Porsche Factory Racer Romain Dumas Wins Pikes Peak Hillclimb Again
Even with engine issues, Romain's driving and perseverance gave him a comfortable victory for the third time in four years
In 2016, Romain Dumas did the unthinkable by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall for Porsche and one week later winning the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb in his lightweight Norma-Honda. This year, sadly, Porsche demoted Romain from the 919 Hybrid team for the 2017 season, though he did still compete at Le Mans for the Signatech Alpine LMP2 prototype team (teamed with Matt Rao and Gustavo Menezes they finished 10th overall, 8th in LMP2 class). While Romain did not repeat the Le Mans victory with Porsche in 2017, he did manage to handily take on all comers at Pikes Peak to win his third PPIHC title.
Even though Dumas won the race this year, he was still a bit disappointed. Through a few years of development, his little sports racer chassis has been continually improved and this year he expected to make a big jump forward. He says in the video "we were expecting to be close to the record". That record, 8 minutes 13.8 seconds, belongs to Peugeot and Sebastien Loeb, who set that time back in 2013 with a mega expensive factory budget effort. Romain's time of 9 minutes 05 seconds is nowhere near that record, but as you can see from the video, the little Honda engine is acting up for essentially the entire run. It is easily believable that this issue cost him at least 30 seconds on the hill.
Dumas' team is apparently 100% volunteers. How incredible would it be if his little sports prototype were to take the record at Pikes Peak, beating a multi-million dollar Groupe PSA effort? You can bet that he'll be back in 2018, probably shortly after having just run at the Le Mans 24 as well. Romain is an amazing driver, and he doesn't know the meaning of the word 'quit'.