Luke Davenport revs up for British Touring Car Championship

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 March 2017

Motor racing driver Luke Davenport. Picture: Matt Sayle

Motor racing driver Luke Davenport. Picture: Matt Sayle

ILIFFE

New challenge awaits for Cambridge driver

When Luke Davenport lines up on the starting grid for the opening British Touring Car Championship race of the season, it will be another chapter in a lifelong dream.

Brands Hatch on April 2 will be the location, but the realisation of the next part of the 23-year-old driver’s development will come this week at the official media launch of the competition.

Davenport has earned a plumb role with Motorbase Performance in the 60th season in the championship, and it maintains a lasting legacy in motorsport for the family.

His lifelong obsession with cars started through his grandfather, who was a leading driver in oval racing in the UK in the 1970s and 80s, and then did restoration work for the Jaguar factory, while his father drove historic cars, such as Triumph TRs and Formula 2s.

So it was probably no surprise when the bug bit with karting when Davenport was seven, but it was not to the degree of being pushed into the sport to succeed.

“With our karting, we weren’t doing European Championships and we weren’t sponsored or anything, it was real lad and dad driving,” he said.

“It was something where we would take the campervan away at the weekends with mum and little sister, and they’d be baking cakes and it would be mine and dad’s hobby.

“As a kid, I absolutely lived for it. It was more just to develop my race craft.

“There is so much pressure on young kids now to try to follow the Lewis Hamilton route, and I’m always keen to say that we were never like that.

“It is just really fond memories of growing up with my dad, my mum and sister and just revelling in motorsport and really getting the bug to bite.

“It’s always been the dream and I’ve always been massively passionate about motorsport, for as long as I can remember.

“From day one, it was running cars round the carpet at home and I would always be sat in the car at any opportunity.”

But when he got into his teen years, Davenport was given the carrot-and-stick approach to his hopes of progression in the sport and balancing it with academia.

“I stopped to do my GCSEs and A levels on the basis that if I performed well enough in those my parents would give me a shot at one year in cars,” he said.

“And if I was any good, the intention for me to get the sponsorship to carry on and fortunately that’s happened.

“They reckoned the only way to get me to concentrate at school was to give me a carrot of getting into a car afterwards.”

With motorsport requiring a certain element of funding, Davenport went to Oxford Brookes University to study real estate and has continued to pursue a career alongside his racing, working in property with Cheffins.

But the demands of the new role with Motorbase Performance – who will be sponsored by Shredded Wheat, DUO and IKO Enertherm – means that Davenport will have to leave Cheffins once the season gets under way.

And he will become an instructor at PalmerSport in Bedford, as well as doing work at Silverstone and with Ginetta.

“I will be an instructor there (at PalmerSport) so I will be doing all the briefings, providing passenger laps but also being an instructor in the passenger seat, which everyone has told me I’m mad to do,” said Davenport.

“But it’s supposed to be a really good way of developing your own skills as a driver because if you’re in a car all day every day, like any sport, that’s important just to live it and be in it every day.”

So it is certainly all change for Davenport, but he is already being tipped to do well – with Motorbase Performance themselves mentioning him as a contender for the Jackie Sears Trophy, which is a prize for the rookie championship and named in honour of the inaugural winner of the BTCC in 1956.

“I’m in a front-running car and I’ve got a good set of statistics behind me, but it’s 30 races long, covering an entire year,” said Davenport.

“You can’t think about a pot at the end of it. I might have a fantastic year but I might be taken out by other drivers. I might have mechanical failure and I don’t want to set a goal that’s so tangible and not necessarily achieve it.

“It would be a lovely bonus, but I’m not going to let myself think about it until it’s in my hands, if that should be the case.”

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