Jordan has become a regional centre of excellence for organising top-class motorsporting events which has included local, regional and international events for more than 60 years.
From humble beginnings through to trailblazing global events that have provided the world with dramatic thrills and spills, Jordan continues to be a strong partner to the motorsporting community.
Motorsport can track its roots back to the 1950’s, when His Late Majesty King Hussein introduced it to the Kingdom and participated in the first organised event which was a 1961 scavenger hunt, and the following year a rally ended with a picnic in the Jordan Valley.
The first Rumman Hill Climb was organised in 1962, and the first Speed Test can be traced all the way back to 1964. These events were organised by the newly-formed Royal Automobile Club.
With King Hussein’s support and regular participation – His Late Majesty was the Hill Climb record holder until 2001 - motorsport became a part of the Kingdom’s DNA and it has continued through his sons, King Abdullah II who was a National champion in 1985 and HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein, who was a co-driver.
Then the sport really took off in 1981 when Jordan hosted its first Jordan International Rally, won by Lebanese driver Michel Saleh, and it became a round on the Middle East Rally Championship two years later.
The biggest names in regional motorsport have won the event, including Mohammed Ben Sulayem (12 times), Saeed Al Hajri, Abdullah Bakhashab and Jordanian Amjad Farrah who became the only local driver to win it in 2004. In recent years, Nasser Al-Attiyah has dominated with 12 wins.
With the dawn of a new Millennium came the meteoric rise of Jordan as a host venue.
As events grew in size and stature, the organising responsibilities were adopted by Jordan Motorsport in 2004, a not-for-profit organisation set up within the Royal Automobile Club of Jordan to organise and manage motorsporting events in the Kingdom.
With HRH Prince Feisal as its head, Jordan’s ambition became obvious and a bid was soon launched in 2005 to become the first Middle East country to host a round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
The bid was successful and in 2008, 2010 and 2011 Jordan held a universally acclaimed version of the global roadshow. In fact, the final event produced the closest ever finish to a WRC event, with Sébastien Ogier beating Jari-Matti Latvala by just 0.2 seconds.
The evolution of motorsport continued alongside the WRC event, with National Championships in Drifting and 4x4 added to the Speed Test and Karting series.
It means that Jordan Motorsport now organises 26 events every across all disciplines, and is set to make another step into the FIA world of events by hosting a candidate Baja this year, which will hopefully become a World Cross Country Championship event next year.