13th September 2018
Jordan King’s rookie season has been one full of positives and as the 24-year old prepares for the final race of his maiden campaign, he looks back on the biggest step of his career to date.
After battling in the European ranks for the almost ten years, 2018 saw Jordan King venture on a new chapter in his career as he moved to the USA to join Ed Carpenter Racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Leaving his friends and family behind in the UK, Jordan made the 4,000 mile journey across the pond to start life in Indianapolis.
Indy car marked Jordan’s first championship outside of the ‘junior ranks’ of motorsport as he left Formula Two behind after three full seasons with the Formula One feeder series. With the Verizon IndyCar Series being one of the most competitive series in the world, Jordan knew he would have to be at his best from the word go and the British talent certainly delivered at the first round of the season in St. Petersburg as he set a new lap record, made it through to the ‘fast-six shootout’ and led the race on merit.
“Getting up to speed quickly was crucial in my development as I didn’t want to be playing catch up. There were always going to be things to learn along the length of the season but I think ability wise I have been there from the start, with the best qualifying result I've had coming at the start of the year at St. Petersburg and we led the race on merit so it doesn’t get much better than that in your first race.”
Making headlines on your first race weekend is one way to announce your arrival into a new series and Jordan has continued to impress throughout the season - most notably being his qualifying performances where he has progressed from the first round of qualifications in more than half of his races this year.
“I’ve been happy with the speed through the season, it’s been a very positive campaign. I’ve learnt a lot and made a lot of progress and shown that I can race at the front which is good. As for results, I’m a little disappointed with the results just because there’s been 3 or 4 occasions where there could have been a podium on the cards and for whatever reason it didn’t happen so I’m a little disappointed. But overall, I’m really happy with the consistency and the pace we’ve shown through the year.”
A year of firsts saw Jordan racing on tracks he had never been to before, in a brand new car, on tyres he had never used before and with a team he had only just begun working with. All of this made Jordan’s learning curve a steep one and it has been the finer details that Jordan has come to respect as he understands pace alone doesn’t always guarantee you results.
“The intricacies of Indy car racing are really interesting and there’s so much to think about during a race that you need to be focused for the entire race weekend. Some of the races are three or four pitstops long, then there’s fuel saving, the tyres are different, you have engine management to think about, so it’s been the smaller things that I didn’t think about when I first arrived and these things require a bit more time to get your head around.”
Despite Jordan impressing from the word ‘go’ in the Verizon IndyCar Series, it’s his recent form that has delivered him his best results of the 2018 campaign, with four top-fifteen finishes in his past four races.
“It’s been frustrating as the results haven’t reflected our performances and true potential but things recently have definitely been good. Last race we were running in 3rd before we were shot in the foot by the safety car but I don’t feel there’s been a massive improvement on my end with the pace - it’s been ironing out the problems that has been the big challenge this year.”
Looking ahead to this weekend, Jordan heads to the location of his first-ever Indy car test, Sonoma Raceway, and he hopes his past experience at the track will leave him with a great opportunity to finish his season on a high.
“Being here at the start of the year will definitely help my weekend but there's been a lot of guys testing here so I think everyone will go into the weekend feeling prepared. But from my side, I know the track, I know how the car performs there so I should be able to crack on straight away which hasn’t been a luxury at every race this year!”
Jordan’s final race weekend of 2018 gets started on Friday with the first practice session at 11:00 (Pacific Time), with qualifying taking place on Saturday at 15:00 and the Grand Prix of Sonoma getting underway on Sunday at 15:40.