MG Motor UK and the newly re-branded Triple Eight Racing (formerly Triple Eight Race Engineering) have today announced that British Touring Car ace, Andrew Jordan has signed a one-year deal to drive a factory-supported MG6 GT with the reigning manufacturer-constructors in the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).
Jordan, 2013 BTCC champion and a 14-times race winner, has switched to Triple Eight from the family-run Eurotech Racing Honda Civic to drive the MG that clinched the 2014 Manufacturer-Constructor title last season, and proved to consistently be the fastest front-wheel-drive car on the grid.
“By joining Triple Eight, I can build something exciting for the future,” said the Red Bull-backed racer. “Joining this team gives me the best chance I will have of winning the Championship again – it is as simple as that. I’m certainly looking further ahead than just the end of this year. There are many options for me here, and that is what makes this such an exciting deal.
Speaking honestly about the challenge and his ambition, Jordan continued, “I want to be more prepared than I have been in the past and this package will allow me to focus 100% on the job of driving. From my pre-event planning and preparation to my mental approach and fitness, I need to make sure that I am more prepared than ever in every aspect. I need to be better, because I didn’t think I was as good in 2014 as I was the year before. I was doing too much.”
The 25-year-old, who replaces two-time champion Jason Plato, brings with him backing from long-term sponsor, Pirtek, famous for its striking blue, yellow and red livery, which will now adorn the shapely MG6. The move will mark the first time Pirtek has been the headline sponsor of a fully-works supported car in the series, an opportunity that Jordan describes as ‘fabulous’.
Following three successful years together, Triple Eight and Plato part company, with an impressive twelve pole-positions, twenty victories, and 1,155 points. The partnership saw Plato a contender for the Driver’s Championship in each of the three years with the Greatworth-based team and resulted in the manufacturer-constructors title last season.
“We knew that we were coming to a bit of a crossroads for 2015, so we had to go out and try and find a replacement for Plato, which is difficult,” said Triple Eight founder and Team Principal, Ian Harrison. “It was a commercial decision from their side, not ours; but it gave us an opportunity to change things around and that’s sometimes not a bad thing.”
“There aren’t many people out there who can replace a driver like that. We looked around and Andrew was the obvious choice. His age, his profile and his speed – which goes without saying – make him a pretty straightforward choice; it was a bit of a no-brainer for us. We thank Jason for his contribution over the past three seasons; we had a pretty good go at it. We wish him luck this year, and I am sure we will be firing broadsides at each other throughout the season..”
Speaking of the relationship with Jordan, Harrison continued, “There is mutual respect between us because we have worked together before, and that is important. It is important that people understand that you are going to do your damnedest to do the right thing and Andrew and his backers know that.”
It was the 2009 season, some six years ago, that Jordan and Triple Eight first worked together. The then 19-year-old was in his second season of the BTCC in a works-supported Vauxhall Vectra prepared by triple-champions VX Racing/Triple Eight and together they achieved four podiums, making history when the Lichfield-based racer made took pole-position at Donington Park and became the youngest ever driver to do so in the BTCC.
Jordan commented: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge of moving to a different team and am very open to take on board as much as possible from their NGTC knowledge. I believe, with what Triple Eight has learnt over the last three years of NGTC and what I have learnt myself, we will be able to make gains through our winter testing programme.”
Triple Eight plans to run another factory MG alongside Jordan’s Pirtek-backed version in 2015, and discussions with several parties are in the final stages of negotiation. On the topic of a second-car, Harrison adds: “We would be looking for a younger driver. With manufacturers trying to sell a big volume of small-sized cars; the guys that normally buy those are the 21-year-olds. The manufacturers need guys that they can use to do that, so a choice that supports that is the best one for us. We have options, but it is not sorted out yet.”
Bringing Jordan into the team is a prospect that whets MG’s appetite too. MG Motor’s Head of Marketing, Matthew Cheyne, adds: “Defending the Championship from last year and teaming up with someone like Andrew, who is obviously a great ambassador for the sport, but will also be a great ambassador for our brand, is hugely important.
“He’s incredibly personable and dynamic. He is just an exciting guy to work with and he fits our demographic for our customers. When you look at our product, not just the MG6 but the MG3 too, Andrew and his generation are absolutely the sort of people we are aiming at; it fits so well. We want to defend the makes title, but going for the drivers title is key and with Andrew we have got the best chance ever.
Fans will be able to check out the Pirtek-liveried MG6 GT this weekend (10/11 January 2015) at the Autosport International event, held at Birmingham’s NEC where it will take centre stage on the Dunlop Stand (Hall: 6 Stand: 6440).
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