Andrew Watson (racing driver)

Andrew Watson (born 21 January 1995) is a racing driver from Belfast, Northern Ireland, currently competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Gulf Racing and also the GT World Challenge Europe driving for Garage 59. He has been an Aston Martin Racing Junior since 2019. Watson is managed by former F1 driver and 1992 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Mark Blundell.

Andrew Watson
Andrew Watson Racing Driver.jpg
NationalityBritish
Born (1995-01-21) 21 January 1995 (age 26)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Wins8
Podiums26
Poles4
Fastest laps12

Racing careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Watson began his motor racing career at the age of 15, in the Ginetta Junior Ireland Championship, making regular podiums through to 2011. That year, Andrew joined Douglas Motorsport team to race in the final two rounds of the Ginetta Junior Championship at Silverstone.

2012 saw Watson contest the entire Ginetta Junior championship season, again with Douglas Motorsport. The season saw him deliver fifth place in the Championship, achieving six podium places, including second places and his maiden victory, with only two non-finishes out of the twenty-round season.

2013 – Ginetta GT SupercupEdit

 
Andrew Watson Ginetta G55 Thruxton 2013

Watson's Ginetta Junior team decided to enter the senior competition, the Ginetta GT Supercup, using a Ginetta G55.[1]

At the first meeting of the season at Brands Hatch Indy circuit, Watson qualified second despite having little experience in the much more powerful G55 car. This translated to a seventh-place finish in round 1, followed by an eighth place in round 2, both on the Saturday. Round 3 was held on Sunday an even more impressive finish in fourth place cemented his arrival in the senior ranks.

Success at Donington Park at the second meeting of the year, was not so easy to repeat but Watson did qualify 3rd and managed to get the fastest lap in round 5.

Watson achieved his first podium in the GT Supercup, with a second-place finish in round 7, at the year's third meeting at Thruxton in Hampshire.

At Knockhill, Watson achieved pole position for round 18 (being the meeting's 1st race) on 24 August. This could not be converted to a maiden race win in the GT Supercup owing to him having to serve a drive-through penalty. He eventually finished the race in 10th place.

In round 20 at Knockhill, Watson led the race for 23 of the 24 lap race however he was overtaken for the lead by championship leader Tom Ingram. A last corner overtake saw Matt Nicoll-Jones take second place with Watson gaining holding on to third place.

Watson finished the season in seventh place overall in the standings with 372 points.

2014 – Ginetta GT4 SupercupEdit

For the now renamed 2014 Ginetta GT4 Supercup, Watson stayed with long-term team Douglas Motorsport alongside a new teammate, Harry Woodhead, winner of the 2013 Ginetta Junior Championship.

Success came early, with pole position, fastest lap and a win in the opening round at Brands Hatch, followed by second and third-place finishes in the next two rounds. A further win at Thruxton in round 9 of the series, saw Watson leading the championship with 230 points.

Watson eventually finished the season in fourth place on 640 points.

2015 – British GT ChampionshipEdit

In 2015, Watson made a switch to the British GT Championship driving a McLaren 650S GT3 for Von Ryan Racing as part of the McLaren Young Driver Programme.[2] He is competing in the GT3 class, a step-up from the GT4 class he previously drove in the 2014 Ginetta GT4 Supercup.

Watson scored his best result of the season when he and fellow McLaren GT “Young Driver” Ross Wylie finished seventh in the Silverstone 500 in May 2015, only 20 seconds behind the podium places. The race at Silverstone was preceded by races at Rockingham and Oulton Park. At Oulton Park in April 2015, Watson and his teammate Ross Wiley placed a ninth-place finish in the second race, whilst at Rockingham in May 2015, the team retired from the race on the opening lap following a collision.

Watson also raced in 4 races of the International Open GT Championship, scoring 1 race win and 1 pole position. In addition, Watson competed in the Sepang 12 hours and secured a class victory.

2016 – Blancpain GT ChampionshipEdit

For 2016, Watson raced in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with Garage 59 in a McLaren 650S GT3 as a member of the McLaren GT Young Driver Academy.

