Alex Davison has revealed how Pirtek Enduro Cup discussions quickly turned into a last-minute full-time drive with Supercars squad Team Sydney.
A regular of the Supercars scene for a decade and a half, it’s been six years since Davison last contested the championship in a full-time capacity.
At the beginning of the year, it looked like that trend would continue for the driver with 15 starts in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
However, when James Courtney suddenly departed from the team formerly known as Tekno Autosports a week after the Adelaide 500, team owner Jonathon Webb approached Davison to fill the void.
Speaking with Speedcafe.com, Davison detailed how plans were only finalised a day before he flew to Melbourne on Wednesday for the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
“It happened very, very quickly,” said Davison of his late call-up.
“For a brief period of time, I was discussing the possibility of driving with Team Sydney as an Enduro Cup driver.
“We didn’t get far down that track before the situation with the team and James changed very quickly.
“All of a sudden Jonathon needed someone to drive the car moving forward in the season. I said I was interested in it when he asked me about it.
“That was only days before the cars were going to Albert Park so there wasn’t a whole lot of time to have long discussions and think about it. I had to make a decision about it pretty quickly.
“Really my final sort of final commitment (to the team) was only made on the Tuesday before the Grand Prix. Keeping in mind, we’re flying down there Wednesday first thing in the morning.
“It was quite last minute, but it was agreed from both sides that if we were going to do it, it was only worth doing it if it was for the whole season and that’s what we moved forward with.”
At 40 years old, Davison is now the oldest full-time driver in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship field, usurping Mark Winterbottom, 38, for that honour.
While getting a full-time drive wasn’t initially on Davison’s radar for the 2020 season, the Gold Coast-based driver said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Despite being an experienced head and one of the ‘elder statesmen’ in Supercars competition, Davison said he’s at the point in his career where age isn’t on his side.
“There was never a willingness from my side not to be competing, it was just the way things panned out, unfortunately,” he said.
“But I’ve never hidden from the fact that I would love the opportunity to compete in Supercars again, but in all honesty, I didn’t expect that opportunity to happen.
“It is an unlikely one with the latest trend being to take younger drivers and all that sort of stuff. But I still love racing cars.
“So when given the opportunity to do so at the highest level in Australia, why wouldn’t you do it?”
After what had been a frenetic build-up to his return, Davison’s first weekend with the team in Melbourne was largely a non-event.
The 40-year-old managed just two practice sessions and two qualifying sessions before the meeting was cancelled due to coronavirus fears.
It’s not yet known when his next race will be as the championship goes into a coronavirus-induced break.
When the championship eventually gets underway again, Davison believes his Supercars experience will put him in good stead. However, he’s well aware of the challenges that await.
“Can I walk in and wave a magic wand and magically fix any new issues that may be there? Of course not,” he said.
“But I’ve been in this sport and around this sport and been around Supercars for a long time now, in big teams and small teams.
“I’ve been in cars where I can compete in the top five of the championship. I’ve been in cars and situations where I’m in the bottom five. So I’ve got a pretty broad range of experience.
“It probably gives me an advantage to someone coming in cold because I know how tough this championship is.
“I know how many ingredients have to be right, have to be there and have to be the right ingredients for success to happen.
“So I’m very realistic as to the challenge ahead from a driving perspective and from a total team perspective, which includes the driving.
“From our discussion so far, it seems as though Jonathon and Kobe (Webb) are also realistic and well aware of what’s in front of us.
“The results don’t come automatically just because you do a customer Triple Eight deal. It doesn’t guarantee everything.”
Davison said the break comes at an awkward time as he sought to get back into his stride, but he’s already looking forward to the resumption of play.
“I was looking forward to getting stuck into driving, but with the (pandemic), that’s going to be a few months away now.
“We’ve got some time to breathe slowly before we get to the next race and clearly, I can’t wait to get stuck into it.”
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is currently slated to return with the Winton Super400 at Winton Motor Raceway on June 5-7.