Monday, 14 February 2011

Carmen Jordá



Carmen Jordá is a single-seater racer from Spain. She began karting at the age of eleven, in her native Valencia. Her first taste of full-sized circuit racing was in Master Junior Formula in 2005. This is a single-seater racing series for drivers under the age of eighteen. Carmen was sixteen when she started, and was seventh in the championship in her first year.

She did her first Formula 3 races the following year, as well as carrying on in Master Junior Formula. The junior series gave her a ninth place overall. The Formula 3 Copa España guest spots she took gave her a pair of eighteenth places at Valencia.

In 2007, she was fourth in the F3 Copa España, with three podium finishes: third places at Albacete, Magny-Cours and Jerez. Her other races resulted in fourths and fifths. In the main F3 championship, she did not fare as well, with her best result being a twelfth, at Jerez, late in the season. Her other races resulted in finishes ranging from thirteenth to 21st, and she was twentieth in the final standings.

This arrangement continued throughout 2008, although Carmen was now driving for Campos Racing, rather than Meycom Sport. Again, her best results came in the Copa, with fourth places at Albacete and Jerez. As well as these, she earned eight further top-ten finishes, and was eighth overall in the championship. In the main F3 draw, she once more found it more challenging, but her results were an improvement on those of 2007. She broke into the top ten twice, at Jerez and Magny-Cours, and was 21st overall, despite scoring her first points, which she failed to do in 2007.
  
Her single-seater schedule remained the same in 2009, although Spanish F3 was now the Euro F3 Open, and she was mainly under the care of GTA Racing with Campos. On the track, a string of DNFs mid-season dropped her down the rankings. Her best Open finish was ninth at Magny-Cours, while in the Copa, it was second, also at Magny-Cours. In the main championship, she did not visit the top ten again, although she managed several further top ten finishes, with one more podium at Catalunya, in the Copa. She was 21st in the Euro F3 Open, and sixth in the Copa España.

As well as her F3 activities, Carmen also did some sportscar racing in the Le Mans Series, driving a Judd-engined Lucchini LMP2 for the Hache Q8 Oils team. One of her two team-mates was the MotoGP rider Fonsi Nieto, who was her boyfriend at the time. The other was Maximo Cortes. The trio were entered into the Algarve, Nürburgring and Silverstone rounds, but did not finish any of them.

In 2010, she moved to the USA to compete in Firestone Indy Lights. The deal she had with Andersen Racing was initially for the full season, but this was curtailed to five events. She started brightly enough at St. Petersburgh, coming eleventh on her debut, but did not finish at Barber Motorsports Park with gearbox trouble. She bounced back at Long Beach, scoring her best finish: tenth. A temporary absence from the championship followed, but she was back for round seven, in Toronto. Sadly, she did not finish there, or at Edmonton shortly afterwards. Her season ended there. She struggled particularly with ovals and did not pass her oval driving test. This concluded her attempts to crack the US scene.

After sitting out 2011, Carmen returned in 2012, back in Europe. She raced in the GP3 F1 support series for Ocean Technology, with an eye on progressing up the European single-seater ladder again. It was rather a difficult season for her, with her fair share of DNFs, and a non-start at Silverstone due to illness. Her best finish was thirteenth, at Valencia. She was unofficially 28th in the championship. After the main season, she travelled to India for the MRF Challenge, where she finished four races, with a best result of ninth. 


She moved to the Bamboo Engineering team for 2013, still in GP3. Her team-mate for much of the season was Alice Powell. Carmen showed more reliability, finishing thirteen of her sixteen races. Her best finish was 18th, achieved in the second race of the season, at Catalunya. She was not among the front-runners, but was usually able to keep going to the finish. She was unplaced in the championship.

After that, she took part in some MRF Challenge races again, this time in Bahrain. Her results were a ninth, and two thirteenth places. 


She returned to GP3 in 2014, now driving for the Koiranen GP team. She was still not really on the pace, managing to equal her best 2013 finish on two occasions, but not more. Her 17th places were at Spa and Silverstone, and she got into the top twenty twice more during the season, at the Red Bull Ring and Monza. 


In a surprise move, Carmen was signed by the Lotus Formula One team in February 2015, as a development driver. This role would be similar to Susie Wolff's first year with Williams; mostly simulator work, with a chance of some race weekend testing later in the year. Her appointment did not go down well with many in the motorsport world. As well as legitimate questions about her suitability, a lot of tired sexism was thrown around. Carmen did not comment personally.


Lotus became Renault in 2016. Carmen continued in her development role, but for Renault Sport this time, rather than the F1 team. She also did some racing, for the first time in a while, taking part in the Renault Sport Trophy in a NISMO-engined Renault Sport RS01. She scored a string of ninths and eighths in the AM Trophy, and was fifth overall. She began the season in the Pro class, but moved down. Although she was stronger in the more competitive Endurance trophy, the bigger field meant that she was only sixteenth, despite a sixth place at Spa, and two sevenths at Aragon Motorland and the Red Bull Ring.

In 2017, she remained in the Renault development team, although her role there became more vague. Mid-season, she did some competitive karting, describing it as the purest form of motorsport. Her future plans are unclear.

Away from the track, Carmen has done quite a lot of fashion modelling, which has helped her profile in Spain. She also dated Moto GP rider, Fonsi Nieto, for quite some time.

(Image from www.carmenjorda.com)

1 comment:

  1. I remember seeing the #43 Q8 Lucchini Judd at Silverstone, hope Carmen finds a ride this season.

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