Defending 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Romain Dumas is hoping to achieve a “unique” trio of victories at the French classic with Signatech Alpine in LMP2, adding to his successes in LMP1 and GTE.
The 39-year-old won Le Mans outright with Audi in 2010 before repeating the feat in memorable fashion for Porsche last year, after the race-leading Toyota TS050 Hybrid expired with three minutes to go.
Dumas, who is also the reigning FIA World Endurance Champion, added a GTE-Pro class win on Porsche’s first outing with the previous-generation 911 RSR in 2013.
Although he was not retained as part of Porsche’s LMP1 squad, the Frenchman said he remains as motivated as ever and is optimistic that Signatech-Alpine can deliver back-to-back victories in a congested LMP2 field.
“Yeah, that’s the target, it’s why I decided to do LMP2 this year,” Dumas told Sportscar365.
“[Winning three classes] is unique. When I was in LMP1, I always said it’s as hard or even harder to win in GTE, because I drove a GT five times before the win in 2013, so I knew it was complicated. But this year I can also say that LMP2 is also very tough.
“When you see the competition in LMP2, they are really professional guys, a lot of young stars and some older stars, but at the end of the day a very good level.
“As we saw in Daytona, it’s not [the case that] because you are doing LMP1 you will jump in LMP2 and you will kick ass of everybody.
“But I enjoy it, the motivation is there and I want to do well.”
As at Spa, where he finished fifth, Dumas will share the No. 36 Alpine A470 Gibson with Gustavo Menezes and Matt Rao, filling in for Toyota’s Nicolas Lapierre.
Having been accustomed to developing cutting edge hybrid technology in LMP1, Dumas acknowledges that there is an inevitable change of emphasis in LMP2, although this isn’t something that concerns him.
“Alpine was the best choice for me. In France, it’s very famous, a good team,” said Dumas, who makes his 17th appearance in the race this year.
“For sure there is a lot less pressure, a lot less meetings. It’s more do your job, drive.
“It’s completely different, you cannot compare. It’s more or less like it was in GT some years ago, but at the end of the day, this is not a complaint. If I was in LMP1, I will understand that we have to do so many meetings, it’s normal that it depends on what you have to do.
“I know what it’s like in LMP1, it’s a high category, but I have no problem to go from the top to a little bit less.”
While he admits that it hurt not to be given the opportunity to defend his victory in LMP1, Dumas admitted he has enjoyed having his time freed up to pursue other projects including the FIA R-GT Cup, a rally competition dedicated to GT cars.
Dumas will also make his second attempt at Pikes Peak next week.
“I think I have the best program ever that I had,” he said.
“Clearly the last three or four years for me in LMP1, I was only there to do LMP1 but in the past with Timo Bernhard or Marc Lieb, we always drove different things; the RS Spyder or Audi in 2010, plus VLN, plus me on top of that, I do a lot of things.
“This year so far I drove Dakar, plus the Corsica Rally and Monte Carlo Rally.
“For sure it’s not in LMP1, but it’s a year to do all these things that I wanted to do in the past.
“It is a transition year. It’s a lot of work for me and for my team to organize all this stuff.
“All my projects around work good so far, but hopefully next year I do a little bit less around and more endurance because this is my favorite.”