Weaver Racing Concepts in Competition Mode Out West for Laguna Seca Trans Am Speedfest
May 1, 2021
Salinas, CALIFORNIA - May 1, 2021 - Few people are better known or more respected in Trans Am than Pancho Weaver, who is represented this weekend by Boris Said in the famous No. 2 Dodge Challenger. We caught up with him this week to hear about his plans and he was quick to credit his sponsors and highlighted some of the impressive companies supporting him and the Weaver Racing Concepts Trans Am program.
"This is our fourth year with the newest design of our Trans Am car,” stated Weaver. “This weekend we're running with Boris Said who's our regular driver. We really want to highlight some of the people helping us out and one of those partners is Technique, manufacturer of high-speed prototype chassis. Their main base is in Jackson, Michigan and they now have a secondary shop in Concorde, North Carolina.”
“They are also involved in the new NASCAR 2022 Gen 7 chassis, which is going to be a spec chassis for all of the NASCAR teams in the Cup Series. Technique has won the contract to build all of these chassis using the same type of technique, the laser coping and the CNC bending as well as robotic welding. The owner Ronnie Johncox is a previous IndyCar racer and runs a great company with Technique.”
Another supporter to the Weaver team is DEI, an insulation company. They've come onboard with extra help this weekend at Laguna Seca. Weaver has worked closely with them on this particular build, which is the fourth car of this design.
Boris Said has been a part of piloting all of these generations of Trans Am cars and Weaver Racing Concepts is currently under construction of the fifth chassis. The team is looking to put Paul Menard hopefully in that car for next year and he may make an appearance later this season. The team aims to run Boris and Paul Menard next year full-time in Trans Am and the door is open for supporters to get involved.
Pancho also gave some terrific insight into the Trans Am formula and how the cars are specified, "It's a really open kind of format in Trans Am, which makes it appealing to me and the guys I work with. They welcome innovation but we do have to meet a certain rule package. It's a 102 inch wheelbase vehicle, and 81 inches wide, it has to meet safety standards with one shock per wheel. Weight to cubic inch engine size are your basic parameters. Other than that they are pretty open minded to lots of different things. The body is somewhat of a spec design, Dodge, Ford, Camaro, Cadillac and Corvette. They're all paired in the wind tunnel for aerodynamic drag and downforce."
"The weight of the class is 2870lbs with the driver, and we are a little under in the Dodge. We get a bit of a weight break because we're running less aerodynamic undertray in the nose that nobody else is using currently. We run with a 4-speed transmission, versus the 5-speed sequentials which our competitors are running. Boris being the accomplished road racing driver that he is, he's very capable of relaying information vital to make changes to the car so that it performs correctly on the racetrack, as well as his ability and his experience is a huge asset."
Right out of high school Weaver went to work for Parnelli Jones in his supersize race car factory in Torrance, California where he picked up quite a few good fabrication mentors. He then went into racing off-road for 13 years in the deserts of Baja and the Mickey Thompson Stadium Series. He won the title in ‘84 and learned valuable insights between driver and engineer. From there he got involved in Trans Am in the mid-80s. Weaver has since then built 46 Trans Am cars.
Pancho led and started up the in-house chassis construction department under the direction of Dale Earnhardt - building 84 Cup cars through the early 2000s. Then he got involved with Doug Herbert and built a land speed car intended to break the 500mph barrier, which is nearly two-thirds finished with the build.
“We've learned by testing and actually racing those cars, myself included occasionally, what it takes to get exactly what the drivers are looking for in the race car,” stated Weaver. “I have a bridge between being a fabricator and a driver knowing both sides of the fence a little bit, which has helped build a better competitive product."
Of his exploits in Trans Am Pancho added, "I've had most of the top drivers pilot our chassis over the decades. At one point in the mid-90s we had about a third of the Trans Am field during a time with grids of 30 to 35 cars. It was great. We had Tom Gloy, Greg Pickett and Willy T Ribbs, Boris of course, really a who's who of Trans Am drivers with numerous wins as a team. Adam Andretti won a race at COTA Texas with us and that was his first TA Class win in the Series. This is our fourth season with Boris and he's just won the last race at Atlanta. We're expecting another great finish here at Laguna Seca. It's one of his best tracks and we're really excited about it!"
Pancho also gave credit and mention to Willis Engineering, "We've got our head engineer here who does all the CAD work here in Southern California. His name is Chris Willis of Willis Engineering and he is a great support to the team’s efforts at the track."
"We've got some great people behind us with support and product. I’d like to thank Speedway Engineering, PENSKE Race Engines and ProSystem who provides the brake parts. We've got an incredible brake system on this car, which isn't available to any other teams. It's a prototype system and we're looking to improve on these things all the time. They say brakes don't win you races, but they help you pass a guy going into tight corners."
The venue for the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli Round 3 is the WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway. It is a glorious track, with multiple elevation changes, sweeping and tight turns, as well as straight that stretches long enough for big cars like the current Trans Am contestants to really stretch their legs. The track record for Trans Am at Laguna Seca stretches all the way back to 2004 when Tommy Kendall clocked 1:26:800 (92.820 miles per hour). With the current crop of Trans Am cars being altogether quicker than the 2004 versions, there is a fair chance that record could be broken this weekend. The prestigious TA Class race where Boris is piloting the Weaver Dodge Challenger is at 1:30 p.m. PST on Sunday, May 2 and will consist of 100-miles or 46 laps of this great circuit.