Weaver: Tougher to win now that everyone has Goodyear tires

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 23, 2002) -- James Weaver knows better than anybody that things are about to change for the teams in three classes of the Grand American Sports Car Association. The defending champion of the Grand American SRP class, Weaver and his Dyson Racing teammates won both the driver and team class championships while racing on the Wings of Goodyear.

Now everybody will do it.

Starting with the Feb. 2-3 Rolex 24 at Daytona, Goodyear will be the sole tire supplier for the Grand American series' SRP, GTS and AGT classes. A member of the Goodyear family of tires, Dunlop, will be the supplier for the other two Grand American classes.

"I think it's going to make it harder for us," Weaver said. "That's one of the advantages of racing on Goodyear tires: They are so consistent that it is easier to set up the car before you ever get to the race track. One of our biggest competitors has always been (team owner) Kevin Doran. Now that he's on Goodyears, he's going to be a big pain."

Weaver is one of the most accomplished road racers in the world. He is a two-time winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona and won the Daytona 250 in 2001. He won the 1996 Global GT championship, the 1998 Can Am title and is the two-time defending champion of the Grand American Road Racing Association's SRP class.

And he still wants more. "It never gets old," Weaver said of his love for racing. "The buzz is still there, particularly when you have a good car which you know can win."

Since 1984, Weaver has raced on Goodyear tires. He calls the tiremaker's quality control efforts, "Staggering. You just know the tires are exactly the same every time. I can honestly say that in 18 years I've never had a bad set of tires."

And, since he's been with Dyson Racing, he's never had a bad teammate. In The Rolex 24, Weaver will work with co-drivers Butch Leitzinger and Oliver Gavin in one Dyson car, while Ron and Chris Dyson, Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Dorsey Schroeder will drive the other.

Weaver, recently named to the 2001 American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association's All-American team, said that when teams unfamiliar with Goodyear Eagle Sports Car Radials use them for the first time, the teams will be pleasantly surprised because tire characteristics vary greatly from make to make. Nowhere, Weaver said, is the difference more obvious than in the rain.

"When we had the Goodyear wets, it was such a massive advantage," Weaver said. "At some tracks, it can be as much as six seconds a lap."

Now, for the first time, every team will have that same advantage.

Weaver, 46, lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife Sylvie and their children, Camilla and Jemima.