Joël Camathias is a racing driver from Switzerland who achieved the most in sports car racing. He was Le Mans Series GT2 class champion in 2006 and International GT Open champion in 2009. Most recently, he competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series.
Son of race car driver started a career in karting
Born in February 1981 in a family of race car driver Romeo Camathias, Joël spent his teenage years in karting competitions. He progressed to car racing in 1999, entering the Euro Open by Nissan series.
Driving for Italian team Scuderia Fama, he scored no wins or podiums in his debut season, finishing 15th in the points. He stayed in the same competition with the same team in 2000, scoring one podium to finish ninth in the points.
Racing in Formula 3000 and Champ Car
In 2001, Camathias participated in the International Formula 3000 Championship, driving for Belgian team KTR. He was 17th in the final standings. In 2001, he also made a debut in sports car racing, participating in several rounds of the FIA GT Championship with Redolfi Orlando team, not scoring notable results in a Porsche 996 GT3-RS. In 2002, he made just one start in the FIA GT Championship and part of the season in the Euro 3000 series.
In 2003, Camathias joined Dale Coyne Racing to try racing in the Champ Car World Series. He stayed with the team for seven rounds, finishing best in the ninth place at the Grand Prix of St.Petersburg. After seven rounds, he was replaced by Brazilian Gualter Salles.
In 2003, Camathias spent half of the season in the Champ Car World Series
Le Mans Series GT2 champion in 2006
After returning from the US, Camathias left open-wheel racing to focus on sports car racing. He was driving part-time for Autorlando Sport in the Le Mans Endurance Series, participating in one race in 2004 and three races in 2005. He also made five starts in the 2005 FIA GT Championship with Graham Hash Motorsport's Saleen and Autorlando's Porsche.
And then, in 2006, Marc Lieb became his teammate in the #76 Autorlando Sport Porsche 996 GT3-RS. They competed in a GT2 class of the Le Mans Series, winning one race (Spa) and adding three more podiums to take the championship title.
The #76 Porsche was a victorious car in the 2006 Le Mans Series season
International GT Open champion in 2009
In 2007, Camathias had a double programme, driving Porsches for James Watt Automotive(JWA) in the Le Mans Series and for Autorlando in the International GT Open series. He and Richard Lietz scored three wins in the GT Open, finishing second in the points.
In 2008, Camathias switched to Ferrari 430 GT2, driving it in the FIA GT Championship for BMS Scuderia Italia. He won GT2 class at Spa 24 Hours, sharing a car with Davide Rigon, Matteo Malucelli and Paolo Ruberti. In 2009, Camathias stayed in a Ferrari, driving the #5 Ferrari F430 GTC for Trottet Racing in the International GT Open. He and Marcel Fässler claimed both the Super GT title and the overall title.
In 2012, Camathias was driving the #55 Porsche for JWA-Avila
2012 - full season in FIA WEC and Le Mans 24h debut
In 2010, Camathias was out of racing and then returned to the International GT Open, driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for Drivex School and scoring two wins. In 2012, Camathias joined JWA-Avila team in the revived FIA World Endurance Championship, driving the #55 Porsche 997 GT3 RSR. Sharing a car with Markus Palttala and Paul Daniels, he made Le Mans 24 Hours debut in June, finishing 8th in GTE Am class.
In 2013, Camathias was again at the wheel of Ferrari, driving a Ferrari 458 Italia for Ombra in the International GT Open and for JMW Motorsport in the European Le Mans Series. In 2014, he was combining Porsche and Ferrari in the International GT Open but also recorded few starts in the GT Asia Series in an Aston Martin. In 2015, his main competition was the Italian GT Championship with Autorlando's Porsche but he also tried Audi R8 LMS in one round of the International GT Open.
Joel Camathias with grid girls
One more FIA WEC season with KCMG's Porsche
In 2016, Camathias returned to World Endurance Championship, spending a season with KCMG team. He was driving the #78 Porsche 991 RSR, sharing a car with Christian Ried and Wolf Henzler.
They scored five podiums in GTE Am class, finishing fifth in the final standings. At Le Mans 24 Hours, the #78 Porsche was tenth in GTE Am class.
Joël Camathias in 2017
Third place in the 2017 European Le Mans Series season
In 2017, Camathias stayed in a Porsche 991 RSR but switched from FIA WEC to the European Le Mans Series. He was sharing the #77 Proton Competition Porsche with Christian Ried and Matteo Cairoli, scoring a GTE class victory at season's finale in Portugal. They finished a season third in the final classification.
Camathias also joined Craft Bamboo Racing in a couple of races of the Blancpain GT Asia Series in a Porsche 911 GT3 R.