He may not have enjoyed the longest of F1 careers, but Neel Jani has emulated Red Bull stable-mate Sebastian Vettel in taking the drinks brand and its motorsport flagship to the top of the world.
Around the time that Vettel was establishing his own world record at Suzuka, by becoming the youngest double champion in grand prix history, Jani and the Red Bull Racing team were scaling new heights in India, by scaling the world's highest developed road on the Khardung-La pass in India.
The reigning world champions defied odds of every kind by literally 'taking the high road' as former Toro Rosso reserve Jani drove the team's show car on the highest motorable road at the Khardung-La pass - at a dizzying height of 18,380 feet - through the Leh region of India. The achievement makes Red Bull Racing the first F1 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.
“It is a testament to the engineering crew of Red Bull Racing that we have been able to get an F1 car running from 11,000 feet, all the way up to the 18,380 feet mark," Anthony Ward, head of brand for Red Bull Racing, said, "Logistically, too, this project demonstrates Red Bull Racing's commitment to continually pushing boundaries.”
For 27-year old Jani, already a 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. Barely a week after Red Bull-backed Daniel Ricciardo dazzled New Delhi with his driving skills, it was the driver of Indian descent's turn to go down in history as he piloted the car through the various roads of the Leh region in India's extreme north, passing 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, Omar Abdullah, who flagged off a part of the historic journey.
“Of all the places I've driven around the world, Khardung La has got to be the most humbling," Jani admitted, "The Himalayas are as imposing as anything in the world and to become a part of history here will be a cherished memory.”
Watch out for video footage from the Kardung-La run next week on Crash.net.