Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will once again have three cars entered in the Indianapolis 500 next May. The team announced today that a third Honda machine, driven by Jordan King, will be aiming for one of the 33 coveted starting positions. King will make his Indy 500 debut after contesting 11 races last season for Ed Carpenter Racing on the road and street courses. He and the team would like to pair up for more races in 2019, if possible.
The Briton’s pace last season was exceptionally fast for a Rookie. He advanced to the Firestone Fast Six twice during qualifying. King nearly had a pair of top-five finishes in the bag, and led 11 laps in 2017, but will not be returning to the ECR team after they announced that Ed Jones will drive the non-oval races next season. King will have two experienced teammates, in Graham Rahal and 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato. The full press release from today is below.
[Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Press Release]
Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing announced today that the team will enter a Honda-powered car for British driver Jordan King in the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2019. It will be the first Indianapolis 500 for the native of Warwickshire, England who competed in the 11 road and street course races for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2018.
“I’m really happy and excited to announce that I’ll be driving in the 2019 Indy 500 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” said Jordan King, 24. “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.”
“Jordan certainly impressed me last year with his pace at a number of races,” added Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with 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. Of course 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.”
British racing star King began karting in 2005, competing in national, European and World Championships. He moved to single-seaters in 2010, rising through the traditional junior ranks and racking up pole positions, race wins and podium finishes. He won the prestigious British Formula 3 title in 2013 with the Carlin squad, adding his name to a roster of legendary names from the past.
Having achieved seven podium finishes in the European F3 series in 2014, he moved up to acknowledged F1 proving ground GP2 for 2015. King achieved his first GP2 podium at Spa-Francorchamps. Performing at high-level, Jordan caught the eye of the Manor F1 team, which put their faith in his ability by signing him as their development driver. Two more seasons in GP2/Formula 2 saw him secure two wins, six podiums and three fastest laps whilst being a constant front-runner.
Jordan then made the step up to IndyCar for the 2018 season with Ed Carpenter Racing, contesting the street and road courses. He showed his natural ability and race pace from day-one by setting a new lap record at St. Petersburg on his debut race weekend. He qualified in the Fast Six two times and led 11 laps with a best finish of 11th at Toronto.
“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,” continued King. “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.”
The 2019 IndyCar Series season will open March 10 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida with the 15th annual Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.