Former British Touring Car Championship driver and 1989 championship runner-up James Weaver will join Rob Austin Racing as Chief Race Engineer from the Oulton Park meeting onwards, it has been revealed.
Weaver, who has also raced sportscars in North America and at Le Mans, will predominantly be working with the team’s second driver Hunter Abbott when the action resumes after a 4-week spring break this weekend at Oulton Park.
“I’m definitely coming along to fit in – certainly not with a new broom,” said Weaver, who last appeared in the BTCC as a driver in 1992. “While the majority of my career was in sportscars the principles remain basically the same. Hopefully I can take some load off Rob and that will translate into even better performance.
“I’ve not ‘worked’ in the BTCC paddock since 1989 so it will be nice to bump into some old faces – particularly ITV anchorman Steve Rider who I remember well from those times on Grandstand. His hair’s not changed much…”
Rob Austin is hoping that the technical modifications made to the Rob Austin Racing Audi A4’s will pay dividends as the BTCC resumes at Oulton Park.
“Both cars have undergone major rebuilds since the last event more than four weeks ago and we have new cooling packs which should improve the temperatures on the cars and help us squeeze that bit more power from the engines,” Austin said.
Austin is pleased to have Weaver on board and he is hoping that having him on board will improve their performances as it’ll enable them to look at the data in more depth.
The Evesham based driver added: “So far it’s been me engineering both Audis but with James on board – he will chiefly be overseeing Hunter’s car – we will be able to devote much more time, knowledge and experience into looking through the data and improving performance. Someone of James’s experience is a massive asset to the team across all aspects – I’m sure the fans and media will enjoy having a former BTCC great being part of the pit lane as well.”
Austin is hoping that the trip to Oulton Park will start off a stronger run of results for him in Sherman and the team – he led the opening laps at the Cheshire circuit in 2013 before coming home 5th and after Oulton, the series heads to North Yorkshire and Croft, a circuit Austin has finished on the podium at before.
After the summer break, the series heads to Snetterton then Knockhill – the scene of Austin’s maiden Pole Position in 2013 – then Rockingham, where Austin became a BTCC race winner. The Knockhill and Rockingham events saw Austin outscore the entire field…
“Oulton marks the first of five circuits in a row where we should be much stronger,” Austin added. “I led at Oulton last year Croft is next up in late June and I was on the podium there two years ago, we know we have a strong car at Snetterton and then it’s Knockhill and Rockingham where last year we got our first pole and first win and scored more points than anybody else combined.
“The results in the two most recent rounds at Donington and Thruxton might not show it, but we actually hit our target of being stronger comparatively at our two weakest circuits. With James on board and with a good sequence of circuits coming up our goals will be to make some huge progress,” he concluded.