Motorsport: Bold Brit starting to hit his straps

By Eric Thompson

British driver Jordan King on his way to his first win in the Toyota Racing Series at Taupo. Photo  Supplied
British driver Jordan King on his way to his first win in the Toyota Racing Series at Taupo. Photo Supplied

One of the English drivers who has made the trip to New Zealand for the international Toyota Racing Series may have started to hit his straps.

Jordan King arrived here with a good pedigree in karting followed by an impressive foray into single seaters where he won pole and made the podium in his first Formula Palmer Audi race at Silverstone in 2010. King also raced Formula Renault UK that year, finishing sixth at Snetterton and Pembrey.

He has also raced six times in the FIA Formula Two championship, finished second in the MRF Formula 1600 International Challenge, and won the MRF Formula 1600 Delhi Challenge event.

The Brit is one of the international drivers from 12 different countries here to contest the five-round TRS championship.

Jordan's tilt at the TRS title didn't get off to a brilliant start at round one at Teretonga where he and several drivers came unstuck in the weather.

However, he bounced back with a podium finish at Timaru and another at Taupo, as well as his first win, the following weekend.

King was the Taupo round winner and as such moved up the table to sit sixth with two rounds to go.

"Getting my first win was absolutely mega, which is great also for my M2 team," said King.

The teenager from Harbury, Warwickshire, in England, now has his sights set on improving even more at fast and flowing Hampton Downs track where they are racing this weekend at round four of the series.

"The car had a bit of a problem at the end of racing at Taupo so we've had to bed it in today," said King from Hampton Downs.

"In the first season I was only at about 75 per cent but in the second season I pushed a bit harder and was about seven tenths off the pace but we'll be okay next time out."

King came into his own on the wide and flat Taupo track, and as the Hampton Downs track has its DNA based on European circuits, it should suit King and the European drivers.

"There's actually not a lot to the track but it's actually quite hard. It's quite technical and trying to find that last little bit of time might be quite difficult and it has a few challenges," said King.

The TRS championship has grown from strength to strength over the past few years and 2012 sees 20 cars lining up this weekend, the strongest-ever field with 15 internationals wanting to overcome the home advantage of the five Kiwis. "We actually wanted to come here last year after seeing other people drive the series and what it had done for them.

"We gave it a miss because it was such a long period of time [11 weeks] but this year we decided we would do it because it's much more condensed," he said.

King is positive racing in New Zealand during the European winter will benefit him at home.

"It's massively beneficial to be able to have five weeks' racing and you can't beat that anywhere else in the world at this time of year. I have a week off when I get back and then straight back into it again," said King.

One of the races over the weekend is the New Zealand Motor Cup, which has been won by some of the most famous drivers in the history of the sport, including Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Reg Parnell, John Surtees, Graham Hill and Kiwis Chris Amon and Bruce McLaren.

King is part of the British Racing Drivers' Club Rising Star talent-spotting programme, as is Josh Hill, for drivers aged under 24.

TRS points

Nick Cassidy (NZ) - 546

Damon Leitch (NZ) - 517

Josh Hill (UK) - 424

Hannes van Asseldonk (Netherlands) - 423

Felix Serralles (Puerto Rico) - 385

Jordan King (UK) - 369

- NZ Herald

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