To the Manor born for speed King with single-seater graduation Having impressed mightily on his competitive single-seater debut in the Formula Palmer Audi Championship finale earlier this month, karting graduate Jordan King is now preparing to...
To the Manor born for speed King with single-seater graduation
Having impressed mightily on his competitive single-seater debut in the Formula Palmer Audi Championship finale earlier this month, karting graduate Jordan King is now preparing to make the jump into car racing for good, after inking a deal to drive for Manor Competition in the 2010 Formula Renault UK Winter Series.
Jordan's move is the prelude to an intended full campaign in Britain's premier junior single-seater category in 2011, and whilst the highly-rated young Warwickshire star undoubtedly has impeccable karting credentials - having triumphed in major international races in Italy and Macau, claimed the runner-up laurels in the fiercely-contested WSK Master Series this year, stormed to glory in the blue riband British Kartmasters meeting in 2009 and finished a close second in the British Super 1 Championship in 2008 - he is wholly-prepared for the fact that his new challenge will be no stroll in the park.
He might have been buoyed by his FPA bow, admitting that to set pole position and claim a podium finish comfortably exceeded his expectations - not to mind leaving the rest of the stunned paddock mouths agape - but the 16-year-old is under absolutely no illusions that Formula Renault will be another 'big step-up' again.
"It's better to push yourself, rather than go into everything and be winning or up at the front all the time," Jordan reasoned, belying the kind of ultra-mature approach that offers a telling insight into just why the Stoneleigh-based speed demon has been so tremendously successful in his career to-date.
"If you really have to work hard for it, that's the way you become a better driver - whereas if you always stay in your comfort zone, you are never going to improve. I've got to a level in karting where I feel like I'm ready to jump out and move up - I'm ready to push myself again.
"I didn't think I would be as quick as I was in Formula Palmer Audi, but equally I know Formula Renault will be a lot tougher, so I can't get too over-confident about it. It has less power but a lot more aerodynamic grip than the FPA, which is quite hard to get your head around at first - you can carry a lot more speed through the corners in the Formula Renault than you think the car is capable of, and you can brake later in it, too.
"Thirty years ago, when the likes of Ayrton Senna were moving up into cars, it was Formula Ford with 100bhp and no aerodynamic grip - now it's Formula Renault, with a lot more power and definitely a lot more grip. It's a much bigger jump to make, and for karters that's really hard. Other drivers I would say are going to be more prepared than me, because I will be karting right up to the weekend before the first round, so I will have to re-adjust to the car again - but I think it will be ok.
"I'm feeling really excited about it all, to be honest - it should be a good experience. In the first couple of races or so I'll need to concentrate on just doing the best I can, keep focussed on the job and not let the difficult moments worry me. Obviously it's going to be hard to begin with and will definitely be a learning curve, but the aim has to be to end up as top rookie - that's all I can really judge myself on - and to get as high up amongst the second-year drivers as I can."
Whilst he has had only a handful of days' testing in his new mount thus far - including time spent at both Snetterton in Norfolk and Pembrey in South Wales, scene of the two upcoming Winter Series outings - the Princethorpe College student is palpably looking forward to getting on with it all, and effusive about his prospects of continuing to catch the eye with the 'winningest' team in Formula Renault UK history.
Having been responsible for nurturing the likes of future F1 World Champions Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen during their formative careers, no young driver could possibly ask for a better apprenticeship than with the Tony Shaw-led outfit - and with a tie-up with 2010 grand prix newcomer Virgin Racing to-boot, Jordan well recognises that he would not want to be anywhere else as he bids to accelerate his own burgeoning career up through the gears.
"Manor are a good team with an excellent reputation in the championship, and they've had a lot of success in the past," he mused in conclusion. "I enjoy working with them and we already seem to have struck up a good relationship - and obviously the F1 link with Virgin can't be bad either, can it..."