Among many Dutch racing drivers who participated in Formula One races, Jan Lammers didn't leave any notable trail in the premium single-seater racing series, but he can still be proclaimed as one of the best drivers from Netherlands ever.
His victories at two famous endurance races are truly unforgettable. Lammers participated at 24 hours of Le Mans twenty-two times and scored one overall victory (in 1988) plus few more podiums. At 24 hours of Daytona, he participated eleven times and took one overall victory (in 1990). He was also a double champion of the FIA Sportscar Championship in 2002 and 2003, driving for his own team Racing for Holland.
Jan Lammers started his racing career in 1972 and he still isn't over. In more than 40 years of racing, he proved to be a versatile driver, who participated in almost 500 races in various racing disciplines. He participated in the Indy Car World Series, British Touring Car Championship and, in recent years, in a truck category of Dakar Rally.
From car washer to racing driver
Johannes "Jan" Lammers was born on June 2nd, 1956, in Zandvoort. He had an unusual start of a racing career. As a kid born near famous Zandvoort circuit, he attended circuit a lot and started to work as a car washer in a driving school of the famous Dutch racer Rob Slotemaker. As a 12-year-old boy, he was involved in working with customers, showing them how to slide safely. Slotemaker recognized Lammers' talent and pushed him into races.
Lammers participated in his first race when he was 16, next year he was already a champion. Driving Simca 1000 Rallye for Rob Slotemaker's Antislipscholen, he won four out of five races in the Group 1 of the Dutch Touring Car Championship and took the title.
1978 Formula 3 European champion
In the next couple of years, he continued to work for Slotemaker and raced occasionally at Zandvoort. In August 1975, he participated in Zandvoort's round of the European Touring Car Championship, driving BMW 2002. In 1976, Lammers switched to single-seater racing and entered the Dutch Formula Ford. The next step was Formula 3 in 1977. He was driving for Hawke Racing in the European and British (BRDC) Championship, but without any success.
In 1978, he joined Racing Team Holland run by Alan Docking. His teammates were Huub Rothengatter and Arie Luyendyk, who also had impressive careers. The team led Lammers to his first international championship title. With four wins and nine podiums in 15 races, Lammers became the 1978 European F3 champion.
Formula One debut in 1979
The next step on the ladder was Formula One. Lammers joined Shadow Racing Team for 1979 Formula One season, alongside Elio de Angelis as a teammate. In January, Lammers debuted at the Argentine Grand Prix. In the second round, in Brazil, he finished the race in 14th place. His best result was ninth place at Canadian Grand Prix and he ended the season without points in fifteen races.
In July 1979, Lammers partnered Hans Heyer at 1000 km of Nurburgring, in the Zakspeed's Ford Capri Turbo, but they didn't finish the race. During his debut year in Formula One, Lammers also recorded his first participation in the rally. He was driving the Opel Kadett GT/E at the AMA Internationale Tulpenrallye and finished fifth overall. He participated in one more rally two years later, at 1981 Limburgia Rally in Belgium, driving BMW 323i. He returned to rallying in 2010 entering the Dakar Rally.
1980 F1 season with two teams
In 1980, Lammers continued his Formula One career moving to Team ATS. He failed to qualify at three races with ATS D3 car. The team then switched to ATS D4 and Lammers qualified for three races, finishing best in the 12th place at Belgium Grand Prix. In the second part of the season, Lammers moved to Unipart Racing Team, failing to qualify five times and starting in just three races.
During 1980, Lammers had more success in the BMW M1 Procar competition, that was a part of Grand Prix weekends and F1 drivers were involved. Lammers has won one race at Donington and finished fourth in the standings.
Just three F1 races in two seasons
In 1981, Lammers returned to the Team ATS. He qualified for races at Long Beach and Buenos Aires, finishing 12th in Argentina. From round 5 he was replaced with Slim Borgudd. Lammers returned to Formula One in the fifth race of the 1982 season, joining Theodore Racing Team. He failed to qualify at five events, entering only the race at his home track Zandvoort, but unfortunately, he retired in that race.
His first visit to Le Mans in 1983
In 1983, Lammers left Formula One and he made some changes when it comes to his career. He joined Richard Lloyd Racing to compete in endurance races with Porsche 956. He participated in six races of the World Endurance Championship, he reached two podiums (at Silverstone and Nurburgring) and finished 7th in the points. Lammers competed for the first time at 24 hours of Le Mans, partnering Jonathan Palmer and Richard Lloyd in the #14 Porsche 956. They finished 8th overall.
