Las Vegas: Neel Jani preview
Las Vegas will be one of the important races in my career" (Deutscher Text weiter unten) By next Sunday, Swiss race driver Neel Jani will participate in his first Champ Car World Series event in Las Vegas. This Series is the American equivalent to Formula 1, racing only on street and road racetracks. The 23 years Rookie has already impressed by placing himself consistently in the top three of pre-seasons tests. Regular podiums as well as a championship top three standing are the clear targets for the Swiss driver.
Neel Jani will compete this season for Indianapolis based Team Red Bull PKV Racing, has strongly impressed during pre-season testing by always keeping up or even beating Series most experienced drivers, establishing himself as one of the best Rookie for 2007 already. "Test results give me lots of confidence, but the race is something different, like a new story" explains the Champ Car newbie. All racetracks will be new to the young Swiss driver and the race strategy which in America is characterized by numerous "full course yellow" Safety Car phases, regulated pit opening times as well as obligation to use two different types of tires per race will require some adaptation. Compared to Formula 1, the car has similar power (750 to 800 HP) but does not offer power steering or traction control and has less aerodynamic down force, making it much more physical to drive.
But Jani feels ready thanks to his intensive pre-season physical training. "After the last tests in Laguna Seca, I have accepted the invitation of Team owner Kevin Kalkhoven to share a few days with him in Aspen, Colorado. Thanks to the high 3000 m altitude, it was a great opportunity to complete my training". This allowed Jani to intensively train his arms and shoulders which will play a predominant role in the car control over the distance of a race (2 hours). He then spent a few weeks in Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles to finalize his preparation for the first race.
"You race to win" explains Jani. "But a realistic goal is to achieve frequent top five's, regular podiums and a Championship standing within the top three".
The Swiss would like to already impress during the first season's event in Las Vegas. "The race around the well known streets of Las Vegas will be an important race and will be for sure an exciting experience". He will not take his chance by gambling inside the impressive number of Casinos but by racing outside in the streets in front of 250'000 spectators. "There I can maybe cash the jackpot" says Jani with a smile.
The well known local Casino operators seem also confident into his abilities: the gamblers have noticed Jani's top performances during testing and quote him 4 :1 as third favorite. Those who will bet on Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais (6:5) or 2003 Champion Paul Tracy (5:2) will cash less money in any situation.
The Champ Car World Series will perform in 2007 using common Panoz chassis and Cosworth engines. 16 races with 18 cars on the grid are planned on four continents including two in Europe in Assen and Zolder beginning of September. Neel-jani.com