Success in motorsport often boils down to being in the ‘right place, at the right time’.

We first set-up this interview back in early 2015. Andrew Jordan was appearing at the NEC’s Autosport International show with his freshly liveried Pirtek Racing MG6 GT. The 2013 BTCC Champion and his father, Mike, had just announced their decision to sell control of Eurotech Racing, and for AJ to move his title ambitions back to Triple Eight, the squad he’d contended the 2009 season with.

But despite all the promise, like many across the paddock, even in pre-season testing, I could see the MG struggling for pace. The balance wasn’t right. The car snapped between understeer and oversteer as it entered then exited fast turns, whilst on the long straights of Snetterton and Donington, those who pushed-on were rarely caught. As the year went by, Jordan and his teammate, Jack Goff, raced hard, but were seldom rewarded: It wasn’t the right time.


Eighteen months later and we finally sit down and talk. The early promise of an air-conditioned motorhome now swapped for the back of a Motorbase truck. This is clearly a better place.

We exchange the customary small talk. There’s no desire from either of us to dwell on the past. The decision to leave MG came quickly, and so did the opportunity to work with David Bartrum. But what is it, I ask, that made it such an easy move?

AJ: “Passion” (came the reply). “The passion for racing, for winning and ultimately, a simple belief that together, we can be the best. That’s what opened the door… We knew we’d fit in here, and I’m not just talking about the relationship with the guys, you get that almost anywhere. It’s simply that we could see how much they wanted it, and they really do want it! They don’t sit around talking about winning, they roll-up their sleeves and they do it.”

I can see this. I’ve written about Motorbase, Bartrum and team manager Olly Collins before. They’re special.

READ: Inside BTCC: David Bartrum, winning the hard way

Yet for all of Motorbase’s strengths, there’s an equally obvious flaw in Jordan’s logic. Not only did he choose to move away from a manufacturer-backed squad – with the depth of resources it can potentially deploy – he also chose to join a team that’s been built around another top-line driver, namely Mat Jackson. In other words, Jordan would be measured against one of the best (i.e. Jackson), in an environment which suits his team mate down to a tee.

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  • The Pirtek liveried MG6 GT was fast, but Jordan’s race pace was seldom rewarded by a podium.

The first rule of motor racing is “always beat your team mate”, so my next question is how prepared was he for this?

AJ: “It’s one of the reasons we wanted to do this deal early. We knew what we’d be up against and we wanted to not only get as much time as we could in the car, we also wanted to establish ourselves within the team. Everyone knows what Mat is capable of, but they know what I’m capable of too. And yes, there is a noticeable difference between the works teams and the independents, but don’t forget, we won as an independent and I believe that we can do it again. Yes, it’s tough. I know how much effort goes into winning, and when you’re up against the resources that Honda, Subaru and BMW are able to employ, the challenges are multiplied. But it’s doable, and that’s all that matters.”

And as the results show, it’s not only do-able, it’s being done. So much so that entering the final rounds this weekend, not only will both Motorbase Fords be pitched into a two-man battle for the Independent Drivers’ title, a race where Jordan currently enjoys a 34-point lead, they’re also amongst the eight cars still in the hunt for the overall championship. It’s a remarkable position to be in.

ajordan-btcc_g11ajordan-btcc_g12Jordan is a popular figure in the BTCC paddock, here he chats with BTCC commentator and broadcaster Alan Hyde.

AJ: “The aim is always to be ‘Number 1’, and in Touring Cars, that means the overall championship. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have any interest in the Independents trophy too, of course we do. But sitting here, I absolutely know that an independent team can win this title. It hasn’t happened since we did it back in 2013, but both Mat and I are in with a fighting chance now and that’s not lost on either of us. Realistically, I’d rather have the points in the bag, but there’s every chance it’s going to go down to the final race and I intend to be there.”

I get this. Perhaps this year more than most, the fight for points has been ever more brutal, both on and off the track. If this was Formula One, Motorbase might be Williams. Only unlike Formula One, this small outfit from Wrotham has already notched-up six wins and a further seven podiums. Compare this to the seven wins by the Hondas, four from the BMWs (three-car squad) and four from Subaru’s four-car entry; and it’s suddenly clear that whatever’s written on the silverware, it’s the winning ways that matter.

AJ: “It’s always tough starting with a new team. No matter where we are, our sole aim is to win. Winning races and winning titles, these are things you don’t forget. They become instinctive. But you also need that little bit of luck, and at the start of the year, we just didn’t get any. It’s been said before, but what brings success more than anything else in this championship is continuity. The pace in the car has always been there but that doesn’t always guarantee results. As it stands, we’re still in the fight, so right now, the focus is solely on these last few races.”

It’s time to switch tack. His mind is where it needs to be. Now I want to ask more about the role his father, Mike, plays. I see him in the garage, or on the pit wall, and on the grid, or standing on a corner, headphones on, making notes, ever on the go. When the term ‘we’ is employed, it’s clear that this is a very unique partnership.

AJ: “Motorbase very much wanted him involved. His experience and commitment are immeasurable. He’s not just another Dad with an all-seeing eye, he’s as much a part of the team as I am, employed to work with me and my engineer to deliver the results we know we can achieve. I’m sure that if there wasn’t a role for him, he’d be just as happy with the grandchildren, watching from the garage, but the role is most definitely there and he’s a key part in all of our success. We won the championship together. He knows how I react and he knows when I want advice, or (he smiles), when I need it!”

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  • Mike Jordan is a former BTCC race winner and now plays a key role in moving the Motorbase Fords up the grid.

So is this role confined to purely on-track activities or does it go much deeper? And if so, how important is it to have support in managing the business side of racing?

