2016 may be the most challenging Le Mans finish in recent years to watch. Even as a devout Porschephile, watching Toyota’s car slowly come to a stop with so little time left in the race was heartbreaking. As Norbert Singer said, “Le Mans is not just top speed, it is also durability. You have to run first 24 hours, then you can see where you are.” Despite Toyota’s misfortune late in the race, Porsche still ran a very strong race and was steadily closing the gap at the time of Toyota’s mechanical failure. Neel Jani, now on the cusp of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, recounts this unusual victory.
According to Jani, 2016 was a three way race between his 919 and the two Toyotas. This year, the six car LMP1 field will include two Porsches, one Nissan-powered ByKolles entry and no fewer than three Toyota TS050s. With opposition like this, Porsche will need to use Jani’s self-confessed tendency to take risks others might not.
We certainly hope Neel Jani, or one of his teammates, has the opportunity to lead the final lap of the 24 Hours of Le Mans once again. Based on the first two races of this season, Le Mans 2017 is truly anyone’s race.