Two titles in the Renault 5 Turbo Eurocup
Besides with Porsche, Lammers also raced with small but powerful Renault 5 Turbo in the one-make Renault 5 Turbo Eurocup. He won four races and took the title. He repeated that result one more time in 1984, winning the title ahead of a teammate Michael Bleekemolen.
In 1984, Lammers stayed with Richard Lloyd Racing in the World Endurance Championship, still with Porsche 956. At Le Mans, Lammers and Palmer didn't finish the race. Later in the season, they won at Brands Hatch and it was the only Lammers' victory. He finished sixth in the championship standings.
Diverse racing schedule in 1985
In 1985, Lammers had a very wide and diverse schedule (when it comes to races) in five different competitions. He had one-off appearances in the IMSA GTP Championship (at 3 hours of Miami) and at the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix (3rd place). He drove a full season in the Renault Alpine V6 Series and finished third.
In the 1985 World Endurance Championship, Lammers started the season with Lloyd's Porsche but later moved to Tom Walkinshaw Racing's Jaguar XJR-6. He finished second at Selangor race and he finished 26th in the championship.
Two partial seasons in the Indy Car World Series
The main thing in 1985 was Lammers' participation in the Indy Car World Series. In June, he participated in two races at Portland and Meadowlands with AMI Racing. He returned to America in October and November to participate in the last three rounds of the season with Forsythe Racing. His best result was fifth place at Laguna Seca in the Forsythe's Lola T900. Lammers collected 11 points and finished 26th in the classification.
The similar schedule repeated in the 1986 Indy Car World Series season. Lammers participated in three opening rounds for Curb-Agajanian Racing and later returned to the States for three last races with Machinists Union Racing. He scored the best result again at Laguna Seca, finishing eighth.
Racing with famous prototypes
Lammers was driving Porsche, Jaguar and Nissan in the endurance races. He participated for the first time at 24 hours of Daytona, partnering Derek Warwick and John Morton in the BF Goodrich Racing's Porsche 962, but they didn't finish the race. In the 1986 FIA World Sports-Prototype Championship, Lammers shared the Silk Cut Jaguar XJR-6 with Derek Warwick and they took two podiums at Jerez and Nurburgring.
In September, Lammers joined Electramotive Engineering to drive Nissan GTP ZX-T at Watkins Glen 500-km race. The last but not least, Lammers again competed at the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix and again finished third.
Runner-up in the 1987 World Championship
In 1987, Lammers focused on his driving in the World Sports-Prototype Championship. The #5 Silk Cut Jaguar XJR-8 was victorious at three races (Jarama, Monza and Fuji) and he finished second in the championship, behind teammate Raul Boesel. At Le Mans, the #5 Jaguar had an accident, so Lammers joined Eddie Cheever and Raul Boesel in the #4 car and they finished fifth.
During 1987, Lammers also participated in six races of the Formula 3000 Japan, winning one race and finishing 8th in the points. He didn't miss the traditional non-championship event, Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix and he finished second.
1988 Le Mans victory with Jaguar XJR-9
In 1988, Lammers participated in 23 races of the IMSA GTP Championship and World Sports-Prototype Championship, driving the Jaguar XJR-9. At the season-opening Daytona 24-hour race he started from the second place but retired due to overheating.
At 24 hours of Le Mans, Lammers was sharing the #2 Jaguar XJR-9 with Johnny Dumfries and Andy Wallace. Later in the race, the car suffered from gearbox problems, which is why Lammers was driving only in fourth gear to prevent bigger damage. The #17 Porsche was chasing Jaguar and got very close, but Lammers succeed to cross the finish line as the winner, ending the seven-year reign of Porsches at Le Mans.
1990 Daytona victory with Jaguar XJR-12
The similar schedule followed in 1989, with fourteen races in the IMSA GTP Championship and eight races in the World Championship. Lammers missed the wins both at Daytona and Le Mans. He won at Portland and Del Mar and took the 6th place in the IMSA championship.
In 1990, Lammers scored only one victory at the American tracks, but it was the biggest race which is why that victory was very important. He finally won 24 hours of Daytona, sharing the #61 Jaguar XJR-12 with Davy Jones and Andy Wallace. At 24 hours of Le Mans, the #2 Silk Cut Jaguar finished second, driven by Lammers, Wallace and Franz Konrad. The winning car was the #3 Jaguar of John Nielsen, Price Cobb and Martin Brundle.
