It might have been only his third outing Down Under, but Jordan King proved that he is nothing if not a fast learner and a prodigious young talent by annexing his maiden pole position in the fiercely-contested, New Zealand-based Toyota Racing Series at Taupo – and following it up with a brilliant breakthrough victory.
Having encountered ill-fortune in the Teretonga curtain-raiser but bounced back with a well-judged podium finish second time out at Timaru, Jordan travelled more than 500 miles from South Island to North Island to the state-of-the-art Taupo Motorsport Park – a technical and in parts fearsomely-fast circuit, with top speeds along the main straight approaching an eye-watering 145mph.
Bullish about his prospects, after keeping his powder dry during practice – albeit always lapping there or thereabouts in the 19-strong field – the highly-rated Stoneleigh-based single-seater star then unleashed his full potential in qualifying by storming his way to the top spot on the starting grid.
“It was a really tough session,” he affirmed. “Midway through, I was fastest, but then other drivers went quicker as we concentrated more on our race strategy, and I had to dig really deep. The times were incredibly close, but fortunately, I managed to find the last tenth of a second that I needed to secure pole.
“I made a great start in the first race – 0-60mph in 2.9 seconds – and then began to pull out a gap, setting a new fastest lap in the process that I later discovered was also a new lap record by more than a second. I built up an advantage of almost three seconds, and after that I chilled out a bit; it felt so good to be quick enough to be in a position to just relax and know that I still had more time in my pocket had I needed it. Crossing the line to win was absolutely mega, and my team M2 Competition were so happy.”
Jordan’s pace over the 15-lap showdown was impressive indeed, and he consolidated it with a brace of similarly eye-catching efforts that yielded fourth spot from sixth on the reverse-grid in race two, and a competitive third in race three, the 20-lap Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy in homage to the 1967 F1 World Champion. That combination of results saw the 17-year-old BRDC Rising Star conclude the weekend as the Toyota Racing Series’ top points-scorer – and vault up to sixth place in the championship points table for good measure.
“I had a terrible start in race two that dropped me down to ninth initially,” he recalled, “but then I fought back and overtook one driver after another as I closed the gap on the leaders. That was so much fun! I passed five cars in total over the 15 laps to finish fourth, and our speed was really good all the way through.
“The wind changed direction before race three, though, and that caused the track conditions to change, too. Our set-up that had been so fast in the first two races didn’t quite work with the lower downforce, which meant that although I was lapping at the same pace as the top two, I wasn’t able to catch them. It would have been nice to come away with a second win from the weekend, but in the circumstances, we were happy enough with third place.”
Justifiably so, and as he turns his attentions towards the final two meetings at Hampton Downs and Manfeild, the Princethorpe College A-Level student and Hugo Boss brand ambassador does so in the knowledge that he has now truly made his mark in the southern hemisphere – and given the local specialists more than a little to think about.
“The M2 boys all did a superb job again, and overall it was a fantastic weekend!” he reflected. “One of the races at Hampton Downs will be the New Zealand Motor Cup, which has been won by some of the most famous drivers in the history of the sport. It would be awesome to add my name to that trophy, too.”