DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 30, 2002) -- After kicking off the 2002 Grand-Am Cup season with a second-place finish in the Sport Touring I class at the Daytona opener, Jean-Francois Dumoulin has continued to put forth consistent performances with...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 30, 2002) -- After kicking off the 2002 Grand-Am Cup season with a second-place finish in the Sport Touring I class at the Daytona opener, Jean-Francois Dumoulin has continued to put forth consistent performances with podium finishes. Since teaming up with Chuck Goldsborough in the #0 Lexus IS300 a few races into the season, the pair has gone on to earn two second-place ST I finishes at Virginia International Raceway and Mosport International Raceway.
Early in his racing career Jean-Francois was given the nickname "The Kid", but now he has proven himself as a top competitor in the Grand-Am Cup Series. Jean-Francois will head into the Grand American Finale next week looking to claim the ST I driver championship. He enters the weekend with a five-point lead over Beau Buisson, and an 18-point lead over co-driver Chuck Goldsborough in the ST I driver standings.
Series - Grand-Am Cup Series
Class - Sport Touring I (ST I)
Team -- Team Lexus
Car - #0 Lexus IS300
Date of Birth -- May 5, 1976
Nickname -- J.F. and The Kid
Occupation - Driving instructor
* Currently leading the Sport Touring I driver standings
* Has three 2nd-place class finishes in the 2002 season
* Won the Grand-Am Cup GS II class at 2001 Watkins Glen race
IN HIS OWN WORDS...
When did you begin racing?
My dad was a little bit into racing and preparing the cars. When I was 16 I went to Jim Russell Racing School and started as a mechanic. I had to work in the shop to pay for racing school. My first race was in 1993, and in 1994 I started racing in the school championship.
Which track is your favorite and why?
I like the new Mont-Tremblant. It used to be my third favorite track, but now that they have redone it, Mont-Tremblant is a really good track. I like the track a lot and it is close to where I live. I really have a couple of favorite tracks like Mont-Tremblant and Mosport.
Which track do you find most challenging? What makes it challenging?
Corners one and two at Mont-Tremblant are really challenging because of the elevation change and the fast corner.
What is the most enjoyable part of racing?
Winning. Just to be driving the car and to be able to go to the limit of the car and stay within your limits so you don't crash and yet stay consistent over that hour and a half. That's what I like about endurance racing.
As a competitor in the Grand-Am Cup Series as well as the Rolex Sports Car Series, is it difficult to go from one car to the other?
Actually there is some difference. It takes you a few laps and you are back in it, even if it is a faster car. It's a little different driving from one car to another, and it is difficult for a few laps. But when you know the car it works out and it's fun to do.
Do you find being a young driver an advantage or a disadvantage?
In endurance racing it could be a disadvantage because people don't know the experience you have and they don't trust you as much. I don't think I'm that young anymore. I'm just in a good age right now where people can trust me. Overall it is an advantage.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life and racing career?
When I was young it was Gilles Villeneuve because it was somebody from our area in Formula 1.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Richard Spenard, when he was my driver coach, told me after I had a crash in qualifying that I was trying to drive a car I had over the limit. He told me that the best drivers, the ones who win the championships, are like David Empringham, for example, who went without putting a wheel off track all season. After learning that, I've tried to be as consistent as I could. Being safe and trying to get fast by learning about the car and improving as a driver is what I learned.
Is it difficult to race mainly in the United States while living in Canada?
It is pretty good really. Getting people to know you is hard because people in Canada talk a lot more about what I do than the people in the United States do and that makes it hard. With flying and driving to races it is not really bad.
What kind of hobbies do you have outside of racing?
Right now I do karting for fun with friends, and I do a little bit of motor biking. In the winter I ski a little bit.
What is your most memorable moment of the 2002 season?
We've had a lot of little moments all year. The race at Mont-Tremblant and the first race of the year at Daytona were two. We finished second, which got us off to a good start. However, at VIR when I had a good race with Bob Endicott and about four other cars for first place would probably be my best moment of the year.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of racing?
Qualifying is a really big challenge. To get that really good lap and to get the pole is a really big challenge.
If you had to pick another profession, what would it be?
I wanted to be in racing, so for me to be a race car driver and an instructor it's the best thing.
Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
Thank you. I'm really happy to be first in the ST I driver championship heading into the Finale. Team Lexus has done a great job and they have given me a good car all year.