Champion returns with Dumas to contest Pikes Peak

The Le Mans 24 Hours-winning Champion team will return to motorsport after an absence of 12 seasons at this year's Pikes Peak hillclimb with course record holder Romain Dumas.

Champion returns with Dumas to contest Pikes Peak
Listen to this article

Champion Racing, which won Le Mans in 2005 with an Audi R8 LMP prototype, will field a Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport for Frenchman Dumas in the 12.42-mile hillclimb in Colorado on 27 June.

It will be the first time that Champion has had an involvement in motorsport since the end of the factory Audi American Le Mans Series programme at the climax of the 2008 season and the first without company founder Dave Maraj, who died in 2018, at the helm.

The car will be run in the Time Attack 1 production class by Champion Motorsport, the tuning and wheel-manufacturing sister company of the Florida Porsche dealership that spawned the race team in the 1990s.

"When we lost Dave, his sons Mitra and Naveen took over the business and it was only a matter of time before they wanted to get back into motorsport again," Champion Porsche general manager Mike Peters told Motorsport.com. 

"Pikes Peak is something we haven't done before: it's a single event and something where Mitra [who is president of the dealership] can get his feet wet without jumping into a full season.

"It is an opportunity to Champion to jump back in and for Mitra to get a read on where he wants to go in the future.

"But at this point he and Naveen [who is the boss of Champion Motorsport] are concentrating on it as a single event and putting their best foot forward."

Peters explained that Porsche factory driver and two-time Le Mans winner Dumas will bring a lot to Champion's Pikes Peak assault.

He won the event with a self-entered Norma prototype in 2014, 2016 and 2017 before making it three in a row in 2018 when he broke the hill record in Volkswagen's I.D. R electric coupe.

"Other drivers were considered, but when we realised Romain was available and then had some discussions with him, we decided he was the best option for us," said Peters.

"He brings more to the table than just driving the car to the top of the mountain."

Pikes Peak teaser

Pikes Peak teaser

Photo by: Pikes Peak

Peters also revealed that Champion had evaluated modifying its Porsche to run in the unlimited class.

"We've jockeyed back and forth on running more aggressive aerodynamics and making some other changes," he said.

"But we only started looking at this in October, November time, so with the time we had, that would have been a more difficult class for us to go into."

Champion Porsche took its first steps in motorsport in 1993 when aspiring racing driver Peters joined its sales staff, with the team contesting the Sebring 12 Hours with a Porsche 911 Carrera 2 in only its second event.

It raced a variety of Porsches through the 1990s, culminating in a 911 GT1 Evo in 1998 with which it finished third in that year's inaugural Petit Le Mans enduro at Road Atlanta.

It briefly competed with a Porsche-engined Lola B2K/10 before getting its hands on one of the first customer Audi R8s in 2001.

It won back-to-back ALMS titles in 2004 and 2005 with the R8 before it became Audi's factory representative in North America in 2006, taking three more titles with the Audi R10 TDI.

shares
comments

Related video

Era Motorsport commits to full IMSA season in LMP2
Previous article

Era Motorsport commits to full IMSA season in LMP2

Next article

Mazda to end IMSA Prototype program in October

Mazda to end IMSA Prototype program in October
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Prime

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, are arguably the greatest sportscars of all time.

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Prime

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push Prime

The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push

Have you heard the one about two British guys driving for a Japanese manufacturer in America’s top sportscar series? Time to sit down and talk with Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat about racing across the pond… and your accent being mistaken for Australian!

IMSA
Mar 16, 2022
Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022 Prime

Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of its new 9X8 Hypercar, Peugeot revealed that it would not be entering this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its incoming machinery. Although development restrictions for homologated cars are partially responsible, the French marque can draw on its own lessons from its history in sportscars

WEC
Feb 28, 2022
Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC Prime

Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC

OPINION: The adoption by IMSA of the GTP name for its forthcoming LMDh versus Le Mans Hypercar era in 2023 appeals to fans of nostalgia - but it undermines the commonality achieved by bringing its rulebook into line with the WEC. GTP or Hypercar, both sides should settle on a single name

WEC
Feb 15, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Prime

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic Prime

How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic

Helio Castroneves continued his fine start to life with Meyer Shank Racing that netted the 2021 Indianapolis 500 victory by prevailing in last weekend's Daytona 24 Hours together with teammates Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Simon Pagenaud. As Cadillac fell by the wayside, the Brazilian veteran won out in an all-Acura duel to the finish

IMSA
Feb 1, 2022
How Derani's long road to title success exorcised painful memories Prime

How Derani's long road to title success exorcised painful memories

It took Pipo Derani no time at all to establish himself as a winner in IMSA, winning the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours on his first two starts in 2016. But it took until the final corner of the 2021 season before he could become its champion, the culmination of a journey that he believes has made him a better driver.

IMSA
Jan 16, 2022