Romain Dumas believes that Glickenhaus Racing is under more pressure to deliver a strong result at its second 24 Hours of Le Mans, as the steps taken by the American squad to close the gap to its competitors present a greater chance at overall victory.
Dumas is going into his second Le Mans as a member of the upstart American team, having finished fifth last year, one place behind the teammate No. 708 entry.
So far in its second season in the FIA World Endurance Championship, Glickenhaus has notably closed the deficit to its Hypercar rivals Toyota Gazoo Racing and Alpine.
Dumas, along with Olivier Pla and Ryan Briscoe, secured the team’s first overall podium at the season-opener in Sebring before Pla claimed a breakthrough pole position last time out at Spa.
The team’s improvements, coupled with issues for main rival Toyota in recent races, means that Glickenhaus is coming into Le Mans with a different outlook than its debut outing last year.
“We are definitely motivated,” Dumas told Sportscar365.
“Last year was for a lot of people and, also for us, a big surprise to finish a race like that.
“Since then the momentum is very good, each race we are there. So let’s see what Le Mans can bring. I know this race very well.
“I know that we cannot predict anything, but at the end of the day, it’s very nice to be again in a position to hopefully get a podium at minimum.”
Dumas believes that increased odds for the Jim Glickenhaus-led squad means that the pressure to deliver a result at Le Mans is also higher, although he stressed that he believes the biggest pressure to deliver still lies with four-time winner Toyota.
“Last year, we were the surprise and we had no stress,” the Frenchman said.
“We see now, because we are getting closer and closer to do something big, that we have more pressure.
“But at the end of the day, if you see how we are in terms of the team, money, engagement and so on we are surprised each race. So that is very good.
“I have very good teammates so the team is very strong. We just have to do our own things.
“In the end, we don’t have to have any pressure. Toyota have the pressure because they have to win.
“They need to win, they deserve to win for their people and the money they have put in. We can only be a surprise.”
With more major manufacturers set to introduce cars into Hypercar next year, Dumas reckons that this year’s running of the French classic could be the team’s best shot at taking an overall win.
“We have the chance this year, definitely,” he said.
“I know we have the chance. Now we have to take it.
“We are there and next year will be a lot more complicated with the big manufacturers, we still don’t know.
“I don’t even know where I will drive next year, but at the end of the day for this year we have a chance, so we have to take it.”
Dumas Wishing for Test Day Rain
The two-time overall winner also expressed hope for wetter conditions for Sunday’s Test Day after the team struggled in the rain at Spa.
Dumas explained that the Glickenhaus 007 Pipo had done very limited running in changeable conditions prior to Spa, with the opening hour of last year’s Le Mans a notable exception.
Even as the team continues to learn about its non-hybrid prototype, the experienced Le Mans competitor feels that the team still has steps to take with regards to understanding its performance in wetter conditions.
“Unfortunately, we learned in Spa, that in mixed conditions we are not so strong,” Dumas said.
“So that’s why if it’s raining on the test day, it will be an advantage for us to try to improve ourselves.
“It’s always a lot of question marks, but we are there.
“We are not the favorites, but we are one of them. You never know.”