JORDAN CANE is a young man going places fast. Very fast.
Only 14, the Felpham ace has already become the youngest active driver in a Formula car series in the world – and he has immediately shown he is not just there to make up numbers.
His interest in motor-racing began at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed, where he first went at the age of eight. And it’s far from impossible to think that in the future, Cane could be one of the global stars wowing the crowds with their speed and skill at that same event.
Cane has just completed a year which saw him racing in the United States in the F1600 championship. Only the fact his age - then 13 - stopped him from taking part in the early stages of the programme prevented him walking off with the title.
In other words, he gave his rivals a head start - and they needed it.
Parents Grant and Kirsty, brother Mitchell and the rest of his family are supporting him and encouraging him in any way they can, although the financial demands of following such a path are huge. And when you talk to the Felpham Community School pupil, you come away with the impression that this is a talent with an old head on young shoulders, and a very strong will to succeed.
Cane first went to FoS aged eight and loved it. Three years later, at the festival, he asked his dad if he could have a pit bike. Dad wasn’t keen, having hurt himself in a pit-bike accident when he was younger.
But Cane was determined to be a racer and they turned their attentions to go-karts, with Cane enrolling on a four-week cadet course at Thruxton. Before long, he was breaking the lap record and outracing his instructor.
Dad Grant said: “He was always a bit interested in motorsports growing and took to competitive karting at age 11. Before long he found himself on the path of a professional race-car driver.”
Within six months of starting karting, he won his first championship. In his second year, he came tenth in the British championship. With his dad for company, he began travelling to America to try his hand at racing cars, which led to attending the Skip Barber Racing School.
After a three-day racing school and some advanced sessions at Lime Rock Park with Barber, all the time showing ability and nerve beyond his tender years, Cane had the chance to join Team Pelfrey for the 2015 F1600 series.
He had to wait until he turned 14 to take part in an actual F1600 race - and even then needed special dispensation. But that made him the youngest active driver in a Formula car series in the world and the youngest to score a point in the F1600 event, driving his No81 Mygale machine like a seasoned pro.
Grant said: “Having missed the first two race weekends through age eligibility rules, he set out to show the competition he was not to be taken lightly. In just his second race weekend, he stormed through the field to take his first career open-wheel win.
“That was just the beginning. In the 15 races competed over five race weekends, Jordan claimed seven wins, including a sweep of the season finale at Pittsburgh International Race Complex.
“He ended the season fourth in Championship points and tied for wins in the series with 2015 champion Scott Andrews.”
Even snow and rain on that final weekend couldn’t put Cane off course – in fact he says he thrives in wet conditions.
This first season of North American open-wheel competition brought him seven wins and ten podium places out of 15 races.
Cane now aims to move up the motorsport ladder and in 2016 is lined up to compete, again in the USA, in the first step of the ‘Mazda Road to Indy’ – The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
What about the longer-term? Cane has his feet on the ground but is, quite rightly, aiming high.
“By 2020 I’d like to get into Indycar or F1,” he said. “But I know I have a long way to go and a lot of hurdles to overcome first.
“I knew as soon as I got in a car and did a lap that I wanted to compete and make a career out of it. It’s hard, but I don’t want to have any regrets. I don’t want to get to 30 and look back and wonder what I could have achieved.”
Motorsport experts speak highly of Cane’s talent.
One testimonial came from Anders Krohn, from Coforce International, an organisation based in the States which helps young race drivers move up through the ranks.
He said: “Jordan was very impressive from the very first outing on track. What’s most impressive is his ability to transfer what he’s seen on data and video and then translate that to performance on track.
“He never stops finding more time and always wants more. I can’t wait to see how he develops, because he’s already at a level that’s way beyond his age and experience.”
Dad Grant added: “He has a natural talent for racing but we’re not putting any pressure on him to get results. He manages to stay modest and humble about it. He has a very good attitude to learning.”
Felpham Community College have been very supportive, allowing Cane the time off he needs while making sure he stays on top of school work.
In fact, Cane wants to have as much of a normal teenage life as he can as well as enjoying his adventures behind the wheel.
His dad said: “He hasn’t given up being a normal teenage boy. With his best friend living just around the corner, they are often found on the astroturf playing soccer or playing video games at home. He goes fishing with me, which is one of his favourite forms of relaxation.”
Cane has the sort of racer role models you would expect from the F1 world, but says he takes particular inspiration from Jenson Button, who rose to fame from nothing, from a ‘normal’ background –something Cane himself will be able to say he has done if he makes it to the big-time.
To stay up to date with Cane’s progress, visit JordanCaneRacing.com, follow @jordancane2bn1 on Twitter or search Jordan Cane Racing on Facebook.