Andrew Jordan enjoyed a faultless debut run in the manufacturer-backed MG6 at Brands Hatch yesterday (12 February), completing more than 70 laps of the 1.2 mile Indy circuit.
The 2013 BTCC champion’s return to Triple Eight Racing has been one of the biggest stories of the off-season so far and the squad has wasted little time in kicking off its all-important test programme.
A steady start to the day in damp and chilly conditions gradually increased in intensity with the Lichfield-based driver piling on the lap count after lunch.
“The car is great, as you’d expect from a 2014 title challenger,” he said. “It’s very quick and rides the kerbs well. It’s hard to be too accurate with the assessment as it was so cold that the tyres were warmer when I came in and crossed them than after a ten-lap run.
“First impressions are that the general feeling’s pretty similar [to the Honda] to be honest. It is all the same running gear, so there aren’t too many differences in terms of fundamentals. The Swindon engine has different characteristics to the MG, which I thought it would and I think the engine will be more challenging to drive, which I’ll enjoy, because the power comes in more aggressively than the Honda did.”
Despite the change of machinery Jordan will be chasing a hat-trick of pole positions on the opening day of the season after he kicked of both his 2013 and 2014 campaigns with a flying performance in qualifying.
“We’ve been on pole the last two times here on the Indy circuit at Brands and I think that has something to do with us being early to test and experiencing conditions that we’ll probably face at the first race,” he continued.
“This test has provided us with a couple of interesting ideas for things to try. We’ve got another test here in a few weeks time, which I hope will be dry. I’d love to repeat last year’s form and get pole plus a couple of wins. That’s my aim because it would make a cracking statement.”
Jordan has already competed for the multiple championship-winning team back in 2010, but it’s fair to say that with a number of race wins and a BTCC title under his belt, the Pirtek-supported racer is at a completely different stage of his career.
“It’s a very different scenario to when I was here last,” enthuses Jordan. “Back then I didn’t win a race, so that’s certainly something I want to change! It’s been great to come back to Triple Eight. There are a few familiar faces here still; I know Ian [Harrison, Triple Eight Racing founder and MD] very well for example.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve had an arm round the shoulder, I’m not sure I’d want that either, but the whole team have been really warm and welcoming. In our technical meetings I’ve been very sure about what I want, it’s pointless coming in and just sitting there, and I have a lot of experience now, so it’s important to use that and get my views across.
“From the moment I started I wanted to be a full factory driver, so the outcome of that happening is something I’ve had plenty of time to consider. Last year I took to the grid as champion and that brought about an added confidence; I feel the same about being a works driver.”
The 25-year-old is clear to point out that yesterday was just the beginning of months of hard work, which he ultimately hopes will end with him winning his second title later this year.
“The Indy circuit at Brands doesn’t give me much chance to evaluate the aero, which I know is a strong characteristic of the MG,” he concluded. “I’m looking forward to visiting Thruxton next week because there’s a lot I want to try there; I’m really excited about trying to get the MG to improve there because I love the track.
“I’m here to do my job and get the most out of the season that I can and give my sponsors some podium celebrations. I really want the championship back. I have no doubt that Triple Eight can help me deliver the drivers’ title this year, there’s no reason why we can’t do it. We’ve assembled a good team of talented people and now I need to make sure I do my job on track and become a good team leader.”