Jordan King reflects proudly on excellent rookie season

Progressing into a new championship proposes a number of challenges for even the most experienced of racing drivers. To do so whilst crossing the Atlantic, embracing a new culture and taking on a complete new set of tracks and machinery is a challenge reserved for only a few of Europe’s top professional racing drivers.

It was that challenge that faced Jordan King in 2018, a challenge that the young Brit made light work of across an excellent rookie year that saw the 24-year-old entrench his reputation as one of the sport’s most promising talents.

The move Stateside was one that Jordan admits came after a great deal of consideration but was borne out of a desire to test himself at the highest level.

“I’ve never been one for allowing myself to feel comfortable. I want to be challenged and I am not afraid in admitting my ambitions are to be a regular race winner at the very highest level in the sport. IndyCar is an intensely competitive series that is comprised of some of the world’s most revered driving talent.”

“My confidence in my own ability is clear as I know the pride I take in my profession and my obsessive level of preparation. That said, I knew that the move from FIA Formula 2 to IndyCar was a big step to take but it provided me with an excellent opportunity to showcase my talents alongside the world’s best.”

Joining the well-established and successful Ed Carpenter Racing team for 2018 as the #20 Fuzzy’s Vodka driver for the campaign’s road and street courses, King wholeheartedly committed himself to the series moving his life to America full-time and hitting the challenge head on.

Impressing with his professionalism and quality from day one, it was no surprise that King enjoyed a whirlwind start to his debut season in the series. Faced with limited seat time in pre-season testing, it was King’s sheer pace that saw him shoot to prominence.

“My successful career in single-seaters stood me in excellent stead and I took to the car quite naturally. Of course there are quirks that you have get to used to but I feel it is important that the driver gets to grips with the car to a certain extent, rather than continually searching for the car to get used to you.”

Talking to the streets of St. Petersburg for his IndyCar debut, the British driver turned heads immediately as he overhauled Will Power’s 2016 record lap time making King the new track record holder with a 1:00.0476 lap-time. This achievement set the tone for an incredible start to the season that saw Jordan lead the race in both St. Petersburg and Toronto.

Jordan’s sheer pace continued to stand him out from the rest of the rookie field, graduating to the Firestone Fast 6 in St Petersburg which represented the first time that Ed Carpenter Racing had made it to this stage of qualifying since Mid Ohio in July 2016. The British driver repeated this feat in Indianapolis later on in the season to further demonstrate his impressive qualifying performances.

“Our one-lap pace was really strong throughout the season and that is a pretty good sign in terms of how I got to grip with the series from the outset. Our results in the races didn’t quite replicate this but we had our fair share of bad luck and mechanical issues. Race strategy is of course incredibly important in Indy and we learnt some harsh lessons as a team throughout the year.”

As the season drew to its conclusion in Sonoma, mechanical issues struck again in qualifying meaning Jordan had to start the season finale from the very rear of the grid. Seeing the misfortune as an opportunity, Jordan delivered an overtaking masterclass and a faultless driving performance as he recovered to record a P13 finish.

Reflecting on the season as a whole, Jordan remains proud of his considerable achievements which clearly bodes well for what is to come.

“You can normally write your rookie season off as a transition year but I am really glad that throughout the year I demonstrated my ability and pace to perform and compete at the very front of the field. There were times when the car and our strategy didn’t quite match up to this but that is always a part of racing at such a competitive level and you take your learnings from that.”

Looking ahead to 2019, further new challenges await for King as he looks set to build on his excellent performances from this campaign and the British driver is motivated to make a real impact at the elite level.

“We are currently working on options for 2019 after Ed Carpenter provided an excellent learning curve for 2018. This year has been a great platform but 2019 is another chapter with some exciting plans ahead that, as a package, will give me the opportunity to show my potential even further.”

“I feel like I have proven a lot this year and my single-seater career to date only serves as further proof that I am a race-winner, that is what I love doing and pride myself upon. I want to be given that opportunity again for 2019 in whatever form that takes. I relished the challenge of embracing a new team and culture this year and enter next year as a more complete driver and person because of it.”