‘Dad ’n lad time’ just doesn’t get any better than this, says Andrew Jordan, in front of a beaming father and a gleaming Lotus Cortina – the car they have built together and will race together in the St Mary’s Trophy this year.
It promises to be quite a race, too – a time-warp coming together between some very old cars and some very new (and some not quite so new…) drivers. Plato, Priaulx, Shedden, Neal, Soper, Oliver, Turner, Kristensen, Needell… the list of star drivers the Jordans will be up against is a long one.
‘It’s Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden we will be trying to beat the most,’ Andrew tells us when we catch up with him and Mike for their new car’s first test at Donington. ‘Matt and Flash will be the ones to beat.’
Like the Jordans, they will also be in a Lotus Cortina (all up there are five down to take part). Of all the racing cars you associate with the Jordans – from Morris Minor to A40, Porsches to Hondas – it’s not the one that instantly comes to mind.
In fact it’s the second Lotus Cortina they have built this year – the first was for a certain Mark Sumpter who put it on the podium at the Silverstone Classic. ‘What we learnt from that car we have put into this new one,’ says Mike. ‘So it should be quick and from first impressions it’s perfect.’
The Lotus Cortina project stems from the Austin A40 the Jordans built and raced together in the St Mary’s Trophy at Revival last year. ‘It was always our dream to share a car at Goodwood,’ says Mike. ‘So we built the A40 and last year got the invite. We had the most fantastic weekend. It doesn’t get any better for a father and son to race together at Revival.’
Especially since Mike (the ‘gentlemen’ for the purposes of this two-driver event) won his race. Andrew was just pipped by Anthony Reid in the MkII Jag in his race, after a three-way tussle that also included Emanuele Pirro in the Alfa and which Andrew says today counts as his all-time favourite Goodwood moment. There’s a video of that dice year here.
Sharing a car is nothing new for the Jordans. They have famously worked together at the family’s Eurotech Racing team in Tamworth since Andrew moved from rallycross (he was junior champion) to touring cars in 2008. When they raced together in the BTCC that year they become the first father and son pairing in BTCC history. Mike was the oldest driver ever to win a BTCC round (he was 48 at the time) while a 19-year-old Andrew was the youngest driver ever to take a BTCC pole. He won on his debut and in 2013 he was crowned BTCC champion.
The Jordan family business has, over two decades, won more than 30 championships, including the British GT title as well as the BTCC, and lifted the Porsche Cup seven times.
Andrew might be driving in the BTCC for a new team now (Triple 8) but where historic racing is concerned, it’s still very much a family affair. So what does Andrew make of his new steed for the St Mary’s?
‘I haven’t actually driven it yet. In fact I have never driven any Lotus Cortina before,’ he admits. ‘I think it will be like the A40 but better damped and a bit quicker in a straight line. I am looking forward to it.’
For someone with a proper job (as this is written he is running fifth in the BTCC, just 30 points shy of leader Plato) Andrew Jordan is throwing himself into historic racing. He first took part at Revival in 2012 at the wheel of a Morris Minor, then last year did the TT in a Cobra. At Members’ Meeting this year he drove Nick Swift’s Mini and a pre-1966 Porsche 911 in the John Aldington Trophy – which he promptly won. His dad, famous for his Porsche racing, would surely never have forgiven him if he hadn’t…
What is it about touring car drivers and the St Mary’s Trophy?
‘To have the touring cars of their day with current drivers in them is just wonderful,’ says Andrew. ‘It makes a great spectacle. The cars don’t have a huge amount of grip and are so much more fun to drive than modern touring cars. Goodwood is such a quick and iconic circuit that driving anything around it is a challenge.
‘The enjoyment in racing today comes from success; the enjoyment in racing cars like the A40 and the Lotus Cortina comes just as much from the taking part.’
Plus he has a pretty tasty co-driver. ‘It’s dad and lad time and just a fantastic way for us to spend the weekend together.’
Who’s quicker then?
‘We are really closely matched in historic cars. Dad says I am quicker but it’s not by much. We always push it to the line, always work each other hard.’
Like father, like son – and a very likable Lotus Cortina. At its Donington debut it really did shine like a new penny. Says Mike: ‘There is a huge amount of work in this car and we were very hands on in building it. There’s only one fulltime guy in the workshop now – I want to keep the business small and do only the things that we have a real passion for.’
Next project: a Capri RS2600. We look forward to seeing that…
Photography by Tom Shaxson