Dumas Chasing 24H Le Mans LMP2 Drive

Photo: Porsche

Photo: Porsche

Reigning 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Romain Dumas could end up in a LMP2 car in next year’s French endurance classic, with the 2016 FIA World Endurance Champion chasing a drive in the new-look prototype class. (En Français)

Dumas, who along with Marc Lieb were dropped from Porsche’s World Championship-winning LMP1 factory lineup, is targeting a move back to the LMP2 ranks, a class where the Frenchman earned American Le Mans Series titles in Penske Racing’s Porsche RS Spyder in 2007-08.

While still being retained by the German manufacturer, but in the GT ranks, five of the six factory seats for Porsche’s GTE-Pro effort at Le Mans have already been confirmed, likely leaving Dumas without a ride for the race.

“My goal is clearly to race in a prototype,” Dumas told Endurance-Info. “There’s not many solutions but the LMP2 category is interesting. The new cars only give me envy.

“It would be something new to me because the victory would be built around the gentleman [driver].

“The Porsche RS Spyder, which was a sensational and certainly the most successful [LMP2 car], was running 3:34 lap times. Now LMP2 will go below below the 3:30 bar.”

The two-time Le Mans overall winner is also hoping to also put together rides for the Total 24 Hours of Spa and Nürburgring 24, a race he hasn’t taken part in since 2013 due to his LMP1 commitments.

Both could be with the Manthey Porsche squad, with Porsche GT boss Dr. Frank Steffen-Walliser revealing to Sportscar365 last month that an Intercontinental GT Challenge program is under evaluation for next year that would enable Porsche to enter cars in the outright Pro Cup class for the Belgian enduro.

“My first wish is to take part in the 24 Hours races: Nürburgring, Le Mans and Spa,” Dumas said.

“The end of the LMP1 program came quite late, which leaves less time to [figure things out]. I hope to be at the start of the Nürburgring and Spa in a car for the win.

“Given the LMP1 program in recent years, I have not been able to drive on the Nordschleife and I intend to correct that next year.”

Dumas will kick off his year again taking part in the Dakar Rally, at the wheel of a privateer Peugeot 3008 DKR, prior to a run in the Monte Carlo Rally later in the month.

19 Comments

  1. klm

    December 31, 2016 at 10:32 am

    what a shame to be relegated into lmp2!!!

  2. Helmuth

    December 31, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Reminds me of the true racers like Clark Siffert Hailwood exetera that raced in everything and shone, hopes he gets a good drive

  3. David Chaste

    December 31, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Once Porsche’s top driver. During the RS Spyder days with Penske he was the go to guy to finish off tight races. In my opinion the Closed top prototypes were never something he acclimated to well. But he and Timo developped the First 919. He has accomplished as much as any factory driver could. Nothing to be shy about.

  4. Matt Lang

    December 31, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    I wish him well, I loved watching him in the RS Sypder!

    • seth

      December 31, 2016 at 7:04 pm

      Saw him win in one ,Sebring 2008

  5. Crossmai'n

    December 31, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    So he is still a Porsche factory driver, or is hejust not have a Potsche ride?

    • David Chaste

      December 31, 2016 at 7:32 pm

      Still a Porsche driver. Just not in LMP1. They can assign him to other series or customer teams. But usually factory drivers are forbidden from competing anywhere that they might compete against a factory backed car. So no GTLM/GTE with other non Porsche teams, and no GTD/GT3 with non Porsche teams either. And all his Porsche rides have to be assigned. But free reins in P2 since there’s no conflict there.

      • Jareth Belanger

        January 2, 2017 at 11:14 am

        except he wouldn’t be competing against the factory teams if he ran in GTE-AM (Proton was in GTE-PRO), GTD, or a GT3 class such as PWC. By your logic then LMP2 would be out because Porsche is in LMP1

        • David Chaste

          January 2, 2017 at 1:31 pm

          You dont have much logic going. Pat Long and Wolf Henzler ran in GTE am which means those cars were factory backed. Pat Long runs in Pwc. Bergmeister and Henzler run in GTD. In Blancpain Porsche has numerous junior drivers and affiliate drivers running. Even some local championships that do not have factory drivers have Porsche track engineers, junior drivers or Porsche contracted drivers assigned to them. Kevin Estre was not a factory driver last season but he would regularly get assignments from Porsche when a factory driver wasn’t available. LMP2 is the only clear no conflict zone.

  6. Michael

    January 1, 2017 at 10:57 am

    I didn’t think he was slow, why did he get pushed down? I’m surprised by that move, especially since endurance drivers of his magnitude stick around driving top level machines almost their whole career.

    • JJ

      January 3, 2017 at 9:15 am

      He wasn’t as relatively slow as Lieb, but the consistency hasn’t been there this season and the back half of last season. Given the drivers available within Porsche’s roster and elsewhere, it was the right choice to promote quicker drivers that should improve with more experience (Tandy & Bamber) and get a better driver from outside (Lotterer).

      Dumas, like Lapierre, is still a brilliant all-round driver and if he carves himself a similar long-term role in LMP2 I will be delighted. But the standard in LMP1-H is particularly fierce and Dumas’ demotion is more a reflection of how good the drivers still in 919/TS050s have to be.

  7. Doug

    January 1, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Maybe Penske would consider him again if they get back into IMSA.

  8. Dave Henrie

    January 1, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Also remember, that Spyder RS that raced at LM was held back by regulations. A magnificent car. Some of the best racing to ever be displayed in America was when Acura and Porsche went head to head with the big bad LMP1 Audis.

    • David Chaste

      January 1, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      The RS Spyders that raced at Lemans were on part with the Dyson cars. They did not have the Direct Injection engines the Penske cars had, so not as much straight line acceleration. Those DFI Penske engines also had their own fuel mixture specific to the engines, and it made them very fuel efficient yet fast. The ACO’s P2 class also had smaller restrictor openings than the ALMS.

  9. Dun blowed up

    January 2, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Pretty sure Porsche is gonna have 3 cars in P1 at Le Mans although its not been made official.

    • Larry

      January 2, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      Seems that Porsche has been pretty adamant that there WON’T be three cars at LeMans.

      You got some inside info?

      http://sportscar365.com/lemans/wec/seidl-third-porsche-for-le-mans-currently-not-a-topic/

      • Dun blowed up

        January 3, 2017 at 9:21 am

        Nothing official but I have been told that Porsche is waiting on the Toys to announce a 3rd car. I reckon we will be finding out in a couple weeks. Then there is also that wild rumor of McClaren fielding a GTE car with Button,Alonzo,and Webber. Silly season at its very finest.

        • David Chaste

          January 3, 2017 at 12:47 pm

          A GTE car with Button, Alonzo and Webber would be like hot air. It will draw a lot of hype and attention, and lots of media coverage, but ultimately it won’t finish in the top 5, maybe not even the top half of the class.

          • NASCAR/DPs Suck

            January 3, 2017 at 3:27 pm

            That could be, just imagine Fernando fighting wheel to wheel in a competitive car-something the world’s been waiting on for years could happen in GTE. Too bad the chances are probably extremely low.

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