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World Champions Dumas, Lieb Dropped by Porsche LMP1 Team

Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb dropped by Porsche LMP1 team…

Photo: Porsche

Photo: Porsche

Newly crowned FIA World Endurance Champions Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb will not return to Porsche’s LMP1 program next year, the German manufacturer confirmed on Friday.

Both drivers, who combined with Neel Jani to win this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 2016 Drivers’ World Championship, will remain under contract at Porsche, with Lieb in a customer racing role and Dumas in to-be-announced position.

The news comes after a dismal second half of the WEC season for the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid, which failed to score a podium finish since its triumph in the French endurance classic, yet still claimed the world title.

Lieb and Dumas’ seats in the factory LMP1 squad were under threat as early as September, with indications that one or both drivers could be replaced by 2015 Le Mans winners Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber, who were first on the team’s list of drivers, as first revealed by Sportscar365.

With Mark Webber having since retired from driving, it now means Porsche has three full-season seats to fill for 2017.

“The LMP1 program has benefitted immensely from Marc’s and Romain’s experience, especially during the team’s build-up phase and in Le Mans,” said Porsche LMP1 Vice President Fritz Enzinger.

“Together we went through some highs and lows in recent years. I am very pleased that both true racers can conclude this part of their Porsche career as Le Mans winners and world champions.

“I thank Marc and Romain from the depth of my heart for their high performance driving, their strong commitment and their loyalty.”

Lieb, who holds an engineering degree, will remain on board with the manufacturer in an international customer racing capacity back in the GT ranks, where he first became a Porsche factory driver at the age of 20.

“I always imagined that the LMP1 program would be my last seat as a works driver,” Lieb said. “I managed to set the course early for my future career outside the cockpit at Porsche. I’m thankful for all the chances and possibilities I got at Porsche for so many years.”

Dumas, meanwhile, will likely also be reassigned to GT racing, having earned multiple titles in 911 machinery prior to to his and Lieb’s promotions to the LMP1 effort in 2014.

“Winning Le Mans 24 Hours with Porsche was a dream come true and I am proud of what we achieved all together since many years. I am a man of challenges and there will be a new one soon,” Dumas said.

While Porsche has yet to formally announce their replacements in LMP1, it’s understood that both Tandy and Audi refugee Andre Lotterer will take two of the three vacant seats, and Bamber likely to complete the heavily revised lineup for the 2017 WEC season.

Porsche is expected to finalize its driver lineups for both LMP1 and GT factory programs at its end-of-year awards night on Dec. 3 in Germany.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Luc

    November 25, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Bamber, Lotterer & Tandy…
    Dumas and Lieb had it coming. Certainly not the best Porsche drivers but the team who has most points at the end of the/a season is crowned champion. So kudos to them. Dumas is a real racer, see his exploits in different cars. Very 60’s!

    • jessie

      November 25, 2016 at 10:04 am

      Agree on Dumas

  2. Jack

    November 25, 2016 at 9:42 am

    This decision was clearly made a while ago if winning the WDC couldn’t change Porsche’s mind!
    Still, they’ve won a championship (incl. the big race) in what I believe will be remembered as a golden era for the class and that’s the kind of achievement that will be remembered for a long time.
    Best of luck to the both of them.

  3. JamieR

    November 25, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Lotterer and Jani in the same car…ouch.

    I can why Tandy is getting the seat, Bamber, not so much. At least there aren’t as many GT cars for him to punt off in the WEC.

    I agree with others than this decision had been made months ago, and their poor form merely justified the move later.

    • NASCAR/DPs Suck

      November 25, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      Yeah, not so sure about Bamber-one of the other displaced Audi drivers would be my preference.

    • Olly

      November 25, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      Imagine Tandy with the two you mentioned! I’m hoping that’s going to be the case, and place Bamber with the Hartley Bernhard car.

  4. Pat Edwards

    November 25, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    I’d love to see Dempsey in one of those LMP1 seats.

  5. Casey

    November 25, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    My thoughts would be to put Tandy with Jani and Lotterer and add Loic Duval with Bernhard and Hartley. Also I bet Derani is already signed with Toyota.

    • TF110

      November 25, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      I don’t think so. Jose Maria Lopez is probably in the Toyota. Someone is being replaced by him. I think that’s it for the full time lineup. Maybe a third car will have an ex Audi guy (Duval would be my choice) and definitely Hirakawa with the ousted driver Lopez replaces.

      • Casey

        November 25, 2016 at 11:25 pm

        Derani was in a Toyota suit at the Rookie test. I would imagine if there is a 3rd car for Lemans only he is in it.

  6. Jenner

    November 25, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    I think Patrick Long deserves a shot.

    Awesome driver, protects his equipment, smart, strategic, gives great feedback to engineers, teammates, am’s, fans, well spoken, and a great American ambassador for Porsche.

    Would love to see Patrick on the top step at Le Mans.

    • Larry

      November 25, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      Completely agree about Patrick.

      And getting Bamber out of WeatherTech is gonna be good news for the other drivers. 🙂

  7. Turd Fergusson

    November 25, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Pat Long should have been driving a Prototype since Penske left.

    • Casey

      November 25, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      Pilet would be my first pick of the GT guys other than Tandy. Then Estre would be a good candidate. I really wish Porsche would have given Bryan Sellers a shot after his runs in the Falken car.

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