Jordan makes it three
Andrew Jordan made it three Independents Trophies as he took 2016 Dunlop British Touring Car Championship Independent Drivers’ honours after what was a solid year in the Motorbase Performance-backed Pirtek Racing Ford Focus.
Two wins and a couple more trips to the podium overall, with four Independents’ wins and 14 more appearances on that rostrum over the course of the season was enough to secure the trophy, and keep Jordan in overall contention heading to the Brands Hatch finale weekend.
His first victory of the season in race two at Thruxton was also first for the 2013 BTCC champion since Croft two years prior and was one to savour for the Midlander.
Having charged through from eighth on the grid in the opener in Hampshire to take third, a first podium with the Motorbase outfit, race two started equally well.
The Red Bull-backed racer shot off the line and into second past the Speedworks Toyota of Tom Ingram. His attentions were then turned onto hunting down Adam Morgan, leading out-front in the WIX Racing Mercedes.
With 56kg of ballast on-board, Jordan was content to bide his time and play the long-game – keeping pressure on Morgan while doing his utmost to preserve his tyres on what is a tricky circuit for rubber.
The move for the lead came on lap 11. Jordan was right with Morgan into Club following a good run through Church. Out of the final chicane, the Focus was able to out-drag the A Class over the start/finish and into the lead come Allard.
With just a lap to go, Jordan had enough despite a gaggle of cars in close company waiting to pounce.
“It felt great to be back on the top step,” said Jordan. “I knew that when the time was right we’d get the win.”
Motorbase Performance had the Independent Teams’ title all but wrapped up following the Silverstone weekend and it was a straight fight between their driver pairing for the Independent Drivers’ honours heading to Brands.
Jordan held a 34-point lead over Mat Jackson and as it transpired, that lead proved enough for the former to take the crown, despite a race one DNF – though in the end just three points separated the pair.
“This was my third Independents Title. To do it again and help Motorbase to win their first ever BTCC title is something that I’m really proud of,” said Jordan.
“2016 was a good solid year for me. We had a couple of wins and we stepped back onto the podium. It was a bit up and down with the results and not as consistent as I would have liked, but on a whole I’m really happy with how the season went.
“A lot of effort and hard work from everyone went into this past year – we had the pace but also maybe not had the run of luck that you definitely need to win the BTCC title.
“I had great fun in the team this year but we also backed that up with results that we can build on moving forward to next season.”
The season as a whole, then, by his own admission, was not everything Jordan had wanted as he moves onto pastures new with West Surrey Racing for 2017. Despite the switch, there is no animosity on his part towards his 2016 team and their efforts.
“I genuinely loved my time with Motorbase this year and I made some good friends along the way,” said the 27-year-old, who finished the season in eighth in the points table.
“It’s a shame not to be carrying on but it’s simply a commercial decision and there’s nothing more sinister to it.”
Jordan, following the announcement that he’d be switching to WSR next season on a multi-year deal said: “I’m incredibly excited about joining WSR, who have been one of the outstanding teams in the BTCC for the past 20 years.
“I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve seen of the way WSR operate and I am sure that we can be right at the sharp end throughout the 2017 season.”
After testing the car in late November, Jordan added: “I’m really pleased with how it’s gone in testing so far with WSR and the BMW.
“From day one the car’s has felt very user-friendly and it didn’t take me very long to feel at home – despite some changeable weather.
“You can really feel the level of engineering that’s gone into the 125i M Sport and that’s made things much easier to adapt to – especially as I’m also learning a rear-wheel-drive touring car after spending my entire BTCC race career with front-wheel-drive.
“It’s also been great to start working with the engineers and mechanics and start building relationships with everybody in the team.”