"X1 Racing League is a logical step to develop motorsports in the country," says Neel Jaani
India has been the hot spot for sporting leagues since the start of the IPL, with sports like football, kabaddi, volleyball, hockey and now, Indian Motorsport is all set for the world's first ever franchise-based motorsport league.
The X1 Racing League was launched by the country’s top international young car racers Armaan Ebrahim and Aditya Patel and sanctioned by The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI).
X1 Racing lately revealed that Neel Jani and Rahel Frey are the first two international professional racers who would be participating at the upcoming X1 Racing League.
Neel Jani shared his thoughts on the X1 Racing League, his previous racing experience in the country and more in an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda.
SK: How did you get to know about the X1 Racing League? What prompted you to join the series?
Neel: I know Aditya Patel for a long time and we have stayed in contact over the years. So I heard from him about the X1 Racing League and I thought it is a great idea for Indian Motorsport. I am not yet sure I can join the races as my schedule with Porsche is not yet finalized for the end of the year.
SK: What has been your previous driving experiences in India?
Neel: I have had two incredible driving experiences in India. I had the honor of opening the Buddh International Circuit with Red Bull and was the first driver to drive an F1 car on the circuit.
And very memorable was when I drove on the highest motorable road in the world, the Khardung-La pass. Driving at those heights was no easy feat! Since the air is very thin up there, the boys had to adjust the engine so that it could even run. We also had to spend time adjusting our bodies to the altitude. That was definitely one of my most memorable and special show runs. I even have a picture of me driving up the pass hanging in my living room!
SK: Franchise based league has been the trend of late in multiple sports in the world. What are your views on this series and how do you think it helps the Motorsport scenes in India?
Neel: Running a race team needs passionated owners, as it is when you own a cricket or football team. So introducing this system in Motorsports is a logical step to develop motorsports in a country that does not yet have a big racing heritage as for example Germany or Italy.
SK: Neel, you have driven F1, LMP1, and many other cars in racing series' across the world, which one is your favorite and why?
Neel: Of all the cars I have personally driven, I would have to say that the Porsche LMP1 Evo was my favorite. That car was an absolute beast! 1200bhp 0-200kph in 4.5seconds, and 0-300kph in about 7 seconds!
The driver is the limit, not the machine, as it gets very physical to drive the car at its limit! I pulled over 6g in Spa, when we did the lap record in 2018!
SK: Other than racing what are you looking forward to in India?
Neel: India is a country so rich in culture. No visit has ever been the same for me, and not knowing what awaits me is what I enjoy most. That and, of course, the food. I love Indian food!