Harbury racer Jordan King enjoying commentary role
RACING driver Jordan King is used to living life in the fast lane and being in front of the TV cameras, but he’s recently dipped his toes into the world of commentating.
The 27-year-old from Harbury speaks to Herald sports editor Craig Gibbons about what it’s been like getting behind the mic for Formula One’s global subscription service.
IF there’s one things that’s for sure about the world of commentating, you associate certain voices with a certain sport.
There’s been many great commentators over the years, with the likes of the late quartet of Murray Walker, Peter Allis, Peter O’Sullevan and Sid Waddell all known for being the voices of Formula One, golf, horse racing and darts respectively.
While there are a number of commentating veterans still doing their job today, for example Martin Tyler on football, there’s a fresh breed of the next voices of sport coming through.
And alongside every good commentator is a co-commentator – and that’s where Jordan King comes in.
Formula One in particular has had great servants of the sport on co-comms, with James Hunt, known for his very laddish lifestyle off the track, proving to be incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining behind the mic alongside the great Murray Walker.
Nowadays its another Brit in Martin Brundle whose been providing his expert analysis and thoughts during every race since taking up the mic in 1997 and is regarded as the best in the business.
There’s many greats to look up to for commentary inspiration and while King’s main priority will always to be out on the racetrack, talking about Formula One for the viewers at home has been an experience he has enjoyed much more than he thought would.
“I spoke to a few people in that world over the last 18 months about commentating to have a look at other opportunities within the sport,” he said.
“Formula One has its own subscription service which isn’t available on the UK, it’s more for overseas and I was asked to commentate for that.
“Initially it was different being on the other side of the television screen. Growing up watching motorsport and knowing everyone in the sport, I suppose it comes naturally to speak about motor racing.
“However, it’s about being able to do that on live TV and off the cuff. It took a couple of weekends to get used to that’s for sure.”
King added: “You have got someone in your ear all the time telling you what replays are coming up and what’s happened on the track that’s not being shown live on the TV.
“You’ve got five or six different screens, so you’re trying to focus on the one main screen but trying to look at the others to see what’s going on because there’s so much information involved.
“After a little while all seemed to be OK.”
Being able to break into commentary has opened up further avenues into a wider career in motorsport, but for King racing in front of the TV screens is his main focus.
“Commentating hasn’t been a goal of mine from the word go,” he said.
“I got into driving and achieved my goals, but career-wise commentating has got some good potential to grow.
“There are plenty of big names to learn from. Everyone knows iconic sporting commentators: there are certain voices you associate with certain sports and that actually get you excited about that sport.
“When you get a commentator you don’t like it ruins the sport, so hopefully I’m one of those people enjoying listening to.
“If my commentating career grows and I get better at it and people like me doing it, then I’d love to carry it on in the future.”
As a simulator driver for the Alpine Formula One team, King took great enjoyment in commentating over Esteban Ocon’s remarkable Hungarian Grand Prix win on 1st August.
“Everyone in the commentary booth leans on me quite a bit when it comes to Alpine to try and get the trade secrets,” he said.
“When Alpine were close to winning throughout the race, you’re trying to do your job of commentating but then getting excited your team is doing well because the personal effort and the effort put in by everyone else is about to pay off.
“Right at the end on the last lap, the lead commentator handed it over to me to call Esteban across the line, which was cool.”
Alongside commentating on Formula One, King has also been providing his thoughts on the Formula Two and Formula Three support series alongside Alex Jacques, who is now Channel 4's lead Formula One commentator.
“I have known Alex since my GP2 days in 2015,” said King. “I’ve seen his progression through the sport and it was easy to gel with him because I know him on a personal level.
“Commentating with him was a little strange because he was working with Channel 4 and we're based out of Biggin Hill, so we had to video feed into each other.
“It’s quite hard to get that synergy when looking at someone on Facetime whilst trying to commentate, but it works quite well because we know each other well and respect each other for our roles in the sport.”
King added: “It’s been really good fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it all. Obviously with my commitments I can’t do everything.
“Alpine use me on some weekends as well as Mahindra Racing, then there’s my other motorsport commitments so I’m having to juggle what I can and can’t do commentary-wise.
“Hopefully I will be back again for three or four more weekend before the end of the year, I don’t know which ones will be for F2 and F3, but of course I’m definitely looking forward to it all and I’ve enjoyed commentating so far.”