French racing driver Romain Dumas, one of the overall winners of the 2016 24 hours of Le Mans and 2016 FIA WEC champion, isn't just a successful endurance circuit driver but also one of the most versatile world's drivers, because in recent years he competed in the World Rally Championship, climbed to the victory at Pikes Peak and reached the finish of the Dakar Rally.
Since his racing debut in 1995, Dumas collected two overall wins and one class victory at 24h Le Mans, five class wins at 24h Nürburgring, one FIA WEC title and two LMP2 class titles in the American Le Mans Series, overall victory at Pikes Peak International Hillclimb and many other on the circuits and rally stages across the world.
Romain started racing at the age 15
Romain was born on December 14, 1977, in Ales, Southern France. He started racing in karting in 1992, switching to bigger cars in 1995 when he entered the French Formula Renault. He reached the best season result in 1997, finishing third in the championship, behind Jonathan Cochet and Sebastien Bourdais.
In 1998, Dumas progressed to the French Formula 3. In 1999, he spent one season in the Formula Palmer Audi and then returned to the Formula 3 in 2000. He scored his first F3 victory, finishing sixth in the championship standings. The next step in the single-seater ladder was Euro Formula 3000 in 2001. With two podiums, Dumas finished seventh in the points.
Le Mans debut in 2001 with Freisinger Motorsport
During 2001, Romain was increasing his interest in GT racing, competing in the Japanese GT Championship, European Le Mans Series, FIA GT Championship and for the first time at 24 hours of Le Mans. In his Le Mans debut, Romain's co-drivers in the Freisinger Motorsport's Porsche 911 GT3 RS were Gunnar Jeannette and Philippe Haezebrouck, they finished 7th overall and 2nd in the GT class.
Driving the Freisinger's Porsche, Dumas has won ELMS race at Estoril. In Japan, Dumas competed in the GT500 class, driving the Toyota Supra for Toyota Team SARD and sharing the car with Jeremie Dufour. His best result was fourth place at Mine Circuit.
Runner-up in the Euro Formula 3000
In 2002, Dumas spent one more season in the Euro Formula 3000, driving for John Village Automotive and winning three times in nine races, to finish as a runner-up behind Jaime Melo. Dumas was the winner at Vallelunga, Monza and Spa-Francorchamps.
In GT racing, Dumas' season started at Daytona International Speedway with his debut at Daytona 24-hour race. His partners in the Freisinger's #86 Porsche were Stephane Ortelli, Hans Fertl and Ni Amorim. They finished 10th overall and 3rd in GT class.
Second consecutive GT podium at Le Mans
At 2002 24 hours of Le Mans, Dumas reached second consecutive GT podium, finishing second in the Freisinger Motorsport's Porsche. His co-drivers were Sascha Maassen and Jorg Bergmeister. During the year, Dumas competed also in FIA GT and French GT championships, scoring class wins at 24h of Spa and 3h of Donington.
Third in the German Porsche Carrera Cup
In 2003, Romain's main competition was the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany. Driving for the EMC Carsport Racing, Dumas scored three wins in nine races, to finish third in the points. Porsche 996 GT3 RS was Romain's victorious car in the 24 hours of Spa. His co-drivers in the Freisinger's car were Stephane Ortelli and Marc Lieb. One more victory he scored that year was at Petit Le Mans in October, in the Alex Job Racing's Porsche which he shared with Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister.
First prototype experience with Team Nasamax
At 2003 24 hours of Le Mans, Dumas joined Team Nasamax to compete for the first time in the Prototype class, but #14 Reynard 01Q lasted for just 138 laps. Dumas was sharing the car with Robbie Sterling and Werner Lupberger. Next year at Le Mans, Dumas returned to Freisinger's Porsche and scored his third Le Mans podium with the team, finishing third in GT class. This time, his co-drivers were Stephane Ortelli and Ralf Kelleners.
Dumas became ALMS regular competitor in 2004
Romain's main job during 2004 was in the cockpit of AJR's #24 Porsche 996 GT3 RSR in the American Le Mans Series. He shared the car with Marc Lieb and they won at Portland and Laguna Seca, to finish fourth in the GT class standings. Other notable results were class victories at 1000 km of Monza in the Freisinger's Porsche and at 24 hours of Spa in the Freisinger Yukos Motorsport's Porsche.
