Jordan King confirmed for FP1 run with Manor at COTA

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Jordan King will make his first free practice run-out this Friday at Circuit of The Americas with Manor, which was planned and will see the British GP2 Series veteran step into the MRT05 Mercedes on a race weekend for the first time.

King’s name could come up for 2017 as a potential replacement at Manor if either Esteban Ocon and/or Pascal Wehrlein moves on next year, and with vacancies at Renault and Force India to fill, it seems likely one if not both of them will be on the move.

As it is, King has tested over the offseason and in the in-season tests, so this is a natural step up for him. There’s one race weekend remaining in the GP2 season at Abu Dhabi; he’s fifth in points with two sprint race wins.

“First of all, I’d like to thank the team for making this possible,” King said. “It’s another big step in the right direction for me, after two really positive tests in the MRT05 which paved the way for this opportunity. It’s a dream come true, but at the same time I have a job to do in the car on Friday and I want to make sure I give the team plenty of quality feedback and data to help with their USGP challenge.

“There’s quite a lot to cram into 90 minutes. I’ll be exploring the balance of the car and correlating that with the team’s simulation work. There’ll be some new components to evaluate, along with the tire specifications for this event. I’ll also be learning the circuit and getting up to speed with the car, which has been developed quite a bit since I last drove it at Silverstone. I can’t wait!”

Manor Racing Director Dave Ryan added, “It will be good to give Jordan his first FP1 session. He’s done a really great job in his Development Driver role and this opportunity was a planned part of his program with us. We look forward to getting his feedback and this further opportunity to appraise his performance in the MRT05.”

Of note, King was at Sonoma last month for the Verizon IndyCar Series finale, scoping that paddock out to get a lay of the land there, so this won’t be his first trip to the U.S. this year.