It was the Lammers' last Le Mans race with Jaguar and his last overall podium. He later returned to Le Mans 16 times with ten different cars.
Two years of Japanese adventure
In 1991, Lammers left the prototype racing for one season and competed only in the Japanese Formula 3000, driving ten races for Team LeMans. He took one podium at Suzuka and finished 11th in the championship.
His Japanese adventure continued in 1992. He joined Toyota Team TOM's to drive their TS010 prototype in the Japanese Sportscar Championship and the World Sportscar Championship, including Le Mans. Partnering Andy Wallace and Teo Fabi, Lammers finished 8th overall at Le Mans 24-hour race.
Formula One comeback in 1992
In 1992, Lammers made a two-race comeback in Formula One, driving for March team at the last two events in Japan and Australia. He returned toFormula One after ten years and it was the longest gap between two F1 appearances in the history. He retired at the Japanese Grand Prix and finished 12th at the Australian Grand Prix. Lammers had an agreement to continue the cooperation with March F1 team in 1993, but the team bankrupted before the season started.
In 1993, Lammers returned to Le Mans with Toyota, partnering Geoff Lees and Juan Manual Fangio II in the #38 Toyota TS010. They finished eighth overall. Lammers spent most of the season driving for Il Barone Rampante team in the Formula 3000, finishing 15th in the points after six races without wins and podiums.
Estate version of racing Volvo was something completely different
In 1994, it was a time for something completely different and Lammers entered the British Touring Car Championship, driving revolutionary Volvo 850 estate car for Tom Walkinshaw Racing, alongside Swedish driver Rickard Rydell. In 21 races, Lammers' best result was fifth place at Brands Hatch and he finished 15th in the points. In September, Lammers traveled to Australia to participate in the Sandown 500 race, driving Volvo 850 T5 together with Kent Youlden. They finished 18th overall and 4th in the Production class.
Lammers left BTCC after one season. In 1995, he joined Auto Toy Store to drive Spice SE90 prototype at 12 hours of Sebring, alongside Andy Wallace and Derek Bell. They finished second. During the season, Lammers participated in three races of the International Formula 3000 and one non-championship race, in which he won, driving for Vortex team.
Global GT Championship with Lotus
At the age of 40, Lammers was far from retirement and he joined Lotus Racing for the full season in the 1996 Global GT Championship, to drive Lotus Esprit V8. His best result was the second place at Silverstone, sharing the car with Perry McCarthy.
At the 1996 24 hours of Le Mans, Lammers joined Mario Andretti and Derek Warwick in the Courage Competition's LMP1 Porsche-powered prototype. They finished 13th overall and third in LMP1 class.
Part-time races with variety of cars
Lammers and Lotus Racing continued their cooperation in 1997. He was driving the Lotus Elise GT1 at the FIA GT Championship, sharing the car with Mike Hezemans. They also participated at Le Mans race, partnered with Alexander Grau, but they retired due to an oil leak.
In 1998, Lammers became a part-time racer and competed with four different teams at the FIA GT Championship and at Le Mans. In the GT1 class of the championship he was driving Bitter GT1 for Team Hezemans, in the GT2 class, he drove Porsche 911 for Roock Racing and Konrad Motorsport, while at Le Mans he joined Nissan factory team. His co-drivers in the Nissan R390 GT1 were Erik Comas and Andrea Montermini. They finished sixth overall.
Racing for Holland team was active since 1999
In 1999, Lammers started his own team - Racing for Holland. In the beginning, the team cooperated with Konrad Motorsport and entered Le Mans together with Lola B98/10 prototype. Other Dutch drivers were Peter Kox and Tom Coronel. They didn't reach the finish at Circuit de la Sarthe due to gearbox failure.
The retirement repeated at 2000 Le Mans race, again with Lammers, Kox and Coronel in the car, the new generation Lola 2K/10 prototype. Besides in Europe, Lammers raced with Konrad Motorsport in the United States, at Daytona, Sebring and Petit Le Mans, but without notable results.
Victorious seasons in the FIA Sportscar Championship
In 2001, the Racing for Holland team entered the full season of the FIA Sportscar Championship, using the SR1 class Dome S101 (Judd). Lammers competed in eight races and scored one win (at Nurburgring) and finished fourth in the championship. At Le Mans, Lammers partnered Donny Crevels and Val Hildebrand, they retired after 156 laps.
