Through The Esses - James Weaver Retires From A Racing Life - Part 2: A Salute From His Peers
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© Andrew S. Hartwell

James is a great competitor, fast as hell, very few mistakes. We would have had him drive for us any time; the opportunity just never came up. - Kevin Doran

We complete our tribute to James Weaver on the announcement of his retirement, here, with a modest collection of facts about his career, and with an assortment of comments - like the one above from DP car builder, and winning team owner and long time Dyson Racing competitor, Kevin Doran - from just a handful of the many people who have appreciated his work over the years. By no means does this compilation constitute the full spectrum of the positive sentiments the thousands who admire James Weaver have expressed. No, this is but a sampling of the measure of fondness and respect so many people have for him as a person, and as a professional sportscar driver.

We tried to contact several others who were close to James on the track or off, but were unable to reach them. We are confident however, that if they had the chance to answer the question, What is your opinion of James Weaver? their responses would mirror those you will find in the following paragraphs.

A clear example of the admiration his competitors feel for this remarkable man can be found in this note of appreciation from former Porsche factory driver, and championship winning competitor, David Murry.

James Weaver is an icon in the sportscar world of racing drivers. He is one of the few drivers that have managed such a long and consistent career. After knowing of James for quite a number of years - as I was sleeping in my VW trying to start a career driving sportscars - he was doing it at the top level. Years later I raced against James in prototypes in IMSA driving in the actual car he raced the year before.

In 1998 I was lucky enough to become James' teammate at Le Mans driving the Porsche LMP1 for the factory. I wasn't sure what to expect until I arrived at Circuit de la Sarthe and James took me around the track to clue me in to all the details of how to drive the circuit. I thought he was a great co-driver to help me learn such a difficult and long track since it was my first trip there!

It will leave a small void in Sportscars as he retires.

For some, standing on the sidelines, James was the man who could be counted on to make magic happen on a race track. For others, James was a tough fellow competitor who drove hard but always kept himself and others out of trouble.

Trouble, however, sometimes managed to find him, as it did in the first turn of the 1999 USRRC race at Lime Rock Park. What follows is an excerpt from our original race report. It is included in this tribute as it illustrates both his determined competitive style and his ability to find humor in almost any situation.

On the starting grid, James Weaver's car was placed about15 feet in front of Mimo Schiatarella in the Ferrari. He tried to hold that distance all the way around the pace lap, until the pace car pulled off and the field headed for the green flag. He almost made it except that Mimo wanted to be the first to Big Bend (turn one). And he almost was first until James set his sights on the inside line and made sure Mimo came second. But Mimo wasn't giving way and so you can guess what happened. The two hot rods banged sides with James on the inside going into the corner, and in front coming out. And that was all the close racing James would permit. He took off and immediately put the rest of the field well behind him.

James comment after the race:
He got a better start than me with the pace car going so slowly so when we got down to the first corner he left the door open for me. I take back everything I ever said about Italian drivers! It was a bit of a rough contact - we had a minor territorial dispute - but it was not too serious. I saw it as a gap that was 99% as wide as the Riley and Scott so I just put in the extra 1%!

Putting in t