King inks deal with Racing Engineering for GP2 graduation
Date: 22 / 02 / 2015
Former British F3 Champion joins F1 feeder series grid in 2015
King impressed title-winning outfit with Abu Dhabi test form
Racing Engineering President has high hopes for new protégé
Jordan King will graduate to the Formula 1-supporting GP2 Series this year, after agreeing terms to compete for multiple race and title-winning outfit Racing Engineering during the next phase of his burgeoning single-seater career.
King steps up to the grand prix feeder series from a successful sophomore FIA Formula 3 European Championship campaign, in which he wound up an excellent seventh overall amongst no fewer than 30 supremely high-calibre contenders, tallying seven podium finishes along the way.
The talented young Warwickshire ace subsequently found himself facing a choice between GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 for 2015, and it was a standout performance at the end-of-season Abu Dhabi GP2 test that cemented his decision.
Over the course of 150 laps around the Yas Marina Circuit, King turned heads the entire length of the pit-lane by demonstrating scintillating raw speed, lapping consistently inside the top six in the 26-strong field and ending two of the sessions ensconced in second place on the timing screens. In so doing, he outpaced a whole host of infinitely more experienced rivals – some backed by F1 powerhouses Ferrari, Red Bull and Lotus.
Off the back of that scene-stealing effort, the 20-year-old FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy member became a hot property indeed, and was in discussions with a handful of GP2 teams before signing for Racing Engineering.
The Spanish squad’s calibre in the fiercely-contested category speaks for itself, with two drivers’ crowns to its credit – in 2008 and 2013 – and a top four championship finish in the teams’ table for the last seven years straight.
Racing Engineering’s illustrious alumni include Justin Wilson, Franck Montagny and Lucas Di Grassi – all of whom went on to compete at the pinnacle of international motorsport in Formula 1 – and a certain Sebastian Vettel. Little wonder King is confident he is in safe hands.
“We talked to a few different teams, and it was a tough decision to make,” reflected the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) SuperStar, MSA Team UK protégé and former McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award finalist and British F3 Champion. “There were a lot of factors to take into consideration and I did a lot of research and thinking before reaching a conclusion.
“As a rookie entering a new championship, it’s very important to go with an established and experienced team – and Racing Engineering ticks all the boxes. They have a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise and all the necessary resources at their disposal, and they understand how to get the best out of young drivers – which is just what I need at such a crucial stage of my career.
“They clearly have exceptional credentials and a winning pedigree. It’s an ultra-professional team whose sole focus is on GP2, whereas a lot of other teams compete in several different championships – and in my view, this single-minded approach can only be beneficial.
“Of course, the standard in GP2 is so high that all the teams on the grid do a fantastic job, but Racing Engineering has been a consistently strong force every year and I’m confident they will give me a good car weekend-in, weekend-out. When I visited the team’s workshop in Spain, I was very encouraged and reassured by what I discovered. They showed me some of the systems they have there, and it’s really a very impressive set-up. Everything looks to be in-place to attain results.
“GP2 definitely feels like the natural next step in my career. I came out of the test in Abu Dhabi with my head held high; the car really seemed to suit me and I clicked with it pretty much straightaway. I’ve learned and achieved everything I could have in the lower formulae and have developed as a driver along the way. Both physically and mentally, I feel very well-prepared for the challenges to come.
“It’s too early to set any expectations just yet – there’s plenty of hard work ahead and I’m well aware that I have a lot to take on-board – but we know what the goal is and I’m really excited about it all. I can’t wait to get going!”
“We are delighted that Jordan will be joining us in 2015,” echoed Racing Engineering President Alfonso de Orléans Borbon. “We have been following his career path for some time now, and what really convinced us was his professional approach to racing, both on and off the track. I have rarely seen a driver so determined and hard-working to make his dream to get to F1 come true.
“2015 will be Jordan’s rookie season in GP2, and though there are many things to learn before the first race in Bahrain, we have high hopes he will advance rapidly. We are sure it will be a pleasure to work with such a professional, mature and dedicated driver.”