The December issue brought back both sad and good memories. When we ran our Lotus 47 in the 1968 Sebring 12 Hours we crashed out in the 10th hour. After Jo Siffert won and finished celebrating, he was the only driver to come to our pit and enquire after our driver. He was happy to hear that our driver only had bruising. Siffert’s death was the loss of a true gentleman.
Conversely, Simon Taylor’s words and James Mitchell’s photography captured perfectly my good memories of James Weaver and Andy Wallace. I was a member of the Porsche team when James joined us. His ability to turn a phrase in self-deprecation was well illustrated by the quote, “I couldn’t even rise to the dizzy heights of being rubbish”. When James came to drive, a great feeling of warmth and confidence permeated the team.
As for his driving ability, when he asked for the smallest change in the set-up he could tell us what the car did before and after the change, with lap times to prove his words, good or bad. I believe his self-deprecation comes from the fact that sometimes he has a hard time believing in his own abilities. Also, he had a secret weapon which may explain his ‘seat of the pants’ ability. He loves his John Deere tractor. Once we visited him and his friend Richard Lloyd, and the discussion turned to tractors. They could have been discussing the difference between the Red Bull RB6 and RB7 for the details they expressed. Maybe driving on those hard tractor seats conditioned them to ‘read’ the handling of their race cars.
James introduced me to Andy Wallace, and I found him to have a sense of humour to match James’s. Andy might be a touch more intense but the humour was always there. Besides, they are both fast.
Richard Yagami, Ridgefield, Connecticut, USA