Racing lines: Money rules – even if you're a BTCC champion



Andrew Jordan

Andrew Jordan won six times in 2019, but, despite this, his drive isn’t safe

Andrew Jordan lost out on a second British Touring Car title by just two points. Now, he might lose his car…

Two points. That’s all that stood between Andrew Jordan and a second British Touring Car title. Instead, his BMW team-mate, Colin Turkington, won a record-equalling fourth crown and Jordan is contemplating “50-50” odds that his BTCC career might be over.

“Do I think I deserved to win it this year?” says the 2013 champion. “Yes, I do. But I didn’t and it’s pointless looking back. I put up a really good season, had more wins than anyone” – six compared with Turkington’s five – “and I really enjoyed it, which I can’t say for every year.”

Jordan and Turkington both won a race each at the Brands Hatch season opener in April, despite having just one day of testing under their belts in West Surrey Racing’s new BMW UK-backed 3 Series. “That was down to [WSR boss] Dick Bennetts and the engineering team,” says Jordan. “I felt lucky every time I went to a race.”

But next time out, at Donington Park, the 30-year-old was hit broadside through no fault of his own and ended up in hospital with bruised ribs. Meanwhile, Turkington took another win. “To come back from that and win two races [at Thruxton], then another two at Croft showed where I’m at mentally,” Jordan says. “That was a big thing for me, not just in terms of the title.”

Then two more big things happened. First, WSR was ‘punished’ for its success, as is the way in the BTCC. “At the halfway point, there was some ‘equalisation’, as they call it,” says Jordan. “We had our boost turned down and others got theirs turned up. I was frustrated.”

Then word came from Jordan’s long-time primary sponsor, Pirtek, that it was pulling its funding at season’s end following a management change. “The uncertainty of not knowing what’s happening next year made the season easier to enjoy because it might well have been my last,” says Jordan. “Without them, I wouldn’t have been in touring cars, never mind having won a title. I’ll always be grateful.”

So what now? “I haven’t approached any other team,” he says. “It’s either BMW or I go and do something else. I’ve been in the BTCC since 2008. I love it, but I don’t have to do it. The appeal of just being on the grid does nothing for me. I want to win races and titles.”

WSR and BMW want to retain Jordan, but in racing, finance usually rules. “As you can imagine, West Surrey have had a long line of drivers knocking on the door with big bags of cash,” says Jordan. “It’s really nice they are saying ‘look what he did for us last year’. They are trying to put talent before the funding, which I really appreciate. But it’s coming up to deadline…”

That’s the reality of motor racing, even for proven BTCC champions.

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