DANNY WATTS: THE FULL STORY

BRIT RE­TIRES FROMTHE SPORT

Motor Sport News - - Front Page -

Last year two driv­ers who had beaten Lewis Hamil­ton an­nounced their re­tire­ments from rac­ing. And one was Danny Watts.

Con­sid­ered by many to be one the most tal­ented Bri­tish driv­ers never to have made it to For­mula 1, Watts has opted to bring the cur­tain down on a stel­lar driv­ing ca­reer that has brought suc­cess in sin­gle­seaters, sportscars and GTS.

His de­ci­sion to stop driv­ing en­tirely may not have been as high pro­file as Nico Ros­berg’s, but that’s Watts in a nut­shell – unas­sum­ing, hum­ble and bloody quick.

Across his 24-year ca­reer, Watts has taken on, and beaten, some of the big­gest names in the sport. Along­side three-time world cham­pion Hamil­ton, Watts also took on Kimi Raikko­nen in For­mula Re­nault, Indy­car star Will Power, Nel­son Pi­quet Jr and DTM ace Jamie Green in For­mula 3 as well as a host of stars in sportscars. He’s also a mas­ter of Ma­cau.

In truth, 2016 was a part­sea­son for the 36-year-old from Ayles­bury. Hav­ing started his eighth season with the Strakka Rac­ing team in the FIA World En­durance Cham­pi­onship, he was re­placed in the driver lineup after Le Mans to give young gun Lewis Wil­liamson a shot. And that set the wheels in mo­tion for his de­ci­sion.

“I’ve been phe­nom­e­nally lucky in my ca­reer,” says Watts. “When I got started in rac­ing it was just a week­end hobby, a bit of a laugh with my dad and gran­dad, and it’s al­ways been like that for me. I just got hugely lucky that even­tu­ally I was get­ting paid to do what I love.

“Last year was a dif­fi­cult one, and I think I lost a bit of that en­joy­ment along the way, and I al­ways said when I’m not en­joy­ing it any more it’s time to stop. My time with Strakka has been amaz­ing, we’re like a big fam­ily, and I’m so thank­ful for my time there, but now is a per­fect chance to con­cen­trate on new things.”

Watts will now step back from driv­ing and will hang up his hel­met, which has al­ways been painted in the colours of his beloved Ox­ford United Foot­ball Club. In­stead Watts will con­cen­trate on coach­ing full-time with the Hitech FIA For­mula 3 Euro­pean team.

“I get a huge kick out of work­ing with the younger driv­ers and see­ing their pro­gres­sion,” adds Watts. “For me it’s just as re­ward­ing, if not more so, than the driv­ing side of things. I’ll miss com­pet­ing at some point I’m sure, but for now this gives me free­dom to do other things.

“And, above all, more time to watch Ox­ford United..!”

Watts has called time on his rac­ing ca­reer

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