Dumas continued to race in the American Le Mans Series in 2005, driving for Alex Job Racing, alongside defending champion Timo Bernhard. In ten races, his #23 Porsche 996 GT3 RSR was victorious four times and Romain finished second in the points.
Two participations with Raymond Narac at Le Mans
At 24 hours of Daytona, which was the part of the Grand American Rolex Series, Dumas was the part of Brumos Racing's crew in the #59 Porsche Fabcar but didn't finish the race. At 24 hours of Le Mans, Dumas joined Raymond Narac's IMSA Performance to drive the #76 Porsche 911 GT3 RS alongside Narac and Sebastien Dumez. They finished 4th in GT class.
In 2006 American Le Mans season, Dumas joined factory-backed Penske Motorsports to drive Porsche RS Spyder in the LMP2 class. He won four of ten races, sharing the car with Lucas Luhr and Timo Bernhard. At the end of the season, Dumas was third in the classification.
At 2006 Le Mans race, Dumas again partnered Raymond Narac to drive for IMSA Performance Matmut, but this time, they didn't reach the finish.
2007 ALMS championship title
In 2007, his fourth season in the American Le Mans Series, Dumas finally took the championship title. He was the most successful driver in the LMP2 class, competing with Penske's Porsche RS Spyder. Romain scored eight wins in 12 races, to dominantly take the title together with teammate Timo Bernhard.
Dumas competed in three 24-hour races in 2007. At Daytona, he was a part of the Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing, together with Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long in the Crawford DP prototype, and they finished 18th. At Le Mans, Dumas competed for the first time in the LMP1 class, in the Pescarolo Sport's #16 prototype, together with Emmanuel Collard and Jean-Christophe Boullion. The trio scored third place overall.
First overal victory at 24 hours of Nürburgring
In May 2007, Dumas gained his first overall victory in the 24-hour race at Nürburgring Nordschleife. His partners in the Manthey Racing's Porsche 996 GT3 MR were Marc Lieb, Timo Bernhard and Marcel Tiemann. In 2008 and 2009, the same crew in the Manthey Racing's Porsche scored two more overall wins at 24 hours of Nürburgring, in the new generation of Porsche 911 GT3.
One more ALMS title
In 2008, Dumas also repeated victorious season in the American Le Mans Series, taking one more LMP2 championship title for Penske and Porsche RS Spyder. He was the winner in four races, including 12 hours of Sebring. His partner in the title winning season was Timo Bernhard.
In the 24-hour races, Dumas scored GT podium (3rd place) with TRG team at Daytona while at Le Mans, he retired in the Pescarolo Sport's LMP1 prototype.
First race with Audi in 2009
During 2009, Dumas was still a part of Porsche's line-up, winning with Manthey Racing at Nürburgring and taking fourth place with Penske Racing in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, but the milestone moment was his first Le Mans participation with Audi Sport Joest team. Dumas was the part of #3 crew in the Audi R15 TDI, together with Timo Bernhard and Alexandre Premat. They finished the race 17th overall.
Maiden overall Le Mans victory with Audi in 2010
For the rest of the 2010 season, Dumas was driving different Porsches for different teams in Europe and the United States. The best result was the overall victory at 24 hours of Spa for BMS Scuderia Italia. Dumas shared the #23 Porsche 997 GT3 RSR with Jorg Bergmeister, Martin Ragginger and Wolf Henzler.
Fourth overall win at Nürburgring
In 2011, Dumas was Audi factory driver in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and American Le Mans Series, but season passed without victories. At 24 hours of Le Mans, Dumas, Bernhard and Rockenfeller retired after 118 laps in the #1 Audi R18 TDI.
The highlight of the season was Romain's fourth overall victory at 24 hours of Nürburgring, again with Manthey Racing's Porsche. His partners in the victorious ride, in which they set a new distance record of 156 laps, were Timo Bernhard, Marc Lieb and Lucas Luhr.
First WEC victory at Spa-Francorchamps
The season 2012 was the first year of the revived FIA World Endurance Championship and Dumas' last season with Audi. He participated in three WEC races, winning at Spa-Francorchamps. At Le Mans, Dumas shared the #3 Audi R18 ultra with Loic Duval and Marc Gene, they finished 5th overall.
