Thursday of last week, February 14th, was the media day for the 2008 Masters Series – and a first chance for James Weaver to step into a racing car since Laguna Seca in 2006.

“When we invited him to drive the T70 MKIIIB he couldn't resist,” said Lola’s Sam Smith. “James had actually shared a Lola-Aston Martin T70 back in the ‘80s with Eddie Arundel, father of current single seater ace Henry Arundel. James' links with Lola are not just with its cars, as he also shared a Chevron B36 with our owner Martin Birrane, in the Thundersports Series in 1983."

“Yesterday, he pulled out some 1999 vintage overalls, complete with USRRC badge (remember them?) and did about 18 laps of the Indy circuit, just for fun. He thoroughly enjoyed it…”

"I think I made the right decision to retire, the old reflexes didn't come back straight away but I suppose if you are going to get back into the cockpit of a racing car, then a T70 isn't a bad place to start is it?"
offered James.

He added "it staggered me how once you've actually lost that passion to go racing, how different your perspective is. Normally you get in a car and 'boff', you're on it straight away..."

This was the first time that James had driven at Brands Hatch since September 1996, when he was in line to finish second in the BPR Global Endurance Series race, with Ray Bellm, until an engine failure near the end. That was the period when the factory 911 GT1 was winning races – and not scoring points, which led to the long tail McLarens, the Mercedes etc. etc.

“As self-effacing and as charming as ever,” Sam Smith continues, “James is a real enthusiast for the sport and still keeps a close eye on ALMS, in particular. He stayss in regular contact with the Dyson family and seems to have devised some kind of cross county curry night programme, with Andy Wallace and his former engineer at Dyson, Peter Weston. James also enjoyed a ‘catch up’ with MSV boss Jonathan Palmer, evoking memories of the 1985 Le Mans 24 Hours when they finished 2nd in the RLR Porsche 956.”

There will shortly be news of a connection between Lola (and the company’s 50th Anniversary) and the Masters Series - at the Brands Hatch Masters Historic Festival on May 24-26.

All pictures courtesy of Hawkins/Ebrey and Glyn Jones.