By: Tanner Watkins
November 14, 2018 | 10:27 AM
British driver Jordan King will get his first shot at the Indianapolis 500 next May driving for the Honda-powered Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing organization.
King, who turns 25 in February, drove in 11 IndyCar Series races this past season for Ed Carpenter Racing. After ECR signed Ed Jones to pilot the road and street course program for team owner Ed Carpenter’s No. 20 machine, King has inked a deal to compete in the “Greatest Spectacle.”
“I’m really happy and excited to announce that I’ll be driving in the 2019 Indy 500 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” said the Warwick, England native. “This race is one that I have been working towards and a race I have always dreamt of racing in as it’s the jewel in the crown of IndyCar.
“I was at the race last year and I really enjoyed the whole weekend and knew straight away it was something that I had to be a part of so to be able to go there next year is definitely a huge moment in my career.”
Serving as a road and street course specialist, King had an average starting position of 13.2 and an average finishing mark of 15.8 last season. King’s best run came on the streets of Toronto where he qualified 8th and finished 11th in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has a history of bringing three drivers to the Indianapolis 500. There have been five occasions where RLLR has featured three drivers in their month of May stable: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2013 and 2018. Last year the RLLR trio consisted of 2017 Indianapolis 500 race winner Takuma Sato, Graham Rahal and Spain’s Oriol Servia.
Team co-owner Bobby Rahal voiced his support of King in a press release from Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
“Jordan certainly impressed me last year with his pace at a number of races,” added Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing along with television personality David Letterman and Mike Lanigan.
“Of course those were all road and street courses but he quickly came to grips with the Dallara and it was apparent that he has the potential to do well. While this will be his first oval race, I think that given the amount of track time, he will get up to speed and come to grips with the challenges of oval racing just as quickly.
“It always helps to have two strong teammates and a strong team behind you to shorten the learning curve and we feel we provide that. We look forward to welcoming him to the team.”
In the five occasions where RLLR has brought three cars to the Indianapolis 500, only once did the team not qualify each driver for the race. The one outlier was 2013 when Michel Jourdain Jr. missed the event after being bounced on Bump Day.
King has yet to make a start on an IndyCar Series oval in his brief American open-wheel career. The first confirmed opportunity he will have on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval will come on April 24 when the series hosts an open test.
King’s last full-time season in open-wheel racing came in 2017 with MP Motorsport in the FIA Formula 2 Championship. In 2011, he won the India Formula 1600 championship while the British driver also captured the 2013 British Formula 3 championship with Carlin.
Full-time plans are still in the works for King, who remains hopeful that he can one day secure a full-time ride in the increasingly competitive IndyCar Series.
“Heading into next year, we went from not being able to find a full-time drive for the season through to securing a seat at one of the biggest races in the world which is a huge relief to be able to get sorted,” King added.
“A huge thanks to RLL for the opportunity and I hope I can repay their faith in me with a good result. The race will be my first-ever on a superspeedway so it should be an exciting experience every time I get behind the wheel.
“The aim for the 500 is to prove myself as an oval racer. I already competed in the road and street courses this year so now I’ll be looking to impress and expand my CV to push towards a full-time drive.”
Header image by James Black/INDYCAR.