Two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Romain Dumas has joined the drivers’ roster for the Glickenhaus hypercar effort for the 2021 World Endurance Championship campaign. Dumas, who also finished the Dakar rally not too long ago, brings spades of experience to the team. That experience was immediately put to good use as he was the first driver behind the wheel of the Glickenhaus LMH007. We were waiting in the pitlane for his first thoughts.
Romain, to start off, what exactly is a hypercar?
The new “Hypercar” category is the top class for the World Endurance Championship as well as for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s a new form of sports prototype. It’s a big switch in terms of regulations especially in terms of weight. The car will have to weigh a minimum of 1030kg but still has to be able to do a lap of 3’30” around Le Mans. This means that there’s still a lot of technology involved.
What’s the difference between an LMP1 and a hypercar and what’s the biggest challenge of switching from one to the other?
The hypercar is basically a big GT. The added weight asks a lot of evolution and adaptation from everyone and everything compared to an LMP1. I’ve personally never driven a prototype that weighs more than 1000kgs. In terms of technology, this also means we have to rethink the brakes. Michelin has also developed a new specific tyre for this category. Besides that, the cars have to rely more on the mechanical grip as we no longer have as much downforce compared to an LMP1.
You were the first driver in the car last week, how do you feel about it after 1.5 days of testing?
This is the first test so it’s hard to really know much about the car. However, I’m very surprised about its reliability. Usually, in a first test or roll out of the cars, you would be happy if you can manage four or five laps in a day. This time it has been putting in the laps consistently during two full days.
What’s the goal of this first test?
To be honest the biggest goal for this test was to make sure that the car would be able to complete a lap. At this moment Franck (Maillieux) is already doing tyre testing, which is incredible given the car had never completed a lap before yesterday.
Glickenhaus is a very unique company. What does it mean to have the SCG crest on your car?
Jim Glickenhaus is a man who really reminds me of Henri Pescarolo. He's got the same immense passion and commitment to the sport. A level that you just don’t experience with a big corporate OEM. It’s incredible to see that he’s checking up on the testing progress all morning here in Vallelunga while it’s the middle of the night in New York.