2016 also saw Watson make his debut at the famous Bathurst 12 hour race, where he finished a credible 9th overall on his first visit to the track.

2017 – Blancpain GT ChampionshipEdit

Watson continued to race in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and also the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe again behind the wheel of the McLaren 650s, but this time representing Strakka racing in the 2017 Blancpain GT Series.

2018 – Blancpain GT ChampionshipEdit

Watson remained in the McLaren 650S GT3 racing with Garage 59 in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. Andrew's 2018 highlights included achieving pole position in the AM class at the Blancpain 24 Hours of Spa and pole position in the PRO Class at Paul Ricard. Watson also achieved an excellent podium position at the 1,000 kilometres of Paul Ricard as Andrew in the #58 Garage 59 McLaren qualified on the front row and led for the majority of the race, before eventually coming home in 3rd place - marking a proud moment in Andrew's career as he achieved his first overall podium finish in the Blancpain GT Series.

Watson also raced in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe for 3Y in a BMW M6 GT3, which included race victory in the Silver Class at Brands Hatch.

2019 – Blancpain GT ChampionshipEdit

Watson's 2019 season saw him compete in the European Blancpain GT Endurance Series with Andrew rejoining the Garage 59 team, following their switch to the Aston Martin Vantage GT3's for the 2019 Blancpain campaign.

2019/20 – FIA World Endurance ChampionshipEdit

Andrew Watson was selected to join the Gulf Racing team in the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship. Racing a Porsche 911 RSR, Andrew collected his maiden World Championship podium in Bahrain as the team finished third in the GTE-Am Class.

Andrew also made his debut in the Aston Martin Vantage GTE as he featured in the FIA World Endurance Championship Rookie Test with Aston Martin Racing.

2020 – Daytona 24 HoursEdit

Andrew Watson made his Daytona 24 Hours debut in January 2020 after securing a late drive with Aston Martin Racing.

Replacing the injured Paul Dalla Lana, the Northern Irishman joined Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Ross Gunn in the #98 Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

2020 – Bathurst 12 HoursEdit

On his fourth appearance at the Bathurst 12 Hours, Andrew Watson celebrated a podium finish at the 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race.

Watson, along with Garage 59 team-mates Oliver Hart and Roman De Angelis, finished third in the Silver class and 14th overall at Mount Panorama behind the wheel on an Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

Racing recordEdit

Career summaryEdit

Season Series Team Races Wins Poles F/Laps Podiums Points Position
2012 Ginetta Junior Championship Douglas Motorsport 20 1 0 2 6 367 5th
2013 Ginetta GT Supercup 27 0 0 2 3 372 7th
2014 Ginetta GT Supercup 27 5 1 5 12 608 4th
2015 International GT Open Teo Martin Motorsport 4 1 1 0 1 13 10th
British GT Championship Von Ryan Racing 9 0 0 0 0 28 15th
2016 Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup Garage 59 2 0 0 0 0 - -
Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup 4 0 0 0 0 - -
2017 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Strakka Racing 5 0 0 0 0 - -
Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup 10 0 0 0 0 6 21st
2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge Garage 59

YNA Autosport

3 0 0 0 0 4 23rd
Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Garage 59 4 0 0 0 1 19 24th
Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup YNA Autosport 7 0 0 0 0 0.5 27th
2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge Garage 59

Objective Racing

2 0 0 0 0 0 -
2019 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Garage 59 5 0 0 0 0 2 33rd
2019/20* FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Am Gulf Racing 5 0 0 0 1 49 6th
2020* Intercontinental GT Challenge Garage 59 1 0 0 0 0 2 9th

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans resultsEdit

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
2020   Gulf Racing   Ben Barker
  Michael Wainwright
Porsche 911 RSR GTE
Am
337 29th 5th

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Andrew Watson to graduate to Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup". Ginetta.com. Ginetta Cars. 13 February 2013. Archived from the original on 25 February 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  2. ^ "McLaren junior drivers to race in British GT in 2015". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. 2 March 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2015.

External linksEdit