Porsche confirmed on Wednesday the first two drivers who will drive the new Weissach-developed LM P1 in 2014 : Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas.
Official Porsche driver since 2004, the Alès native will defend the German marque’s colours in the top class next year both in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Here is what Romain had to say regarding the announcement.
"I think that people know how much Porsche means to me and this is an occasion to remind them again. After winning at Le Mans in 2010 with Audi, people have often asked me what I want I hope for now, and I’ve often responded that I want to win that race with Porsche.
Today, I have the opportunity to chase that dream and I’m thrilled. I couldn’t wish for better than to race in LM P1, the top class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Porsche, the marque of my heart.
"More than thirty years ago, my father was taking part in rallies with a Porsche. Now I’m proud to say that I’ve been part of the Porsche family for ten seasons.
In reality, our work together started earlier than that, when I competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Porsche in 2001, then a fabulous victory at the 24 Hours of Spa in 2003 with Freisinger Motorsport against all those GT1s.
I won’t retell the whole history, but so many good memories have come from my association with them : the ALMS with the Penske Racing RS Spyder, the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring with Team Manthey, Spa again with the GT3 RSR, Mosport with Muscle Milk and so many others.
"And there is my childhood dream. Create my own team with my friends and take podiums and victories at rallies with this special Porsche 911 GT3 RS prepared in my hometown of Alès.
Last year, there was Pikes Peak, such a unique event, again with Porsche and my friends and family. Such special memories that there will be others, I’m sure of it. But most importantly, there is 2014, a moment I’m looking forward to with much excitement.
" With Porsche, we’ve already had such great experiences together. We are embarking on a new chapter which I hope will be just as glorious. It’s probably one of the most exciting challenges of my career.
Firstly, from a sporting point of view, against Audi Sport and Toyota Racing and the competition level being ever higher. And secondly, from the technological view, endurance racing is entering a new era in 2014.
And finally, on a personal level. To race at Le Mans with Porsche, is both an honor and a responsibility. It’s the responsibility to be on par with the marque, and all the drivers who have preceded me.
"I think it’s been at least 10 years since people have been talking about Porsche’s return to LM P1. Journalists have spilt so much ink on the subject for so many years. This time, it’s for real and I can’t help but think about the Porsche GT1 in 1998, the last Porsche to win at La Sarthe.
It’s up to us now. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m happy, today, to be chosen to take on this challenge. And I’m even more thrilled that it’s with Timo Bernhard, with whom I get along so well..
"Porsche is again showing confidence in us for an important and exciting program. And the fact that they’ve chosen the two of us, with whom they have been partners with for over 10 years, shows the will that links us together now that the project is here. It’s an understatement to say that I’m super motivated. Now it’s time to work to get ready for 2014 ! "
In 2014, Romain Dumas will be in his 11th season as an official Porsche driver. With the marque, he has won two titles in American Le Mans Series, the 12 Hours of Sebring, twice the 24 Hours of Spa and four times the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring.