Romain Dumas says he’s looking forward to a busy season in Porsche factory GT3 entries but admits his Blancpain GT Series and Intercontinental GT Challenge programs will be challenging.
The two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans overall winner makes his full-time return to GT racing after focusing on LMP1 for the past decade with both Porsche and Audi.
He will join Dirk Werner and Fred Makowiecki in a Manthey Racing-prepared Porsche 911 GT3 R for the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup and IGTC seasons.
The latter gets underway with this weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, just days after he finished on the overall podium with CORE autosport in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“I’m very motivated with this Blancpain GT entry and Intercontinental,” he told Sportscar365. “For me, it’s really my best program ever in terms of tracks.
“It will be the four 24-hour races also with Le Mans. The four true big 24-hour races for me: Daytona, Nürburgring, Spa and Le Mans, plus Sebring, plus Petit, plus a lot of nice tracks with Blancpain GT and Bathurst on top.
“Suzuka [as well], it’s all nice tracks. I’m very happy with the program and I could not expect a better one.”
The 40-year-old Frenchman expects a challenging season in the Porsche, which is older than many other GT3 cars, as the brand increases its involvement in Blancpain GT with its first all-pro entry.
“It think it will be really nice but not an easy year,” he admitted. “It will be our first year with a very old GT3 car compared to the others. We cannot expect a lot but we will do our best.
“I think if the Balance of Performance is right, because motorsport is now all about BoP which was not the case before, I hope we can still be in a good place.
“The Laguna Seca race was tough with Porsche, I went to Macau which also was tough. I hope the BoP will be better.”
Dumas says the success of the Team75 Bernhard Porsche in last year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa shows what the car can achieve with a favorable BoP.
Ultimately, he expects BoP to be one of the main factors in determining Porsche’s success in Blancpain GT and IGTC this year.
“At the end of the day, it will always depend on the BoP you have, if your car will fit to the track or not,” he explained.
“Spa last year was good but two years ago in Germany with ADAC [GT Masters] it was not good for Porsche.
“We know we are limited because the car is quite an old car so it always depends on the BoP we get and the fit to the track. It’s difficult to say today, and I’m not able to say if we will be good or not.”
In addition to the IGTC and Blancpain GT entries, Dumas will complete the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup season with CORE autosport.
He is also set to enter Le Mans in one of Porsche’s extra 911 RSRs, subject to entry confirmation, while returning to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in an electric Volkswagen prototype.
“It will for sure be really tough,” he said. “It’s a big, big program with a lot of races. It’s more than 20 races plus some extra like Pikes Peak and so on. For sure, we’ll be very busy.”
Despite making his GT debut over 15 years ago, this weekend will be the first time the Frenchman has tackled Bathurst and he is looking forward to driving the Mount Panorama circuit.
“I’m very happy to go there,” he said. “It’s the first time for me in Australia and I’m very excited.
“I like all the big challenges, so to discover Bathurst will be very nice for me. I like Nürburgring a lot so I should be OK with Bathurst.”