With a career in motorsports that spans everything from working for a major auto manufacturer to team ownership to time behind the wheel of a race car, Jim Jordan brings a wealth of experience to his role as the Pirelli World Challenge Director of Marketing and Communications.
In this week’s Pirelli Paddock pass, Jordan explains his role and how his previous experiences have shaped his outlook as he helps guide PWC into the the latest “golden age” of sports car racing.
What does your role as Director of Marketing and Communications for Pirelli World Challenge entail?
“We are a small team so like everyone at WC Vision we do lots of crossover. My main responsibilities are ensuring the content we produce on the race track is distributed as widely and easy to consumer for fans as possible.
“I also work with the team to strengthen the Pirelli Wold Challenge brand and set our long term objectives and tactics to continue to grow the series.
“Since I assumed this responsibility in January, we have gone to a live video streaming model, renewed with CBS Sports, signed a deal with SiriusXM, and introduced a fan-facing app.
“Our coverage has not been 100 percent perfect but so far the streaming service on either the website or the app has only been down briefly at St Petersburg. Since then we have not had a big enough issue to bring down the video stream.
“I am very proud of what we are doing there and thanks to a great team to making this happen.
“Between Jeff Lepper, Tom Blattler, Arnold Eugenio, then adding Carlin Sanderson on weekends and utilizing Director of Business Development Robbie Montinola, I work with an exceptional group of dedicated and talented team.
“Long term [WC Vision CEO] Greg Gill and I bounce lots of ideas around regarding how to improve. Greg does a great job of seeking input from everyone, both internally and externally to set direction. It is a great team I am working with.”
How did you get your start in motorsports?
“My interest in racing began with my dad took me to Trenton Speedway and I saw Mario Andretti win an IndyCar race.
“A year or two later he took my brother and I to Watkins Glen to see a Trans Am/SCCA National and I was hooked on racing, plus also saw it as something I could do.
“I joined SCCA when I was 16, when you actually had to be sponsored by a member. I wore a coat and tie to a meeting, and talked to some real race drivers!
“I started crewing for a Formula Ford racer named Andy Fagen out of the Northeast when I turned 17 and have been around race cars ever since.”
What previous experiences do you find yourself drawing from with his role?
“I had a long, great career at Mazda North America, where for the last decade I was there, I handled the motorsports marketing responsibilities.
“During this time, my brother Joe and I also had a race team that competed in IMSA and SCCA Pro Racing, including World Challenge. I did some driving too, so I think I bring a broad set of experiences and perspective to the job.
“I know the various issues and challenges the teams, the partners, the drivers face which allows me to understand their perspective. I use my experience every day and have relationships that go back decades with a many of them.
“They know I have walked in their shoes, but they also know that my main responsibility is to the series. I joke that I am often just a shoulder to cry on, but I am willing to listen.”
What in your mind makes Pirelli World Challenge unique amongst sports car racing series?
“I think think our sprint focus and wide variety of productions cars is our strength.
“We have our own version of “Dream Car Garage” with the GT3 class, but we also have the cars that most people drove to the track with the TC classes. This is powerful. The sprint format is a good entry point for new sports car fans.
“My love is endurance racing, and I still get goosebumps remembering being in the pit box at Le Mans for 24, but with a new fan the nuances and beauty of endurance racing takes some time to grow and understand.
“We give new fans a way to engage in a simple to follow format. We are a great entry point to bring in new fans that we hope will sustain the sport we all love for a long time.
“We all got many fan letters after the VIR race from new fans who have never been to a road race before, and they all were so excited and appreciative of the experience they had. I hope those people come back to see us and also hope they visit the IMSA GT race in fall.
“My time with a Japanese company taught me that a rising tide lifts all boats and I think the success that both sanctioning bodies are having feeds off each other.”
How well do you feel sports car racing generally is positioned for future success?
“I think in many ways we are in a new golden age. Our crowds are growing. The success that IMSA is having is fantastic.
“Each of us offers an amazing weekend for fans, and the accessibility in both our paddocks is a real selling point in my opinion.
“Fans can see the cars close up, talk to drivers and crew people, just become immersed in the experience. I am a great believer in experiential marketing and the immersion someone gets in a sports car paddock is very special.
“In case you have not figured it out yet, it is not an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ when it comes to racing. Greg Gill and Scott Atherton have a good relationship and I see it only getting better.
“My goal is to build PWC and sports car racing, and the better job we do the better it is for everyone involved in the sport.”