Will Davison will never forget his 38th birthday.
Back in the pitlane at Townsville, he was standing alongside Cam Waters and celebrating a Monster Mustang drive in the Bathurst 1000 of 2020.
For someone whose Supercars career could have been done at the start of the year, when Red23 Racing collapsed and took his main-game ride with it, this was a special celebration.
“The past is the past. And I’m looking forward. I have positive news, a Bathurst co-drive and I’m looking forward,” Davison tells Race News.
“It was the culmination of some tough months, a bit of soul searching, and some belief. I’m optimistic about the future.”
“It has been a strange year and it hasn’t quite gone to plan, but I feel like hopefully it’s just a turning point and a switch in mindset.
“Out of every bad situation you try to pull some positives. I think I can take a lot of positives out of the last three or four months.”
If nothing else, losing his drive in a Tickford Mustang reminded Davison of need for speed. And it reminded people up and down the pitlane that he still had plenty to five.
He stayed in touch with Tickford Racing and, when Alex Prema was ruled out of Bathurst by the coronavirus, he was more than happy to step up alongside Cam Waters as the squad added Broc Feeney for James Courtney, Michael Caruso for Lee Holdsworth, and James Moffat for Jack Le Brocq for The Great Race.
“Can we win Bathurst? Honestly, of course we can,” says Davison, who is already a two-time winner in 2009 and 2016.
“It’s obviously going to be insanely competitive, but if anything it’s only working in our favour with the lack of preparation for the co-drivers. My familiarity with the car and team, the feeling I had at the start of year, are all in our favour.
“Cam and myself will be very strong. He’s only getting better as a driver and Tickford are strong with the package.
“They will be in the mix. It will come down to minimising mistakes, and think my experience will help there too.”
Davison admits he got kicked in the guts with the Red23 situation, and he and his wife Riana have also had to cope with the death of her father, but he believes they have turned the corner.
“We’ve had a pretty tumultuous time. So having good people and loved ones around me is all that matters at the moment.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dwell on the negatives for a little bit, but we’re well and truly into COVID now and you cannot feel like a victim.
“There are the usual ‘Coulda, shoulda, woulda’, because I know what a year I was going to have. I felt at one with the car, like I haven’t done for years. I was enjoying myself in those few outings in the Mustang than had been for years.”
He might be 38, but Davison knows he is not done.
“I miss racing, I miss the pitlane, and I miss the people in it. I still feel like I have a lot to offer and give, and I’m confident that when I get back in the car I have something to give at Bathurst.”
But his plan does not stop at Mount Panorama.
He has several leads on a full-time Supercars comeback in 2021, although it’s too early to be making any promises or predictions.
“It’s really difficult to say. I’m 80 percent sure, probably 90 per cent sure, that I’ll be on the grid next year,” Davison says.
“I don’t want to just be there to make up the numbers. I want to be out there in the best competitive situation I can get for myself.
“There are a couple of different scenarios. Either way there should be something to give me the desire, and I want to be out there winning races.
“We’ll have to wait and see what comes together. There has been amazing support and interesting relationships I’ve built up. There are a lot of people interested in talking, which is really nice.”
“I’m just really excited to get back into racing, and get my future secured, but I’m not rushing anything. I’m quite positive that the trajectory curve is more upbeat than it has been for most of this year.”