventh in the championship in 2005. Having made a solid impression, Jani was named test and Friday driver for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team for the 2006 season.
Commenting on his move to the Champ Car World Series and PKV Racing, Jani said, “Following the 2006 season the next step in my racing career was to compete in either Champ Cars or Formula 1. Thanks to Red Bull I was given the opportunity to run in Champ Cars with PKV Racing. PKV is a very professional and competitive outfit. It is a young team, but has strong management, outstanding mechanics and a solid background. I am looking forward to a competitive debut in Champ Cars and having the most successful season in the team’s history.”
Jani previously tested for PKV Racing December 4-5 in Houston, Texas driving last year’s Lola chassis. He is scheduled to test again at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida on January 23-25.
Today’s announcement expands Red Bull’s participation in the Champ Car World Series. In December of 2006 Forsythe Racing announced that Red Bull, the world’s leading energy drink, would support two cars in the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. The cars will be driven by 17-year-old Canadian Robert Wickens and 15-year-old American John Edwards. Both drivers are members of the Red Bull Junior Team program.