A successful first season in a Honda brought home the Independent drivers’ championship for Andrew Jordan.
Before he begins his defence of that title his season begins with Compass360 Racing in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, on track very different to any he faces on the British Touring Car Championship calendar and in a car that, though it might be listed as a Honda Civic has little in common with his BTCC machine save for a name and a race number – 77.
“They’re pretty much different,” he compares the two. “The Honda I’m driving out in America is a lot more standard car and with the lower power it’s a much more momentum based performance so you really need to think about how you drive and how you get a quick lap time out of it. It doesn’t matter about the horsepower of the car, it’s always a challenge to get a quick lap time out of the car. It’s good fun to drive, a good circuit, it’s a fabulous experience.”
A case in point for the momentum needed to set a good a lap time is the bus stop chicane, the challenge being to brake down from full speed on the backstraight, negotiate the chicane and still have the pace for when the road course rejoins the tri-oval at the beginning of the turn three banking, form where the speed is carried round until the braking zone for turn one the following lap.
Having been a regular visitor to Daytona on holiday in his childhood Jordan is familiar with the sight to the 31° banking through the Speedway’s turns. However, he sums up the experience of racing on them for the first time as “odd”.
“Every time you go in it’s amazing,” he says, “so to actually to actually drive around it is very exciting. It’s a very bizarre feeling on the banking. It’s very weird because you actually look through the top left corner of the windscreen to see where you’re going – it’s that steep – so it’s a very different experience.”
Despite the differences in the track – Jordan laughs off comparisons to Rockingham, the UK’s only ‘roval’ circuit – and the car he and co-driver James Colborn setting the fastest time – 2:06:642 around the 3.56 mile track – in the Street Tuner class during the series’ January test at Daytona. The Honda pairing duelled for the top times over the three days with a Burton Racing team led by Grand-Am regular Terry Borcheller, who won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2010, and emerging with the fastest time by four tenth’s over the class’ undisputed big name has turned Jordan’s drive at Daytona into a potentially winning proposition.
Despite his rise up the TOCA ranks to his current level, Jordan has his eyes further afield – eyeing up further racing alongside his BTCC commitments.
“I’d like to,” he tells www.theCheckeredFlag.co.uk on the subject of further racing in the US. “At the moment it’s a one-off but they also race at places like Laguna Seca and Watkins Glen and if I can do those [around his BTCC challenge] who knows what’ll happen.”
“We’re lucky that we’ve got a very good base in touring cars here and we’re in the position to build off that. This is just hopefully the start of something I can go and do in America. I’d like to go and do some GT racing and stuff like that but to get into it in a front wheel drive car is probably the most sensible thing for us to do.”
Jordan’s race weekend at the Grand-Am 200 begins on Wednesday January 23 with qualifying the following day and the race on Friday ahead of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, starting on Saturday.