Former F2 racer Jordan King will compete in IndyCar for 2018, after securing a deal with Ed Carpenter Racing. The Brit took some time out of his busy pre-season schedule to tell Rob Watts how the deal was done, and why he’s moving stateside.
Just fifteen months ago, Jordan King was driving a Formula 1 car in an official practice session at the United States Grand Prix, but the dream of racing in Formula 1 failed materialised with the collapse of the Manor team at the end of 2016.
Having now moved on from F1’s main feeder category, Formula 2, King announced that he’d be making the move stateside, joining fellow Brits Max Chilton, Stefan Wilson, and Jack Harvey on the IndyCar grid.
“It came together quite quickly in the end, but it has been something that I had looked at for the best part of a year,” King said. “When I first looked into [IndyCar], I didn’t throw myself at it completely, but then this year it felt like the right time to pursue it properly and see if I could make it work.”
With no prior experience of oval racing, King will compete in 11 road and street course races this year, with team boss Ed Carpenter in the cockpit for the six oval races, including the Indy 500.
“Ed is doing the oval races which he likes doing, so that gave the opportunity for me to do the road and street course races; that’s how the deal came about, he explains. “It works out quite well for me and gives me the chance to learn IndyCar, learn the circuits and how it works before going on the really specialist tracks like the ovals.”
“My goal is to work towards a full-time IndyCar drive, so from a personal point of view I’m not just dipping my toe in the water; I’m going to go there and give it my best.”
With former GP2 teammate Alex Rossi already competing in IndyCar, and his advisor Mark Blundell having also raced in the series, King had plenty of advice on what to expect.
“I’ve raced against three or four people who are on the grid already – I spoke with Alex Rossi and Conor Daly – and everyone just reassured me that it was the right thing to do and even things like living out there,” says King.
“It’s quite a big decision to move countries, so these were the big questions for me. Race engineers and mechanics can answer all of the racing questions, but it’s the other stuff which is hard to find an answer for.”
“[Mark Blundell] very much point blank said to go for it, and that makes it easier when you hear that from somebody you trust.”
With his focus now fully on IndyCar, King is keeping an open mind on racing in other series in the future if the right opportunity presents itself
“I want to race whatever I’m racing to the best of my ability, and to do that I think you have to dedicate yourself to it. But on the side, I would love to race other [series] and have as much time in the car as possible.”
“I’m not closing the door to F1 but for me now IndyCar is the next step, and it feels like the right time for me to do it.”
The 2018 IndyCar series begins 11th March in St Petersburg, Florida.