MONTEREY, CA October 21, 2006 – James Weaver, one of the best sports car racers of all time, announced his retirement today at the conclusion of today’s season ending American Le Mans race at Laguna Seca. He closed out his unparalleled career on top, winning second place honors in the 2006 American La Mans series championship.
Weaver has driven for Dyson Racing for twenty years. He has 100 career victories – achieving that milestone at Mosport in 2005. He is one of the world’s finest sports car racers: he has claimed sixty seven poles, seventy fastest laps, thirty six lap records, and over 200 podium finishes. “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.” James won thirty-three races and three championships for Dyson Racing.
Today’s race was classic Weaver. The #16 Thetford/Norlcold car started sixth for the four hour race into dusk. Weaver started the car and passed everyone in front of him—twice– and took advantage of the team’s strategy to bring it in first place when pitting at both the one hour and two hour mark.
The car ended up fourth in class today in the eighth annual race here on the Monterey Peninsula. Chris Dyson got in at the two hour mark and when it went green on lap 97, he executed an Alex Zanardi-like move at the Corkscrew to pass the number two Audi for second, where he remained for several laps. Unfortunately, the American’s set of tires were not consistent, and as the track temperatures fell, the car developed understeer that took away from the optimum handling the car enjoyed the first half of the race.
But today was more than just a race. It marked an end of an era.
“Driving with James in his last race is a great honor,” said Chris Dyson. “He is what every driver aspires to be and more importantly, what every person aspires to be. There is no one more honorable, upstanding and giving as a person. He has been a member of our family, and he’s one of the most influential people in my life. That will never change. It’s an emotional day for all of us, but we’re looking forward to the next challenge. James would have it no other way.”
|4.||7||P2||Luhr/Dumas||1:03.968||Porsche RS Sypder|
|5.||6||P2||Maassen/Bernhard||1 lap||Porsche RS Spyder|
|7.||15||P1||Johansson/Mowlem||2 laps||Zytek 06/Zytek|
|8.||009||GT1||Sarrazin/Lamy||6 laps||Aston Martin DBR9|
|10.||3||GT1||Fellows/OConnell||7 laps||Corvette C6|
Season Ending Points:
First: Allan McNish – 204, Rinaldo Capelo – 204 Second: James Weaver – 119 Third: Butch Leitzinger – 106 Fourth: 106 Emanuele Pirro – 99, Frank Beila – 99 Fifth: Chris Dyson – 73 Sixth: Guy Smith – 60
Rob Dyson’s thoughts on the 2006 season:
“I think what we have shown this season is that amidst an assimilation of a brand new car and a brand new engine, our team is capable of handling almost anything. 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 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 spade. 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. 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 honor to have James as a comrade in arms and as a friend for twenty years.”