AJ: “Absolutely! He’s full-time when we race, he’s full-time in the office and he’s full-time in his workshop too! He works incredibly hard with our sponsors and partners. We’re a package and people buy into this. Take Pirtek for example, the relationship started with Dad in 2005. Eleven years on, we’re stronger than ever. I don’t think I’ll create headlines if I say that sponsorship is the hardest part of this sport. The BTCC is one of the toughest grids there is and there are so many good drivers out there, in theory, it could be filled many times over… but it’s not. Hard cash and well-structured partnerships play such a key role. You’re nowhere without the talent, but equally, without the backing needed to propel a career, you can only ever dream. And I know, we all know, that there are any number of capable drivers looking for any way-in, so managing relationships and actively supporting our partners is fundamental to our success. So much so that even if you’ve had a bad day on track, and we all have them, you’ve still got to be in the right mind to have a good day off it! The moment you’re out of the car and the debrief is over, you’ve got to make sure that you’re supporting the people supporting you. From the Q&A’s in the hospitality tent to the meet-and-greets after. It’s not only important to our sponsors, it’s important to me. We’re all in this together. It’s just as much their team and Dad’s team as it’s mine.”

There’s plenty of wisdom in these words.

The guests crowding the garages, loitering over the buffet, swelling the grid before each race. These are the customers of the people paying the bills. Without them, the BTCC as we know it simply wouldn’t exist. They’re not a necessary evil, they’re a necessity, and Jordan understands this.

There’s genuine pride too as we talk about the brands he represents; keen to highlight that there’s still another two years of his contract with Pirtek to run; and of the work he does with Autoglym, and perhaps the most important badge of all, the one that tells the world that he is a Red Bull Athlete. It’s a relationship that, he freely admits, took an exceptional effort to build, but one that, in return, delivers a level of exposure that not only he and the team, but that all partners can benefit from.

Red Bull’s reach is huge, particularly through their employment of multi- and social media platforms. They’re arguably one of the most successful brands in the world and he gushes with pride to be ranked alongside the likes of Daniel Ricciardo, David Coulthard, Sébastien Ogier and Marc Márquez.


AJ: “Red Bull is my wingman” he tells me. “The whole team get right behind you; they’re incredibly proactive and their energy drives me to constantly aim higher; to be better and to repay their trust and support by always being the best that we can.”

I can see the spark in his eyes. There’s no script or routine to his answers, no compromise within his comments. We’re already over our time but he’s happy to continue. It’s a race weekend and every second is made to count, whether on the track or off it, so I ask if I can lead him into the dark side of Touring Cars, to talk about the seemingly growing controversies over driving standards.

He’s been quite frank with his thoughts immediately after returning from races bearing a seemingly unnecessary amount of damage, but I wonder how he’ll react now, adrenaline removed. And from my perspective, it’s not only standards during racing that I’m keen to explore but also the number of red flags occurring during the free practice sessions, even qualifying, limiting the whole grid’s effort to refine set-up and prepare for the main event.

AJ: “Yes, I’m happy to talk about it. There’ve been a few races recently where due to qualifying issues, we’ve found ourselves out of position and this has really opened my eyes to what goes on elsewhere on the grid. From my point of view, Touring Cars has to be about hard racing; a little bit of rubbing is inevitable, it’s part of what people come to see, but those at the front, nine times out of ten, do it in a really subtle way. I can race with these guys all weekend long; you give and you take. Sure, sometimes it’s going to end in tears, I get that; we all get that. Sometimes you’ll be on the receiving end, sometimes you might cause it; it’s part of what we’re about. But lately, especially from the midfield down, it feels like it’s been getting out of hand and the amount of damage that we and others have had to deal with… it’s just not right.”

ajordan-btcc_g9Jordan racing an Austin A30 at the 2016 Goodwood Revival.

His isn’t a lone voice. I can see why TOCA want 32 cars on the grid, but this inevitably leads to a point where talent is replaced by money. It’s the same from F1 to karting. But at least to get to F1, you now need to accrue points for your ‘Super-Licence’. As the UK’s premier race series, is it perhaps time that the BTCC followed suit?

AJ: “Touring Cars isn’t just the top championship in the UK, it really is one of the best in the world, and we not only need to protect this, we need to respect it too. We need to be setting examples to young racers everywhere. As you know, I do a lot of other racing, especially in historics, and I get bored hearing the same warnings at the drivers’ briefings; that this isn’t touring cars, so don’t go driving into each other… Well guess what, we don’t! You don’t win races by constantly hitting your opponents. Yes we do ‘hard’ touring car moves, and this is often different to what would be tolerated in other forms of motorsport, but with the good guys, the experienced guys, we can go two or three abreast into a hairpin, and there’ll be the inevitable rubbing and bumping but none of it leads to a car being retired. You give as good as you get and (most of the time) we continue, as one, into the next corner.”

He has a point. To win in Touring Cars, you not only need to be quick, you need to be inch perfect, you need to trust, and you need to be trusted. With the championship now reaching its conclusion, and set on the ever-demanding stage of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit, does Jordan fear for his own chances at the hands of others?

AJ: “To be fair, TOCA are really starting to address this in the briefings, and the Clerk & Stewards afterwards with stiffer penalties. So I need to trust in them. As for us, we’ve just got to make sure that we get the car absolutely right and go out there and make our own luck.”

Will the luck finally come his way on Sunday? Who knows? But I do know that whatever the outcome, Andrew Jordan will fight hard until the last lap of the final round. Once a champion, always a champion.


PICTURES:  Steve Hindle – follow him on Instagram (@stevehindle) and Facebook (TheBlackStuff).  Also many thanks to Jakob Ebrey (at