Newly crowned British GT champion Graham Davidson has said his title success will take a while to sink in after securing the GT3 title in just his second season in the championship.
Davidson, alongside TF Sport team-mate and now four-time champion Jonny Adam, secured his second title in GT racing just two years after he won the GT Cup championship in a Jetstream Racing McLaren MP4-12C GT3 and in his first season competing in the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3.
“When I started racing I could never have dreamed of achieving this when I started in my Noble in Sports and Saloon racing – grassroots stuff,” he explained. “I’ve achieved so much more than I thought I ever could and it’s thanks to teams like TF, Jetstream, guys like Jonny – even Matt Bell has been great over the years helping me get my head in the right place. It’s a massive achievement, I’m so happy – it will take a while to properly sink in.”
The Scot didn’t have an easy journey to the title. After a difficult start to the season at Oulton Park, the pair seemed to rebound with a podium at Snetterton. However, Adam’s crash on the final lap chasing down Callum Macleod’s RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 at Silverstone was another chunk of points lost to championship rivals Adam Balon and Phil Keen.
Such was the pair’s run of bad luck in the middle of the season, Graham Davidson was ready to write off his chances of even getting into the title race.
He said: “At the start of the season, at Oulton Park it seemed like ‘right we’ve got that out the way’ but then we also had issues at Silverstone and brake problems at Spa meant we didn’t get the points we should have. After Silverstone, I thought that’s it, championship’s over, we’re chasing second or third or whatever.
“But everyone said ‘don’t think about the championship, just think race-by-race, keep doing what you can do, you can drive fast just concentrate on the results and it might come back our way’. And it did, we got two wins just when it was needed [at Donington Park in June and Brands Hatch in August], just getting enough to keep ourselves in and we started to reel them in.”
That drama followed him all the way to the second Donington Park trip of the year, with a gearbox fault relegating them to a second-row start for the race and then having to keep himself focused on what he needed to do to win the title, rather than trying to battle with the cars in front for a podium.
Indeed Graham Davidson admitted the TF Sport engineers had to check his radio was working, such was he commitment to cutting out any distractions when he was behind the wheel.
“To qualify on the second row it was tricky, we wanted a front-row start to work on building up that gap. But the guys turned the car round and got it handling much better,” he added.
“As the tyres got older I managed to find more pace and get my head in a better place and the pace kind of came. It was frustrating to follow Angus [Fender, Century Motorsport driver] but he got by on newer tyres and he drove really well. To see Ian [Loggie, in the RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3] out front and then Shaun disappear…
“But I put it to the back of my mind and concentrated on doing good clean laps and reminded myself a few times that it doesn’t matter what they do, it matters what happens with Barwell.
“I just kept banging in the laps and I didn’t chat on the radio. They checked a few things, they checked I was hearing them, because I didn’t respond. Then when I came into the pits, everyone gave me a clap and a cheer and I thought ‘Oh what’s that for?’ and they said it looks like you’re going to go out ahead of both Barwell cars once they’ve pitted.”
That stint proved to be vital for Adam, as his initial breathing space over Jonny Cocker, in the #69 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo, meant he didn’t have to fend off his title rival for too long at the end of the race, which ended up being settled in the steward’s office after Dennis Lind – in the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini – hit Adam with just three minutes to go.
The loss of momentum dropped Adam behind Cocker, and it appeared Graham Davidson and Jonny Adam would end up as runners-up by half-a-point before a penalty given to Lind promoted the Scots back into fifth and into the title-winning slot.
“Unfortunately, today there was the contact and it needed to be investigated. I wanted to be hanging over that fencing cheering Jonny over the line and I feel a bit robbed and a bit disappointed. Three times that Lamborghini came into contact with Jonny but I’m going to forget about that now, it doesn’t matter and I’m just going to enjoy this moment!”