On the day before being announced as Ed Carpenter Racing’s new Verizon IndyCar Series driver on street and road courses, Jordan King climbed Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.
The British racer didn’t take his time maneuvering up the 3,500-foot mountain that overlooks the city. True to his nature, he pushed himself to reach the top as quickly as possible.
“It took me about an hour,” King said. “I tried to do it as quickly as I could, as best as I could. I like pushing myself in everything I do.”
King looks forward to pushing himself in this next challenge behind the wheel of Carpenter’s No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet. Ed Carpenter Racing announced today that the 23-year-old from Warwickshire, England, will drive the car in the 11 road- and street-course races on this year’s Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, with team owner Ed Carpenter continuing in the cockpit for the six oval races.
Spencer Pigot, who had that part-time role as the road/street driver most of the last two years in the No. 20 Chevy, was promoted to a full-time ride in ECR’s No. 21 entry for 2018.
King has been focused on making this jump from European racing since attending the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at Sonoma Raceway in 2016. He distinguished himself on road/street circuits as the 2015 FIA Institute Driver of the Year and 2013 British Formula 3 champion. The past three seasons, he’s finished in the top 10 of more than half of his Formula 2 (formerly GP2 Series) starts. He also served two years as a development driver for Manor Marussia in Formula One in 2015-16.
“It’s taken a lot of effort,” King said. “I personally worked very hard towards it. It’s really been a goal ever since I popped out to Sonoma in 2016 and saw everything. I’ve worked towards it since then. I’m really pleased to get it announced and thankful to Ed for giving me the opportunity.
“I suppose European racing lends itself to road and street courses. With it being a steppingstone for me, I personally find this a good way to go. I’ll do the road and street courses and leave Ed and the experts to do the ovals and learn everything I can. That will help me in the future.”
The ultimate goal is to attain a full-time Verizon IndyCar Series ride in 2019.
He was a 2015 Formula 2 teammate with Alexander Rossi, who made a successful transition to the Verizon IndyCar Series by winning the 2016 Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. In two seasons, Rossi has distinguished himself on Andretti Autosport as one of the series’ top young talents.
“I popped out to America in December and went over to Alex’s for dinner one night and Conor Daly was there,” King said. “It was more picking their brains about the car, how to drive it, a lot of the little things you know after doing it for a few years. I was picking them as much as I could without them telling me any trade secrets.”
King has raced overseas against Daly as well as 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Ed Jones, who signed this offseason with Chip Ganassi Racing.
He’s grateful to Rossi for providing an inside look at INDYCAR during that Sonoma visit two years ago.
“The loud and fast cars, great racing, and when I got there I was real excited about the racing prospects,” King said. “Alex, being my ex-teammate, showed me around and I got to listen on the radio to a few teams. I got to experience what it’s like to race an Indy car, and the fire inside went from there.”
It was during that California visit that he met Carpenter, the series’ only current owner/driver who is entering his 16th year of INDYCAR competition.
“We’re very excited to welcome Jordan to the ECR family,” Carpenter said in a team release. “He is a very motivated, intelligent and hungry driver, which is exactly what we are looking for at ECR. Jordan has had a lot of success and experience in Europe and I can’t wait to see what he is capable of with ECR in the Verizon IndyCar Series.”
King’s December trip to Indianapolis included spending quality time with Carpenter and visiting ECR headquarters.
“I got a sense of kind of being relaxed around him,” King said of Carpenter. “You knew what he was talking about. He was honest and up front. With Ed, it’s a very straight shot. We went training a few times and he was very happy to welcome me into the team and his life as well. I spent time with the engineers, a great bunch of guys. He has built a very nice team around ECR.”
Just like climbing Table Mountain, King sounds eager to attack this new challenge.
“The main thing that stands out about me is I love sport, any sport,” he said. “I love competing in sport, I love playing it, I love everything about it. I’ve ridden 55 kilometers a day (in bike training). I’m just very active and try to enjoy life.
“You name it, I’m more than happy to put my hand up and give it a go.”