Noel Jammal drove a Cedar to win last year’s European F3 Open season (Class C or Copa F306/300). The team that was founded by his father also clinched the Class A title, with Spanish driver Marko Barba and went on to win the constructor’s championship with class. The Cedars Motorsport team was all over the news last year, and the last couple of races were broadcasted live on TV for the Lebanese public to witness the team’s success.
We met Noel on his 21st birthday at what is now known as the home of circuit racing in Lebanon, PIT STOP. We had some kids driving on the track, maybe the champions of the future, and the established Lebanese junior Karting youngsters all around us to give this interview some motor sporting touch.
2010 and the Cedars team
We started what turned to be a thrilling conversation from where the dream started. In 2010 Noel made his full official participation in an official circuit racing championship. To say the least about his great start, he won it. “2010 was an amazing year, we had a good performance and we didn’t expect to win but we made it at the end” noel starts when asked about 2010. Noel won his first race in 2010 and although he had some trouble during the year, he believes his team has done a very good job snagging 5 victories. “It was a perfect year to be honest.We founded the team and gave it a special name (Cedars). We won the team championship, and we won the “Class A” championship with Marko Barba and the “Class C” championship with me.”
Noel started racing the European F3 Open season in 2009 where he ended the season with 6 points. But to our surprise his first encounter with motorsports was in 1999 on bikes where he won a Spanish local championship. Noel never raced again until 2008 wherehe started racing Karts and started to get attached to the sports. He then left to the united states to get back to racing in 2009.
Noel’s racing career started as a gift from his father. He came with the idea that instead of getting the usual normal present, he would like to do one of the driving tests done by Mercedes or Audi. His father believed that Noel would enjoy a real racing car, and suddenly Noel found himself testing. He impressed from his first outing in a single seater and moved on to become a champion in 2010.
2011 and the future plans
“We are starting the season on April 15. We had our first test 2 weeks ago where I tested the class A car. The car is practically very different from the class C car, especially in the area related to aerodynamics.” Noel scored the 4th time on his first day of testing then improved from 6th to 1st on the second day of testing, to conclude the testing period on a high before the start of the season. Noel still has some testing to do, ahead of the season but he surely feels optimistic about his chances.
Last year’s Class A winner was Marko Barba, when asked if Marko gave Noel some advice on the class car, Noel answers “I know Marko before racing; he is one of my best friends. Last year Marko helped me a lot, from our side we have done a lot, but now it’s up to me to deliver.”
Noel seems to be a realistic easy going Lad. He is building for a bright future and he seems optimistic about it. “If I do well this year in the championship, I will be probably jumping into GP2, from there on we will see. I dream to go to formula, but I’m not going to talk about it, since it has become very difficult to be in Formula 1 nowadays. I have to do a good job and we will see.”
When talking about F1 we asked Noel about his favorite driver “Well to be honest I really don’t have a favorite driver, but I think Alonso is the most complete package and Hamilton is the fastest on the track but he is not as mature as Alonso.”
Away from racing
Noel Loves skiing and every time he comes to Lebanon he goes with his friends and does some skiing. “Although I’m not supposed to be saying this, but I love partying so much. I’m stopping partying a bit for now, since I have to prepare for the season, and I have to lose 6 kilos.” Noel says bluntly and honestly.
Noel is working on his physical preparations pretty well but he is not doing weights. His training is concentrating on cardio and some aerobics.
One last message
At the end of this thrilling conversation Noel thanks all his fans that supported him last year especially on Facebook but he had one more thing to say: “Don’t speed on the roads with normal cars. Last year I had a big shunt in MagnyCours at 250 Km p/h and as you can see nothing happened. Race cars are designed to be safe for speeding, unlike normal cars. I would like to ask everybody not to drink and drive.”
(Special thanks to Kamal Najem)