During 2012, he had one-off appearances in the American Le Mans Series, Macau GT Cup and 24 hours of Nurburgring, but without notable results.
Class win at Circuit de la Sarthe with Porsche
In 2013, Dumas participated in the World Endurance Championship as a Porsche factory driver in the LM GTE Pro class, driving Porsche 911 RSR in three races, including 24 hours of Le Mans. He shared the #92 car with Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz, they won the race ahead of sister car #91. Dumas was again victorious at Nürburgring, but this time, he scored the SP7 class victory with Manthey's Porsche.
First win with 919 Hybrid at Interlagos
During 2013, Dumas participated in development and testing of new Porsche 919 Hybrid prototype, which entered world championship in 2014. His partners in the #14 car were Marc Lieb and Neel Jani. They were best of all Porsche crews and finished 11th overall. In the championship, the trio scored a victory in the last round at Interlagos, to finish third in the final standings.
Pole position and fifth place at 2015 Le Mans race
The third place in the FIA WEC classification was Romain's result in 2015, again with Lieb and Jani as co-drivers. After five podiums, the only championship victory was scored in the last round at Bahrain. At Le Mans, Jani took the pole position and set the record lap time at Circuit de la Sarthe's current layout, but in the race the missed the podium and finished 5th.
One more time at top podium spot at Le Mans
The 2016 FIA WEC season started with a victory at Silverstone after the #7 Audi crew was excluded due to a technical infringement. At Le Mans, Neel Jani again took the pole, but this time Dumas, Jani and Lieb converted that pole into victory. The Porsche Team crew fought for most of the race against #5 Toyota TS 050 Hybrid, which was hit by catastrophic engine failure on the very last lap, so #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid crossed the finish line as the winning car.
Later in the season the #2 crew missed more podiums and wins, but they were consistent finishers and at the end of the season Dumas, Jani and Lieb became the world champions.
World rally debut in 2012
Besides endurance racing with prototypes and GT cars on the circuits all around the world, Romain Dumas was successful in other racing disciplines. He started rallying in 2008, entering the French Rally Cup with Porsche 996 GT3. In the following years, he participated exclusively in the national events, until 2012, when he debuted in the WRC event.
He entered 2012 Rallye de France – Alsace with Mini Cooper WRC and finished 16th overall. In 2013, he returned to Alsace with Ford Fiesta RS WRC and finished 10th overall, taking one championship point. At 2014 Rallye de France, his car was RGT class Porsche 997 GT3. Dumas finished 19th overall.
Second place in the 2015 RGT rally cup
For 2015 season, the new RGT Cup was organized and Dumas participated in four events. Three rallies were the part of the World championship (Monte-Carlo, Germany and Corsica) while the fourth event was the European Championship Ypres Rally.
Dumas managed to finish two events, taking class win in Germany, and he was classified 2nd in the RGT Cup at the end of the season. His co-driver was Denis Giraudet.
Dumas reached Top 10 in his third Dakar attempt
In 2015, Romain's new adventure was Dakar Rally. He joined MD Rallye Sport to drive the #330 Optimus buggy, alongside co-driver Francois Borsotto. They were forced to retired after 10 stages due to gearbox failure.
In January 2016, Dumas traveled again to South America, this time with his own RD Rallye Team, to drive #328 Peugeot 2008 DKR15+. His partner was again Francois Borsotto. After two weeks, they reached the finish line in the 20th place.
At 2017 Dakar Rally, Dumas and his new navigator Alain Guehennec competed with new Peugeot 3008 DKR, reaching 8th place at the end.
Dumas was the third French winner at Pike Peak
RD Rallye Team scored its biggest success so far at 2014 Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, known as the Race to the Clouds, where he was regular competitor since 2012. On June 29, 2014, Dumas became the third French driver to win the famous hillclimb, after Michele Mouton and Sebastien Loeb. He was driving the Norma M20 RD Limited prototype and set the time 9.05.801, to win ahead of two factory-entered electric Mitsubishis.
In 2016, Roman returned to the Colorado' mountain. This time, he was even faster with the same time, climbing to the summit of the Pikes Peak for 8 minutes 51.445 seconds. He took his second Pikes Peak victory on June 26, 2016, just a week after his second overall Le Mans victory.