Dyson Racing finished the season with nine podium finishes during the 2006 campaign. With a brand new chassis - Lola B06/10, the team have achieved some very impressive results this season. However, the most poignant news at Laguna Seca was the surprise retirement of James Weaver who has been a mainstay at Dyson since 1986.
Weaver has 100 career victories - achieving that milestone at Mosport in 2005 with the Lola B01/60. He is undoubtedly one of the world's finest sports car racers and has claimed sixty seven poles, seventy fastest laps, thirty six lap records and over 200 podium finishes.
Team owner Rob Dyson shared his thoughts on James and the year, which began with the Lola B06/10’s instantly showing their pace at Sebring.
“I think with the help of Lola and AER and all of our suppliers, we have been able to accomplish quite a bit. The overriding thing I feel is that the guys have done a terrific job in evolving the cars and making them work better. The long and short of it is that we have proven ourselves to be a very innovative team: a bunch of guys who can work very hard in a situation where many components had to be designed, redesigned, run, redesigned, and run again. We put in some very credible results this year.”
"Every season has some negatives. We had one with the crash of the #20 car at the Petit Le Mans that was brought about by a component part failure. That is always a fearful and fearsome thing to have occur. But the main thing is that Guy Smith is fine and bouncing his baby girl (Bronte) on his knee even as we speak.”
"In racing, it all comes down to people, passion and commitment and I think our guys showed all of that this year in spades. And our drivers are the best. I think this was the year that Guy Smith showed that he was an excellent addition. He came on and did a terrific job for us: he is quick and good with the car. Guy is fully stitched into the fabric of Dyson Racing. This year showed that Chris is coming into his prime. As a set-up driver, he has learned his lessons from the master, James. I think Butch has shown his remarkable ability to do whatever has to be done, when it has to be done with no effort. The highest compliment I can pay to Butch is that he is low maintenance. The guy is a consummate pro, gets in the car, does his job, is great with the crew and great with the car. Andy Wallace joined us for the longer races this year and did a phenomenal job as always. He was busy with some other commitments this year but he was on it every time he returned to our team.”
James is phenomenal," said team owner Rob Dyson. "He has been one of the primary factors in our success these past twenty years. James was always willing to put in more hours than any other driver to get the car right, and that is what separated him from everyone else."
“When I talk about James, what can I say? He is the complete package. He is the master and has been our team leader for twenty years, a number one's number one. He is the ultimate example of what every team is looking for: capable, disciplined, pays attention to every detail and is constantly striving to make the car better. He never accepts the situation we are in, rather saying we can always do better. And aggressively perusing it in an articulate, calm and enthusiastic way. And in addition, when he gets out on the track, there is no competitor that does it better. He is fast, safe, smart and immensely capable on a race track. It has been a singular honour to have James as a comrade in arms and as a friend for twenty years.”
James Weaver was born 1955 and started his racing career in the early 1970’s.
Weaver started out in Formula Ford in 1977, however it was not until the comparatively late age of 27 that Weaver made his mark in International competition when he drove for Eddie Jordan Racing in the British Formula Three Championship in 1982.
A year later James was racing in European F3 for the Murray Taylor Racing team and he continued in the Formula until 1984 before moving in to Formula 3000 where he drove until 1988 when he joined the British Touring Car Championship with the works BMW team. Just to prove that he was one of the true all-rounders, Weaver also made his CART debut in 1988 at Meadowlands..
In 1989, Weaver won the title for BMW, just beating team mate Frank Sytner. By this time, Weaver had already many World Sportscar starts, making his Le Mans debut in 1983 in a Mazda 717 with Jeff Allam and Steve Soper.
Two years later Weaver almost won Le Mans when he partnered Jonathan Palmer and Jan Lammers in the Richard Lloyd Porsche 956. The trio eventually finished a close 2nd to the winning Porsche of Ludwig/Barilla and ‘Winter’.
Throughout the late 80’s, 90’s and in to the 21st century Weaver became a Dyson stalwart, racing the teams entries in the IMSA, World Sportscar Series and the ALMS.
Weaver relished racing the Audi R8’s and R10’s in recent years and along with Butch Leitzinger, he humbled the works run cars at Sears Point in 2003 and at Mosport a year later.
Whether it be a Porsche 962, Riley & Scott MkIII or the more recent Lola models, B01/60 and B06/10, Weaver was an immensely popular, skilled and humorous driver and will be missed by his team mates, rivals and fans alike.