PEOPLE: EDDIE JORDAN
Name: Eddie Jordan
Edmund Jordan was planning to be a dentist but dropped out of college and became a bank clerk instead, joining the Bank of Ireland in 1967. For the next three years he worked in the bank before a strike in Dublin saw him posted to the island of Jersey, a well known tax haven off the French coast. It was in Jersey that Jordan had his first contact with motor racing, watching go-karts on the famous Bouley Bay hillclimb.
Mad about racing, he returned to Dublin and bought himself a kart. He won the Irish Championship and in 1974 moved into Formula Ford 1600 racing. The following year he raced in Britain but had a major accident at the end of the year and so missed most of the 1976 season while his broken legs healed.
In 1977 his wheeling and dealing took him into Formula Atlantic racing with an ex-Alan Jones March and the following year he won the Irish title. His next move was to team up with Sweden's Stefan Johansson to race in the British Formula 3 series under the Team Ireland banner and in the course of 1979 Jordan raced an F2 car at Donington and tested a McLaren F1 car. At the end of that year he set up Eddie Jordan Racing and in 1981 ran David Leslie and David Sears (later the boss of the Supernova Formula 3000 team). In 1982 he hired James Weaver and a string of pay-drivers but by 1983 was sufficiently established to run Martin Brundle in Britain (he finished second to Ayrton Senna) and Weaver in European Formula 3. The team would finally win the British title in 1987 with Johnny Herbert driving.
Jordan also ran a team in F3000 but without success until 1988 when Eddie got the first Reynard chassis and Herbert won the first race of the season. Second driver Martin Donnelly also won that year and finished third in the championship but Herbert crashed heavily at Brands Hatch and was out of action for the rest of the season. The following year Jordan's team dominated the series with driver Jean Alesi (who was champion), Donnelly and Thomas Danielsson, the team winning six of the 10 races. In 1990 Eddie ran Eddie Irvine, Emanuele Naspetti and Heinz-Harald Frentzen but it was a bad year, Irvine winning only one race.
That year Eddie established Jordan Grand Prix and the team entered F1 with Bertrand Gachot and Andrea de Cesaris in 1991. The team was gradually built up during the 1990s with considerable help from Peugeot, which supplied the engines in 1995, 1996 and 1997. This enabled Jordan to land a major sponsorship deal from Benson & Hedges and in 1998 he hired ex-World Champion Damon Hill. The team had switched to Mugen Honda engines and at Spa the combination was successful with Hill beating his team-mate Ralf Schumacher to score a Jordan 1-2, the team's first victory.
In 1999 Hill was joined by Heinz-Harald Frentzen who won the French and Italian GPs and finished third in the World Championship, but the 2000 season was rather disappointing although Jordan was able to convince Honda to supply him with factory V10 engines in 2001 but he lost the deal at the end of 2002 and the team had to switch to customer Ford Cosworth engines in 2003.