Son of former racer Michel Jourdain, who competed in the Mexico City Champ Car races of 1980 and 81, and the nephew of Bernard Jourdain, the 1989 Indy 500 Co-Rookie of the Year.
Michel Jourdain Jr. was born in Mexico City, Mexico and is the son of Michel Jourdain. Jourdain Jr. started racing cars in the Mexican Formula Junior series at the age of 12.
Jourdain Jr. got his start in cars during the 1991 season competing in Formula K endurance racing in Mexico before moving over to the country’s Formula 2 competition.
Jourdain spent the following two seasons honing his skills in Formula 2, finishing 15th in the final standings in his first full season before improving to 12th in 1993. He also won two of six races in the Mobil Delvac Cup series for semi-trucks and finished third in the inaugural Tecate Cup series, which was won by his father, Michel Sr.
In 1995 he finished 3rd in the Formula 2 Championship in a season that included five podium finishes in his fourth full season in the series.
In 1996, he replaced Carlos Guerrero in mid-season and driving for Team Scandia, he competed in five races. Jourdain became the youngest driver to ever start a Champ Car event when he drove at Long Beach at 19 years, 6 months and 12 days old, and turned in a 23rd-place finish in his rookie debut.
Jourdain raced full time in Champ Car from 1997-2004. In his early years, he was largely considered a back marker; however, after joining the Rahal team in 2002, he became a championship contender. Jourdain ended his Champ Car career in 2004 with 1 pole, 2 wins, and 9 podium finishes.
Jourdain was supported by Mexican sponsors throughout his years in Champ Car. In fact, many believed that Jourdain would not have been able to retain a ride, or even enter the Champ Car series if not for sponsorship money. After losing his sponsorship following the 2004 season, Jourdain looked to the NASCAR Busch Series. At the time, NASCAR was trying to expand its fan base among Mexicans and Hispanic Americans. Many consider this the main reason Jourdain was able to ink a deal with a NASCAR team.
Jourdain made 18 starts driving the number 10 ppc Racing Ford in 2005. He was able to notch one top ten finish, however in July ppc Racing announced that the team could not continue with a full season due to insufficient sponsorship. He ran two races later in the season for Keith Barnwell. Michel drove in his home race in Mexico City at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez race in 2006 for Jill Burgdoff.
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