Born on June 2, 1956 in Zandvoort, Jan Lammers started working at the anti-skid school of the legendary Dutch racing driver Rob Slotemaker. In 1972, at just 16, Jan won the racing school course at Zandvoort.
In 1973 still without a driver’s license for road cars, he won his first race in Group 1 touring cars in Slotemaker's Simca. He won three more races that year, making him the youngest auto racing champion of Holland. Jan won four races again in 1974, but mechanical difficulties in the last race prevented him from winning another title. The 1975 season was dissapointing with bad luck and disqualifications.
Progressing to the single-seater formulae, the pint-sized Dutchman started in Formula Ford in 1976. He started his first race from pole position and won international races at the Jyllandring and Mengen. In addition, in touring cars, he won three rounds with the Opel GTE of Opel Dealer Team and took the Dutch title for the second time.
Jan moved to London in 1977 to race in the European Formula 3 Championship. Driving for the Hawke factory team, the car was not competitive. he did earn a 3rd place podium finish at Zolder in the German Championship.
He then took the 1978 European F3 championship by the narrowest of margins with a Ralt, earning a chance with the restructured Shadow team alongside Elio de Angelis for 1979. The cars were not competitive, and Lammers found little more joy during his associations with ATS, Ensign and Theodore over the next two seasons, although he startled the Formula 1 fraternity at Long Beach in 1980 by qualifying his car fourth on the grid.
In 1979 he took part in the Tulpen Rally in The Netherlands with Opel, finnishing 5th overall and winning his class. He also took part the 1000 KM race at the Nurburging in a Group 5 Ford Capri turbo.
In 1980 he had more success in the BMW M1 Procar series, a championship contested during Grand Prix weekends with identical BMW M1 sportscars in which drivers such as Alan Jones, Didier Pironi and Nelson Piquet also raced. Lammers won at Donington, finnished 2nd at Avus and the Norisring, and startd from pole at Monaco. He was in line for the title until we was punted off the track at Imola. At Zandvoort Jan had one race in a March-BMW in the European Formula 2 Championship but retired from the race while running in third with mechanical failure. He also went rallying with a BMW.
In 1981 Nelson Piquet wanted Jan as his teammate at Brabham. Bernie Ecclestone invited him for a test at Donington, but in the end picked Mexican Hector Rebaque, possibly for financial reasons. Jan returned to ATS and at Kyalami was up to 3rd before brake problems forced an 'off' while battling for 2nd with Elio de Angelis. However he then had to make way for Swede Slim Borgudd who brought money from the popgroup ABBA.
In 1982 Jan was back in Formula 1 for Grand Prix of Belgium, however the Theodore-Ford of excentric Hong Kong businessman, Teyy Yip, had no tire contract and was without tires at Monaco. Despite this Jan managed to impress and attract the attention of a number of teams. Renault asked him to drive for them in Detroit to replace Alain Prost who had crashed in Monaco. However Prost, who wasleading the championship recovers in time. Thus Jan drove the Theodore at Detroit, However he was then approached by Ferrari before the first practive session to ask him whether he would be willing to replace Gilles Villeneuve (who was killed in Zolder) starting at Zandvoort. However, during that first practice session, the accelerator of the Theodore stuck and he hit the wall, breaking his thumb. Patrick Tambay signed the contract with Ferrari. Jan drove his last grand prix at Zandvoort. Irishman Tommy Byrne replaced his once again bringing a budet that Jan's driving could not compensate for. As always Jan was busy in other areas of motorsport and raced regularly in the European Renault 5 Turbo championship, taking wins at the Norisring and a podium at Monaco and Monza.
After his Grand Prix career fizzled out, Jan enjoyed a productive spell in the Richard Lloyd Porsche sports car team before having a crack at Indy Car racing late in 1985 . However, he found his greatest success in the TWR Jaguar team, partnering John Watson to three wins (Jarama, Monza and Mount Fuji) in 1987, and winning Le Mans in 1988 with Dumfries and Wallace. He also won the Daytona 24-hour race for Jaguar twice (1988 and '90). After racing in Japanese F3000 in 1991, Lammers joined the Toyota sports car team for 1992, and made an unexpected return to F1 at the end of the year with March. But plans for a full Grand Prix season in 1993 came to nought when the financially bereft Bicester team was finally forced to close its doors, leaving him to take in a limited programme of European F3000.
Jan was a somewhat surprising choice to race the TWR Volvo estate alongside Rickard Rydell in the 1994 BTCC, and though excellent progress was made in the car's debut year Lammers still hankered after a single-seater career. The Dutchman kicked off 1995 with a win in the F3000/F2 invitation race at Kyalami, and then took second place in the Sebring 12 Hours in a Ferrari with Bell and Wallace before he lined up with Vortex for a projected full season in F3000. Unfortunately, Jan rarely rose above the midfield positions and quit in frustration after just three races.
Since 1996 Lammers has concentrated on sports car and GT racing, initially with the factory Lotus team and then with the Konrad Motorsports Lola.
In 2001, Jan started his own team, Racing for Holland. Participates in the FIA Sportscar Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the new Dome S101. Driving with Val Hillebrand, Jan took podium finishes with 3rd places at Spa, Monza, Donington and Mondello. At Le Mans, Jan driving with Hillebrand and Donny Crevels, qualified the Dome-Judd in 4th between the factory teams of Audi, Bentley, Chrysler and MG. In the race, he even took the lead for a short while. The first FIA Sportscar Championship is ultimately concluded with two pole positions and one victory at the Nürburgring. In 2002, Racing for Holland is the focus of the championship. Jan wins with Val at Brno, Magny-Cours and Dijon and starts from pole position on four separate occasions. Together with a 3rd place at Estoril and a 2nd place at Spa, they won the FIA title, Jan's second after the F3 championship of 1978. At Le Mans, Jan again qualifies between the factoryteams (5th position) and finishes in 8th driving with Hillebrand and Tom Coronel.
In 2003, Racing for Holland was the team to beat once again for the FIA Sportscar championship. Jan won the championship with fellow Dutchman John Bosch, winning three races along the way. At Le Mans, Jan and John were joined by sportscar ace Andy Wallace. They qualified in 4th and mounted the main privateer challenge to the Bentley cars. After some misfortune, the car finished 6th, just 2 seconds behind the 5th placed car after an exciting two hour sprint to the line.