Although the racing community has become more diverse than it once was, it appears the world of motorsport still isn’t entirely accepting of change.
Two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 class winner Danny Watts announced Monday he is homosexual, reportedly making him one of the most successful European drivers who’s come out thus far, Motorsport.com reports. Watts hung up his helmet and made the transition to driver coach last year after competing at Le Mans.
Despite his proven talent behind the wheel, Watts reportedly was hesitant to publicly come out while he was still racing, as he was fearful of backlash.
“You feel like you have to hide it within motorsport because it’s a very masculine sport,” Watts said.
Even though he said it was “easier now (that) I’ve stopped racing,” the Brit is still concerned about how some people within the sport will react.
“My stomach is churning about the next paddock I go to and people knowing and how they’ll think of me. It’s bloody scary,” Watts told Motorsport.com.
The 37-year-old told his family and friends about his sexuality several months ago, but only recently decided to formally announce it. He said lying about who he is ate him up inside, and it was healthier to open up about it.
“The hardest bit has been the last six months in terms of fighting it,” Watts said, via Motorsport.com. “You’re in denial to everyone, you seem happy-go-lucky and outgoing, but when you’re on your own and climb into bed at night it’s on your mind and it wears you down.”
Watts said he can live a much happier life now that he’s out, but it’s still rather eye-opening that even very successful drivers are afraid people’s lack of acceptance will negatively impact their careers.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@wattsracing