Danny Watts is a British racing driver who achieved the most in the sports car racing, reaching a peak in 2010 when he was the LMP2 class winner at 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving for Strakka Racing. He stayed with Strakka Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship until his retirement at the end of 2016.
Watts was a regular competitor at the Macau GT Cup at the famous Guia Circuit, finishing on a podium six times between 2008 and 2013 but never winning the race.
Championship title in the first season of car racing
Born on the last day of 1979 in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Danny Watts spent his teenage years in karting competitions.
He progressed to car racing in 1998, entering the UK Formula First Championship and winning the championship title in his debut season, scoring dominating twelve victories.
Formula Renault champion in 2002
In 1999, he spent a season in the Formula Palmer Audi, finishing 22nd, and then moved to the Formula Renault 2.0 UK in 2000. In his first Formula Renault season, he was a race winner once to finish 10th in the points.
In 2001, he won two races to finish third in the points and then, in 2002, he won the championship title with six race wins over the season. In 2002, he also gained his first success to the famous Macau Guia Circuit, winning the Asian Formula 2000 Challenge on the Macanese track.
Two seasons in the British Formula 3
In 2003, Watts joined HiTech Racing in the British Formula 3 Championship, winning one race at Castle Combe to finish fifth in the final points. He participated first time at the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix, finishing tenth.
In 2004 Formula 3 season, Watts moved to Promatecme team, winning one race at Castle Combe in their #11 Lola-Dome-Honda. He finished sixth in the final points of the championship. In 2005, he had no permanent ride, participating occasionally in different competitions (Formula Renault 3.5, British F3, Formula 3 Euro Series, Macau Grand Prix).
Third place in the 2006 Porsche Carrera Cup GB
In 2006, Watts switched his interest to GT racing, participating in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB with Red Line Racing. He was a race winner ten times, finishing third in the points behind Damien Faulkner and Tim Harvey.
Watts also made two appearances with Trackspeed's Porsche 997 GT3 Cup in the British GT Championship and one start in the British round of the Porsche Supercup. He also joined Räikkönen Robertson Racing at Thruxton's round of the British Formula 3, winning the race.
Le Mans 24h debut with Team LNT
In 2007, Watts joined Team LNT to drive the #81 Panoz Esperante GTLM in the Le Mans Series and at Le Mans 24 Hours. He was sharing a car with Tom Kimber-Smith. Tom Milner was the third driver at Le Mans. They stopped after 60 laps with a broken engine.
Watts also raced with Zytek 07S LMP2 prototype in two races, at Silverstone 1000 Km and Petit Le Mans. Sharing a car with Stefan Mucke and Jan Charouz, he nearly missed a podium at Petit Le Mans, finishing fourth.
2008 – a season in the Porsche Supercup
In 2008, Danny's main competition was the Porsche Supercup. Driving the #21 car for Austrian team SAS Lechner Racing, he scored one podium (2nd at Silverstone) to finish ninth in the final standings. That year, Watts made a debut in the Macau GT Cup with Porsche, finishing second behind Darryl O'Young.
Besides racing with Porsche, Watts was driving a Ginetta G50 GT4 at Zolder 24 Hours and returned to Petit Le Mans in a Ginetta-Zytek 07S LMP1 prototype.
Two podiums in the A1 Grand Prix Series
Between seasons 2008 and 2009, Watts was representing Team Great Britain in the A1 Grand Prix Series. He scored two podiums in the Chinese round at Chengdu International Circuit in November 2008.
He later participated in Malaysian round at Sepang International Circuit and South African round at Kyalami Circuit. For the rest of the season, Team Britain's driver was Dan Clarke.
Joining Strakka Racing in 2009
In 2009, Watts started his cooperation with Strakka Racing which lasted until 2016. In 2009, the team was running the #23 Ginetta-Zytek 09S LMP1 prototype in the Le Mans Series. They scored most points in the season-opening race at Circuit de Catalunya, where Watts took pole position and they finished fifth.
LMP2 class victory at 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours
For the 2010 Le Mans Series season, Strakka Racing switched to HPD ARX-01c LMP2 prototype. Danny Watts, Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis were the race winners three times in five LMS rounds but they finished second in the final standings of the LMP2 class.
The highlight of the season was the LMP2 class victory at Le Mans 24 Hours. Watts was sharing the #42 HPD ARX-01c with Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis, finishing fifth overall and beating the closest LMP2 rivals by six laps.
In 2010, Watts also made two race appearances with United Autosports, driving an Audi R8 LMS at Zhuhai 1000 Km and at Macau GT Cup. He retired at Zhuhai and finished third in Macau.
No wins in the 2011 Le Mans Series
In 2011, Watts stayed in the #42 Strakka Racing HPD ARX-01 LMP2 prototype, continuing to share a car with Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis. Without wins, scoring two podiums, they were third in the Le Mans Series standings. At Le Mans 24 Hours, they retired after 144 laps.
Of other commitments, Watts made two race starts in a McLaren MP4-12C GT3, driving for McLaren factory team at Blancpain Endurance round at Silverstone (DNF) and for United Autosports at Macau GT Cup, where he finished third again.
Back to LMP1 class in 2012
In 2012, Strakka Racing entered the inaugural season of the revived FIA World Endurance Championship, running the #21 HPD ARX-03a LMP1 prototype for Danny Watts, Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis. Their best result was third place at Bahrain 6 Hours. At Le Mans 24h, they were just 30th overall and 8th in the LMP1 class.
At the end of the year, Watts returned to Macau GT Cup with United Autosports and McLaren, finishing again in the third place, what was his fifth consecutive podium in the Macanese GT race.
2013 – the sixth consecutive podium at Macau GT Cup
In 2013, Strakka Racing pulled out from the World Endurance Championship after three events. Watts, Kane and Leventis finished sixth overall at 24 Hours of Le Mans in the #21 HPD ARX-03c.
Later in the season, Watts participated in one race of the FIA GT Series with Trackspeed's Porsche and returned to Macau GT Cup with United Autosports' McLaren. He finished second at Macanese race, scoring his sixth consecutive podium. The winner was Edoardo Mortara, for whom it was the third consecutive win.
Two more seasons in the FIA WEC LMP2 class
In 2014, Strakka Racing was out of FIA WEC, so Danny Watts was also out of racing, participating just at Macau GT Cup with United Autosports' McLaren MP4-12C GT3. He failed to reach a victory, finishing only 19th,
In 2015, Strakka Racing returned to LMP2 class of the World Endurance Championship and Watts spent a season in the #42 Dome S103-Nissan, sharing a car with Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis. Their best result was the third place at Silverstone and they finished 8th in the LMP2 classification. At Le Mans, the broken transmission forced them to stop after 264 laps.
In 2016, the team and Danny Watts participated in just three FIA WEC rounds in the #42 Gibson 015S-Nissan. The eighth place overall and fourth place in the LMP2 class at Le Mans 24h was the last race for Danny.