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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Dumas: Blancpain GT Program Felt Like ‘Filling Up the Grid’

Dumas left disappointed after poor Blancpain GT, IGTC season for Manthey Racing…

Photo: Porsche

Romain Dumas says he felt his Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup program this year served just to make up the numbers after a disappointing season for Manthey Racing.

The Frenchman joined Fred Makowiecki and Dirk Werner in the field’s sole Pro Cup Porsche 911 GT3 R for the Endurance Cup races and had a best result of ninth at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The trio drove together for the full Intercontinental GT Challenge season and again missed out on the results they were expecting compared to the Audi and Mercedes-AMG teams.

“It’s been even more than frustrating,” he told Sportscar365. “I had a feeling I was here to fill up the grid.

“It’s not that I’m negative, because I know that a lot of drivers are very good, but when you have other competitors coming to you and they feel sad for you, it means you are really bad!”

The difficult season for Porsche’s lead Blancpain GT and Intercontinental GT Challenge effort came in stark contrast to its GTE program, in which it took class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, and Motul Petit Le Mans.

The German manufacturer’s biggest GT3 success of the year came at the Nürburgring 24, with Makowiecki, Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Richard Lietz claiming victory.

Dumas hinted that the Balance of Performance could be part of the reason behind Manthey’s lack of success in SRO competition compared to the N24.

“We had some mistakes and issues but all these Blancpain categories are for sure more or less what you do with BoP,” Dumas said.

“The question is why this car can win at the Nürburgring and why it had no chance with the same lineup! It’s not a question of drivers or teams, or the races.

“At the end of the day, I’m not in a position to speak about that or to give my opinion but it is what it is.

“We never showed great performance and when we were between P5 and P10 we were very happy in some practice sessions, and it was not often.

“We had the issues because we’re always on the limit with the car. Our car is just too much on the limit with how it is [in SRO competition], compared to the [N24]. It’s hard to understand.”

Dumas Hoping for Similar Busy 2019 Schedule 

Dumas says he would like to replicate his busy schedule next season, after competing in 22 race weekends this year between several different disciplines.

However, he admitted he only wants to continue with such a packed program if he can fight for race wins with Porsche’s new 2019-spec GT3 car.

“If we have decent speed, I will be happy to do the same,” he said. “I have no problem doing more than 20 races per year, and to do a mix between Pikes Peak, rally, LMP, GT3, it’s busy.

“When you have performance, you don’t see the problem of traveling. I have no problem to adapt to cars. When I went from winning Pikes Peak to Watkins Glen and leading the first practice, it was quite fun.

“I enjoy it, but I enjoy it if it works. If it doesn’t work like this year, I don’t see the point to do it.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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