Over the years, many enthusiastic fathers have introduced their sons to the sport of auto racing at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. They show them the cars, perhaps get an autograph and pass along an interest that spans generations.

Mike Davis is taking things a bit farther. He is putting his son, professional driver Brandon, in a race car and will be joining him on the track at this year’s event. It is one of the few father-son combinations to ever run the streets of Long Beach, the most notable being Mario and Michael Andretti.

The Davis’ compete in the Long Beach SPEED GT Presented by Applied Computer Systems race on Sunday, April 20.

Being from Huntington Beach, racing together at Long Beach is a long-time dream for both and they are each seeking to top the other on Sunday. Then again, a 1-2 finish would be fine with either.

“I see no reason we can’t win Long Beach, “said the 22-year-old son who drives the black #10 Mustang Cobra sponsored by Applied Computer Solutions/Sun Microsystems. Hopefully I can do my part to bring our team home in the front.”

The 56-year-old father, who pilots the vibrant purple and neon yellow #11 Ford Mustang Cobra, said: “Long Beach is so rich in history. We’re just a small cog in the big wheel of the event, but it’s nice to be part of the environment.
“We’re ready to make our own history at Long Beach.”

And what if son Brandon beats father Mike to the finish line?

“As racers, we are all competitors,” Mike Davis said. “But if I get beat by any competitor, then I would want it to be my son. I would be a proud pappa.”

Said Brandon: “I think I can beat dad. But we’re both competitive people. We love each other but won’t give anything when it comes down to driving in a race.”

After all, it was dad who initially took Brandon to his races and eventually found the young son tugging at his shirttail to visit the go-kart track. When Mike was running a Trans-Am team, teammate driver, Boris Said won the championship for ACS Express Racing in 2002. Brandon was eagerly learning the trade from the sidelines.

“Boris has been a coach to me and that’s been very important,” Brandon said. “I also spent two years in the SPEED Touring Car series with Real Time Racing and learned a lot more about driving. My first pro event was a Trans Am race in Portland with my dad in 2004 – he was quicker than me but helped me through three races and that’s proven to be a great experience.”

Their first event together in the Speed World Challenge GT series was last month at Sebring. Brandon started from the pole and finished fourth. Mike was seventh. And now. Long Beach awaits them both.

“I feel confident about Long Beach,” said Mike Davis. “The track is comfortable for me, because I’ve driven there several times. It’s also the only time we can run a race and sleep in our own beds.

“Yes, there’s a little more pressure because it’s a home race. Applied Computer Systems brings more than 300 people to the track for hospitality, plus we’ve got friends and family, so we want to perform well for all of them.”

Brandon Davis acknowledges a bit of peer pressure from being a local in Long Beach.

“I went to high school in Santa Ana, so there will be a lot of friends there who have never seen me drive in a professional race,” he said. “There’s definitely a lot of pressure on me as a result. Plus, I’ve never driven the course. I have been going to the race for about 10 years as a fan and spectator. It’s very exciting to be driving here this year. It has a lot of fanfare and there’s a lot of atmosphere.”   

In addition to its primary sponsors Applied Computer Solutions and Sun Microsystems, the team is supported by NetApp, Symantec, Hitachi Data Systems, Q Logic, Bell Microproducts, Red Line Oil and Mothers Polish and Wax.