There’s now a gay face in the hyper-masculine sport of racing.
Retired British professional racing driver Danny Watts has come out as gay in an interview with Motorsports.com.
"You feel like you have to hide it within motorsport because it's a very masculine sport," Watts told the publication. "There was something burning inside that said 'right, you can't hide it anymore, you've got to be free and be true to yourself and let it go out there'.”
Watts began by telling friends and family. After receiving their support, he decided to go bigger and come out to the public.
“I thought if they’re cool with it, let’s go with it.”
Watts is known for winning first place in 24-hour endurance race Le Mans in 2010 during his career. He retired racing last year, and now does driver coaching.
He said coming out would have been more difficult if he was still racing due to fear of reaction from teammates and sponsors.
"The biggest thing is worrying what people will think and how they'll portray you, how they'll act around you," said Watts. "It's stupid things like thinking do I go and shake hands with people, will they shake your hand back? Am I going to be able to look them in the eye or not? Is it going to be awkward? There are a million and one questions going round in my head about how this is all going to work out.”
Watts is likely the highest-profile European racer to publicly announce his homosexuality.
"You can either keep it secret in racing and have your separate life where your close friends and family know, or you can just go all out and say 'there you go, my cards are on the table, take it or leave it.”