It was announced today (25 November 2016) by Porsche Motorsport, that Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb will be leaving the Porsche LMP1-Team. This development follows intense speculation in the press over the past few weeks surrounding the availability of seats in the Porsche team in the wake of Audi’s decision to leave the WEC series. With Mark Webber’s retirement, the sudden appearance of six Audi drivers on the scene, plus rumours surrounding the possible return of Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber, the paddock has been abuzz with whispers and rumours.
The press release today only mentioned that Dumas and Lieb would ‘drive forward on a new road.’ Seeking additional clarity, Porsche Road & Race pressed Porsche Motorsport on the matter and we can report that Marc Lieb will take up a job ‘outside the cockpit within Porsche Motorsport’ and that Romain Dumas ‘will continue racing.’ But for both drivers, this will be outside the LMP1 team.
Both Dumas and Lieb have long careers as works drivers. This year, their achievements were crowned by taking the overall win at the Le Mans 24-hour race together and by winning the drivers’ title in the FIA World Endurance Championship last weekend in Bahrain. Long-distance/endurance racing is in their blood, and Dumas has a tally of eight overall victories in international 24-hour races with Porsche, while Lieb has six such successes to his credit. This expertise will be kept within the company as both drivers remain under contract to Porsche.
Michael Steiner, board member for research and development at Porsche AG, said, “Marc and Romain have each made an awesome contribution to our company. This goes for their work behind the steering wheel as well as for their support at other international appearances. They clearly stand for sportsmanship and our brand’s values.”
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1, added, “The LMP1 programme has benefitted immensely from Marc’s and Romain’s experience, especially during the team’s build-up phase and in Le Mans. Together we went through some highs and lows in recent years. I am very pleased that both racers can conclude this part of their Porsche career as Le Mans winners and world champions. I thank Marc and Romain from the depth of my heart for their high-performance driving, their strong commitment and their loyalty.”
Marc Lieb, “I’m thankful for all the chances and possibilities I got at Porsche over so many years, and I’m especially grateful to my family for supporting me over two decades in racing. This was tough at times, and I want to pay back some of it now. To perform the move into international customer racing at Porsche as a Le Mans winner and a world champion, means an incredible amount to me.”
Romain Dumas has been a Porsche works driver since 2003. Over and above his term behind the wheel of the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid, Dumas also runs his own team entering, and winning, with Porsche cars in rallying and the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. “I think of many great years with great racing cars. We made history quite a few times, in Spa and at the Nordschleife with the 911 GT3, and in Sebring with the RS Spyder. The last three years with the new Porsche team in the LMP1 category were at the highest professional level. It has been an incredibly competitive and very technically challenging era. Winning the Le Mans 24 Hours with Porsche was a dream come true and I am proud of what we achieved together over many years. I am a man of challenges, and there will be a new one soon,” the Frenchman declared.
Porsche Motorsport will release further details shortly of who will be driving and in which cars during the 2017 WEC season, and Porsche Road & Race will bring you further details as soon as they become available.
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale