Defending Prototype Challenge Masters Champion Janco Continues to Improve While Racing on Two Continents
Wednesday, June 7, 2017

When Joel Janco won the Masters Championship in the Mazda Prototype Lites series last year, he achieved his goal. But then he got started on a new goal - racing in two different series on two different continents.

"I knew I wasn't going to win the series overall, but my goal was to beat the other 'old guys,'" Janco joked. "Unfortunately, IMSA categorizes old guys as over 40 and I'm 68 - that's a big gap."

Janco started racing around 25 years ago in a different sports car series and quickly worked his way up in the past five years.

"I had worked with Eurosport for one year and then Performance Tech for two years, and finally, I won the Masters Championship with JDC Motorsports," Janco said. "They all helped me move forward in skills, but the most important factor was my coach for the past three years. Jonaton Jorge is awesome!" 

"When Masters guys get on the podium, we think it's a big deal and we enjoy it. The Masters drivers are good, but they're just not as good as the kids so I think it's awesome that IMSA gives us podiums. I've raced against some of these guys for five years and they've become friends - sometimes you beat them and sometimes they beat you."

When he won in 2016, Janco was racing a Prototype Lites car. This year, he's racing an LMP3 Ligier JS P3 in both the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series and across the pond in Europe.

Janco will compete in six races in the European series at legendary tracks including Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Le Mans, Red Bull Ring, Circuit Paul Ricard, Spa-Francorchamps and Portimão Race Circuit.

He's also racing on the morning of the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Bronze class along with 42 other cars, including cars in both the Silver and Gold classes. The experienced driver is using an iRacing simulator to practice since he can't test on the Le Mans track.

Most races last two hours with two drivers splitting the time. Janco will be sharing a car with his JDC Motorsports teammate Gerry Kraut, IMSA Prototype Challenge competitor and Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona winner Kenton Koch and his coach, Jonatan Jorge. Each driver will compete twice with him throughout the 2017 season.He's also racing on the morning of the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Bronze class along with 42 other cars, including cars in both the Silver and Gold classes. The experienced driver is using an iRacing simulator to practice since he can't test on the Le Mans track.

Most recently, Janco and Kraut placed 11th in class at Monza. Kraut will also be his partner for the Le Mans round.

"It's two old guys from IMSA going over and doing Le Mans - it's a big deal for us," Janco said. "The Bronze class means you're old and/or unexperienced, and we're both!" he joked.

Janco admitted he has had to adjust from the 2016 season to now.

"The LMP3 car is very different from the Lites car," Janco said. "It's a really cool car - looks-wise and speed-wise, but it doesn't corner like the Lites car does. I like going into corners like my hair is on fire and that works with the Lites car but not the LMP3 car.

"Overall, I think IMSA has done an excellent job at providing a series that allows two groups to race together - it's young, fast kids racing with older gentlemen. A gentleman driver gets to compete at an IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship weekend in front of big crowds and drive with the young racing stars of the future - those kids at the front are going to be professional race car drivers."

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