The local lad talks to us about becoming British Touring Car champion, thriving on danger and how the mechanic is king
At just 24, Andrew Jordan is basking in the glory of being the new British Touring Car champion. Yet despite claiming the nation’s top race title in a nail-biting finale, watched by millions on TV, something’s playing on his mind. “I’m the second youngest-ever champion,” he explains. “There was someone back in the Sixties who was a month younger than me – which is all a bit annoying!” It’s a perfect example of the ultra-competitive streak that has propelled Andrew to the top of the sport. But this toughness on the track isn’t replicated in his manner off the circuit. He’s softly spoken, super nice and for Andrew, racing’s more than a sport… it’s family life. Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, a career in racing was a given. “I never considered doing anything else. I knew I’d end up behind the wheel as soon as I was old enough,” says the star of father Mike’s Eurotech team. Even before he was ready to race Andrew was helping out behind the scenes. “From the age of 12, I was part of dad’s team – that’s out of the question for kids now because of all today’s health and safety laws.”
Andrew began his racing career two years later, aged 14, driving a Mini in Rallycross. “It was a bit slow, but I really enjoyed it,” he says. And he was incredibly successful, too. He won multiple junior national titles, followed by the British Rallycross Supercar championship in 2006 in a Ford Focus. He progressed to the Renault Clio Cup before stepping up to the British Touring Car Championship five years ago in a Honda. Although Andrew had a couple of podiums and class wins in his first BTCC season, he says it was very much ‘a learning year’. Then in 2009 he left the family team and drove for the works Vauxhall outfit for a season – a time which he describes as ‘difficult’.
In 2010, he returned to the family fold under the Pirtek Racing banner and got back behind the wheel of a Honda. It proved to be a much happier year for Andrew. “The team is key,” he explains. “We have great camaraderie and a brilliant atmosphere. In the BTCC there are three races in one day with an hour between each to turn the car around. The mechanics and the rest of the team are massively important. Without a great mechanic you’ll end up missing races. Dad’s number one mechanic has been with him for 12 years.” Winning the championship so soon after entering the BTCC arena surprised Andrew and he admits to feeling nervous in the final round at Brands Hatch. “The other guys, like Matt Neal and Jason Plato, are past multiple champions and are so experienced, so the pressure was all on me not to crack,” he says.
Touring car racing is known for being a ‘contact’ sport, so an accident or mechanical failure could have been enough to blow Andrew’s title dreams. “I try not to think about it. I’ve had a couple of big accidents, but actually my favourite tracks are the old ones with the least safety adaptations. I’m daft like that. I guess I like the danger.” How does mum feel about it? “She’s used to it. Her dad raced and she met my dad through racing, so it’s part of all of our lives. I have even raced dad at times, which must have been odd for her.” And who comes out on top? “Well, we haven’t raced one another for a while. Dad used to win, but I’d be interested to see who’d come out on top now!” Having achieved so much already Andrew’s not resting on his laurels. He wants to retain his BTCC title in 2014 and then turn his hand to other forms of racing. “I’d love to win back-to-back championships,” he says. “I’d also like to get into sports car racing and compete in Australia.”