Davidson to retire from racing after Bahrain WEC finale

Ex-Formula 1 driver Anthony Davidson will retire as a professional racing driver on the completion of this year's FIA World Endurance Championship in Bahrain next weekend.

Davidson, who started 24 grands prix for Minardi, BAR Honda and Super Aguri, made the announcement on Twitter the day after finishing third in LMP2 with the JOTA team in the first leg of the Bahrain double-header that closes out the 2021 WEC.

"One more to go… which I’ve decided will also be my final race as a professional racing driver," wrote the 2014 WEC title winner.

"It’s been an incredible and unforgettable journey and I thank all those involved along the way."

Davidson, 42, has raced in the P2 class of the WEC since 2018 after he was dropped from Toyota's LMP1 line-up at the end of the previous season.

He was replaced by Fernando Alonso in the #8 Toyota alongside 2014 co-champion Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima for the 2017/18 WEC.

Davidson remained as reserve driver for the opening two rounds, the Spa 6 Hours and the Le Mans 24 Hours, after which he took up a P2 seat with the DragonSpeed squad, sharing with Pastor Maldonado and Roberto Gonzalez.

A switch with Gonzalez to the British JOTA squad followed for the 2018/19 season.

Davidson revealed to Motorsport.com last summer that after signing a new deal with Toyota for 2017, he was considering retiring at its conclusion at the end of 2019 season when he hit 40.

"When I signed that contract I saw it as three more years of trying to win Le Mans with Toyota," he said.

"I definitely toyed with the idea of just stopping at that point."

He revealed that the step down into a less competitive environment in P2 had rekindled his love of racing.

"Driving with Roberto as a gentleman driver, it's much more fun than racing for a manufacturer with all the pressure that comes with that," he explained.

"In a way I needed to fall in love with racing again, because I had completely lost the love for it at Toyota."

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Mike Conway, Alexander Wurz, Jose Maria Lopez, Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Mike Conway, Alexander Wurz, Jose Maria Lopez, Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Davidson began racing karts at the age of eight and progressed to cars in Formula Ford in 1999, winning the category's prestigious Festival at Brands Hatch the following year.

He was picked up by the British American Racing squad as a test driver for 2001, the same year that he finished second in British F3, remaining on its books through to 2007 when he got his first full-time F1 seat with the Super Aguri Honda B-team.

A first sportscar drive came for Davidson in 2003 when he raced a Prodrive-built and run Ferrari 550 Maranello GTS in a programme of events around the Le Mans 24 Hours.

He switched to sportscars full time in 2010 with Peugeot after making a second Le Mans start aboard an Aston Martin-engine Lola LMP1 car the previous year.

Victory on debut at the Sebring 12 Hours aboard one of the French manufacturer's 908 HDis was followed by another win on home ground at Silverstone later in the year and a further four wins in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup with second-generation 908 the following season.

A total of 10 overall wins in the WEC with Toyota, which he joined in 2012 after Peugeot's late decision not to join the series, have been followed by three in P2.

Davidson also has a punditry role with Sky Sports' F1 coverage and is one of the Mercedes F1 team's lead simulator drivers.

shares
comments

Related video

Ferrari: WEC titles "handed to Porsche on a plate" without BoP change
Previous article

Ferrari: WEC titles "handed to Porsche on a plate" without BoP change

Next article

Yifei Ye secures Porsche Asia contract ahead of potential LMDh seat

Yifei Ye secures Porsche Asia contract ahead of potential LMDh seat
Load comments
Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021 Prime

Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez scored a second successive FIA World Endurance Championship title in the #7 Toyota, as its new Le Mans Hypercar went unbeaten. Motorsport.com recaps how each of the four classes in the 2021 season were won and picks out the best LMH and GTE drivers

WEC
Nov 28, 2021
The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending Prime

The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending

OPINION: The deeply unsatisfying ending to a brilliant World Endurance Championship GTE Pro battle in Bahrain had Ferrari provisionally heading back from the desert as the victor. But Porsche plans to appeal the outcome, which rests on a number of confusing elements that have yet to be satisfactorily explained.

WEC
Nov 9, 2021
How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint Prime

How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint

The Ferrari versus Porsche fight for the FIA World Endurance Championship's GTE Pro title had been a finely-poised affair, right up until Alessandro Pier Guidi's punt on Michael Christensen in the closing stages of the Bahrain 8 Hours handed Ferrari a provisional title, pending Porsche's appeal. Here's how the controversy played out.

WEC
Nov 8, 2021
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Prime

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021