Will Davison wondered whether he would have another chance to truly show his talent before landing a plum seat at Dick Johnson Racing from next year’s Supercars Championship.
The 38-year-old’s full-time seat at 23Red Racing disappeared when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Australia, due to the loss of the team’s major sponsor.
Davison had been fifth in the championship after the only event which had been completed to that point of the season, his third with the squad and its second as a Tickford-run entry.
The setback continued a turbulent run for the man who won a Bathurst 1000 and finished runner-up in the championship with the Holden Racing Team, then enjoyed three fruitful years at Tickford when it was the factory-backed Ford Performance Racing outfit, before a move to Erebus Motorsport.
His time at the latter, however, occurred before then then-Mercedes squad found its feet, and Davison slipped to 15th in the championship in his second year at Tekno Autosports having won the Bathurst 1000 again in the first.
He landed at 23Red when it was born out of Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport and appeared poised for a return to his more competitive days before the rug was pulled out from underneath him by the coronavirus.
Now, Davison is back to where his Supercars career started, save for a brief period at Team Dynamik.
Unlike his initial stint at Stapylton, however, he arrives at a Shell V-Power Racing Team which has just bagged a third straight drivers’ championship and third teams’ championship in four years, in its guise at DJR Team Penske.
“(There are) no words, how happy I am,” Davison told Speedcafe.com.
“Being a racing driver, it’s a crazy journey. I’ve had times, particularly last seven or eight months to, I suppose, become a little bit reflective and try and put things in perspective.
“We’re so fortunate to do what we do. It’s a blur; I think back 20 years, whether I was in the UK or getting my first break into V8s – happened to be with Dick Johnson Racing – it’s just a rollercoaster.
“Before you know it, you’re at the Holden Racing Team or Ford Performance Racing and there’s all this pressure and this crazy journey.
“You make decisions and you can reflect on things in the past, whether you do things differently, but you’re just on this journey and it’s a crazy ride.
“I suppose there was quite a few teams I’ve driven for. I was in big organisations and winning races and challenging for championships.
“Rightly or wrongly, I sort of went down a path (and) I still felt, to be honest, like I was performing very well – years like at Tekno only a few years ago when I finished fifth in the championship in a little single car outfit, won Bathurst – but when you’re with small teams, it’s a challenge to get continuity and whatnot.
“No one really wants to hear your excuses; results do the talking.
“It had been a bit of a challenge, but I’d got back through a customer type way into Tickford and really felt like I was going to remind people this year of what I’m capable of again.”
From topping the 2020 pre-season test day, then leaving Adelaide fifth in the championship, Davison saw no more racing until Tickford signed him up to partner Cameron Waters at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Together they finished second in the Great Race, before a deal to return to full-time driving was achieved.
“When that (23Red) went pear shaped, I did wonder,” added Davison.
“I felt like I was finally back onto a good thing and I did wonder whether I’d get that shot again.
“I didn’t want to feel bitter or anything – I was just grateful regardless of the career I had – although the other part of my head was like, ‘Don’t give up, don’t give up; you’ve still got a lot to give.’
“Regardless, I was confident I’d get back on the grid. There was a small chance of this opportunity.
“Obviously, I’ve been working very hard at it and just for it to come together is amazing.
“And for it to be back at a team that honestly – and I’m not just saying it – I have really fond memories…
“Even when I left at the end of 2008, it was with a heavy heart and it was with a great relationship.”
Having driven BA and BF Falcons for DJR the first time around, Davison will get a taste of one of the Queensland team’s Mustangs when he conducts a tyre evaluation on Supercars’ behalf next week.