Khardung-La/Mumbai, October 9, 2011: Around the time newly crowned 2011 Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel was establishing his own world record at Suzuka, Japan, the Red Bull Racing team was scaling new heights in India, too.
The reigning World Champions defied odds of every kind by 'taking the high road,' literally. Red Bull Racing driver Neel Jani drove the Red Bull Racing Formula One Show car on the World’s Highest Motorable Road at the Khardung-La pass in the Leh region of India at a dizzying height of 18,380 feet. This makes Red Bull Racing the first Formula One team to have ever managed to transport, fire-up and drive an F1 car on what is arguably the most challenging driving terrain in the world.
Barely a week after Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo dazzled New Delhi with his driving skills, it was Neel Jani’s turn to go down in history. A Swiss driver of Indian origin, Jani expertly drove the Red Bull Racing Formula One car through the various roads of the Leh region in India’s extreme north. During the journey, Jani and the Red Bull Racing F1 car passed the famous Thiksey Monastery, stopped by the Shanti Stupa and encountered the famous rolling roads of South Pullu.
Neel was also greeted along the way by the Honourable Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Mr. Omar Abdullah. He flagged off a part of the historic journey, which represents an impressive engineering and logistical achievement.
Anthony Ward, Head of Brand for Red Bull Racing said, “It is a testament to the engineering crew of Red Bull Racing that we have been able to get a Formula One car running from 11,000 feet, all the way up to the 18,380 feet mark. Logistically too, this project demonstrates Red Bull Racing’s commitment to continually pushing boundaries.”
For 27-year-old Neel Jani, veteran of drives like Red Bull Racing’s journey to Table Mountain in South Africa, this was an experience he’s unlikely to forget in a hurry. “Of all the places I’ve driven around the world, Khardung La has got to be the most humbling. The Himalayas are as imposing as anything in the world and to become a part of history here will be a cherished memory,” said Jani.
The Red Bull Speed Street Leh project marks another milestone for Red Bull Racing; it joins the team’s other impressive runs, including Tom Cruise testing the car in California, the Texas cowboy/track run, the Santo Domingo Beach Run and the Canadian Red Bull Frozen One on ice.