In 2002, Lammers started the season participating at Daytona 24-hour race, together with Johnny Mowlem and Tony Stewart, but Crawford Racing's SSC2K prototype didn't reach the finish. Lammers was more successful at 12 hours of Sebring, taking the second place with Champion Racing's Audi R8, alongside Andy Wallace and Stefan Johansson.
Two championship titles with his own team
Later in the season, Racing for Holland's Dome S101 won three out of six races at the FIA Sportscar Championship and Lammers became the champion, sharing the crown with Val Hildebrand. At 2002 Le Mans race, the pair brought Tom Coronel to their team and they finished 8th overall.
In 2003, Lammers took the back-to-back title at the FIA Sportscar Championship, again driving the Dome 101 prototype to three victories in six races. This time, his co-driver was John Bosch. At Le Mans, the team finished sixth overall.
Few years of mixed American-European racing program
It was the last season of the FIA Sportscar Championship, so Lammers had to find something new for 2004. He went to America to participate in seven races of the American Le Mans Series and Grand American Rolex Series with three different teams. He finished 4th overall at Daytona 24h, driving for Doran Lista Racing, and third at Petit Le Mans, driving for Dyson Racing. At 2004 Le Mans race, drivers of Racing for Holland's Dome 101 were Lammers, American Chris Dyson and Japanese Katsutomo Kaneishi. The international trio finished seventh overall.
In 2005, Lammers joined Howard-Boss Motorsports in five races of the Grand American Rolex Series, winning one race at Mont-Tremblant. His co-drivers were Andy Wallace and female driver Milka Duno. In Europe, Racing for Holland competed in the Le Mans Endurance Series, including 24 hours of Le Mans. Elton Julian, John Bosch and Jan Lammers finished seventh overall at Le Mans.
Sharing the car with Danica Patrick
In January 2006, Lammers had interesting co-drivers at 24 hours of Daytona. Howard-Boss's Crawford prototype was driven by Lammers, Danica Patrick, Allan McNish and Rusty Wallace. They didn't reach the finish due to overheating issues.
Lammers also didn't reach the finish at Le Mans race, driving Dome S101 alongside Alex Yoong and Stefan Johansson. He and Yong were more successful at Nurburgring 1000-km race, where they finished third.
Two seasons in the Dutch BMW 130i Cup
In 2007, Lammers didn't go to America, he competed only in Europe, entering the full season of the Dutch BMW 130i Cup. He took one podium in twelve races and finished 10th in the points. He also had a guest appearance in one round of the ADAC GT Masters, driving the Lamborghini Gallardo for Reiter Engineering at Zolder.
Lammers, of course, didn't miss Le Mans race. His co-drivers in the Racing for Holland's Dome prototype were Jeroen Bleekemolen and David Hart. They finished 25th overall and 8th in LMP1 class.
Various racing competitions in 2008 and 2009
In 2008, 52-year old Lammers had an intense racing program, with full seasons in three competitions. He again entered BMW 130i Cup, then drove the Lamborghini Gallardo for Reiter in the ADAC GT Masters and participated in five races of the Le Mans Series for Horag Racing. At 2008 Le Mans race, he joined Charouz Racing System to drive Lola B07/17 LMP1 prototype alongside Greg Picket and Klaus Graff. They retired after 146 laps due to engine failure.
In 2009, Lammers was mostly focused on GT racing, competing in the Dutch GT4 championship with Ford Mustang FR500C and in the ADAC GT Masters with Lamborghini Gallardo.
Regular Dakar Rally competitor since 2010
Completely new challenge followed in 2010 when Lammers entered the Dakar Rally for the first time, not with a car but in the truck category. He was returning to Dakar Rally another six times, not skipping any race between 2011 and 2016.
In the meantime, he participated one more time at Le Mans, joining Swiss team Hope Racing in the 2011 edition of the endurance classic. His co-drivers were Steve Zacchia and Casper Elgaard. They retired after 115 laps. He also participated in the Dutch GT Championship, driving Porsche 911 GT4 in 2011 and 2012.
In recent years, Lammers became the regular Dakar Rally competitor and currently it's his main interest. In the future, who knows, maybe he will find a new racing adventure. It's never too late, he is just 60 years old.
Video : Jan Lammers talks about his career and Dakar Rally