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THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED

Danny Watts is the most successful and highest-profile racing driver to come out as gay anywhere in the world. But opening up about his sexuality is something he didn’t feel he could do for years — and something that caused him great personal anguish, as he tells Winq in his first major interview with the gay press.

It’s been a momentous 12 months for Danny Watts. He retired from motor racing in June 2016 and then came out as gay this February — at the age of 37. ’It’s been a whirlwind year for me,” he acknowledges, “but all very positive. I don’t think it’s fully sunk in yet, because it’s a life-changing thing. I was in a bad place a year ago, but I’ve gone through the tunnel and we’re out the other side now.“

He’s leaning on an Aston Martin in one of the pit lanes on the track at Silverstone, where we’ve come to take pictures and chat about his story. And, as he tells me, it’s right here that his story began.

“Silverstone holds a close place in my heart because my dad used to bring me here to watch the races when I was 4 and onwards. And that’s, I suppose, where my love for racing started really.”

Once the shoot is over, we move to sit in what Watts calls his ’road car’, a black Audi A8, which he shows to me with pride. It’s the only place where we can speak privately, and he seems nervous about sharing his story; he doesn’t want to chat in the café, where other people could overhear the conversation.

On the surface, the handsome Watts comes across as uber-masculine, the kind of bloke or lad so many gay men fetishise or try to be. But there’s a softness and a sweetness to him and it’s this that draws me in.

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