British racing driver Jordan King has this week been named winner of the 2015 FIA Institute Driver of The Year within the global motorsport governing body’s Young Driver Excellence Academy.
The 21-year-old Warwickshire racer, who is currently competing in his maiden season in the GP2 Series, a stepping-stone single-seater category to the Formula 1 World Championship, was selected from a group of 11 youngsters from around the world in the Institute’s graduation ceremony in Melk, Austria this week. The announcement was the culmination of a series of workshops that put graduates through their paces in theoretical and practical activities, all designed to reinforce the Institute’s motorsport safety and sustainability message, and on-track evaluation.
King beat Anton De Pasquale, Macauley Jones and Aidan Wright from Australia, Pietro Fittipaldi from Brazil, Kenton Koch from America, Ali Makhseed from Kuwait, fellow Brit Seb Morris, Tim Novak from Slovenia, Jordan Pepper from South Africa and Panikos Polykarpou from Cyprus to land the coveted prize, which includes mentoring from Academy Performance Managers Alex Wurz, a former Formula 1 podium finisher and two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, and former World Rally Champion co-driver Robert Reid.
Wurz, who raced in 69 Grands Prix for Benetton, McLaren and Williams, said: “Despite the high level of talent demonstrated by the Academy drivers this year, Jordan’s skills and understanding stood out throughout the process and he is a well-deserved winner. I have no doubt that Jordan, and the rest of the Academy drivers, will go on to achieve great success in motor sport and build on the foundations we have helped them create.”
King, who took a superb podium finish at Spa-Francorchamps in August and lies 13th in the points table with two rounds remaining, was thrilled to be chosen.
“It’s been a fascinating experience and I’m delighted to have won,” he says. “I didn’t really expect it as the competition was very good this year – there were four or five guys who I thought had a very good chance.”
Acknowledgement from the FIA is a boost that will prove invaluable to the aspiring F1 driver as he targets a move to racing’s Premiership.
“To have this on the CV is a real boost,” King says. “It’s great to have the FIA family under my arm, as it were. I hope I’ll be able to use the kudos this brings to my advantage as my career develops.
I’m a more rounded driver now,” King admits. “Whether that will translate to my racing – in GP2 and beyond – remains to be seen, but I learnt a lot about car set-up and balance, as well as the mind-management skills required at a high level, thanks to working with Alex and Robert and the instructors and psychologists.”
Former British Formula 3 Champion King will continue his rookie GP2 season with the Racing Engineering team in Bahrain on November 20-21, with the season finishing a week later at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi.
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