Life on the road with Ro­main Du­mas

Esquire Middle East - - IN THIS ISSUE THE EDIT -

Why the new As­ton Martin is a re­mark­able beast

AS A TWO-TIME 24hr of Le Mans win­ner, veteran driver Ro­main Du­mas knows a fair few things about mo­tor rac­ing, as we found out at the fin­ish of the Chopard Clas­sic Rally Dubai.

ESQ: You spe­cialise in en­durance rac­ing. How do you pre­pare for those types of gru­elling races? RD: En­durance races take a lot out of you so you need to be con­stantly

pre­pared, both men­tally and phys­i­cally. When the sea­son starts you can’t im­prove your con­di­tion, but only main­tain it so be­ing pre­pared is the key. You need to re­main con­stantly fit. Mo­tor­sport is not only about driv­ing any­more, it in­volves sim­u­la­tors, fac­tory test­ing, in­ter­act­ing with en­gi­neers, so the life­style doesn’t al­low you to spend a huge amount of time with your fam­ily. This year I’ve only been home for about 100 days in to­tal.

ESQ: So what is your sup­port mech­a­nism?

RD: Well this is where the dif­fer­ence be­tween the new and old gen­er­a­tion comes in. When I was test­ing for Re­nault in F1 you didn’t have many peo­ple, you had a per­sonal trainer that was about it. It’s not like a ten­nis play­ers who has train­ers, phys­ios, a per­sonal as­sis­tant and even a men­tal coach. It may be a good thing to have sup­port but, per­son­ally, I think that more peo­ple makes it more com­pli­cated. I keep my own records,

I can tell you my ex­act

weight month-by-month since I was 15 years old! ESQ: Is there a big gen­er­a­tional gap?

RD: Some­times I read young driv­ers say­ing “my men­tal coach put me on the right track” and I think: how can a men­tal coach un­der­stand rac­ing? There are so many fac­tors in rac­ing: the per­fect car, per­fect en­gi­neers, the per­fect crew. In rac­ing the driver is only 25 per­cent, and the peo­ple around are the rest. I don’t re­ally know what a men­tal coach can do in mo­tor rac­ing.

ESQ: You said that the driver is 25 per­cent, so who dic­tates what hap­pens to the car and the race? RD: As a driver you tell them what you need and how you want it to hap­pened, but you don’t cross the fine line be­tween telling them what their job is. They are the en­gi­neers not you. Man­ag­ing re­la­tion­ships within the team is es­sen­tial for a suc­cess­ful driver.

Take Lewis Hamil­ton and his for­mer F1 team mate [Fer­nando] Alonso, he de­stroyed him be­cause Hamil­ton’s at­ti­tude was bet­ter. He man­aged re­la­tion­ships bet­ter and the team ral­lied around

him. Same with [Michael] Schumacher and [Rubens] Bar­richello.

ESQ: What goes on in your head as you get into the car?

RD: At the Le Mans race you have 150 peo­ple in the crew that need to com­mu­ni­cate with you through­out the week. You lit­er­ally speak to each one and it’s men­tally drain­ing. But on Satur­day at 3pm when you are fi­nally in the car that’s when you can fi­nally do your job. ESQ: Is there one race that sticks with you?

RD: I don’t have a best or worst race. I fo­cus solely on the cur­rent race, and when it is over I move on to the next. When

I did the Dakar Rally, I fin­ished eighth with my own team. For the world it was noth­ing spe­cial, but for me it was the world — I had done Dakar.

ESQ: What did you think of the Chopard Clas­sic Rally Dubai?

RD: Most Euro­peans see Dubai as a grand hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion but of­ten don’t know what is out­side the city. That’s what I love about the Chopard Clas­sic Rally, be­cause you ex­pe­ri­ence the coun­try’s fan­tas­tic land­scape.

ESQ: Away from rac­ing, what car do you drive?

RD: My daily drive is a Porsche Cayenne, but I also have a VW Touareg be­cause I need the lug­gage space. I have a few Porsche in my garage in­clud­ing a GT3 RS, 997 and 996, but my dream car is the Car­rera GT. For me it’s the last pure GT car or, maybe, the first crazy su­per car.

Ro­main Du­mas is a Chopard global brand am­bas­sador and com­peted in the Chopard Clas­sic Rally Dubai 2018

Du­mas driv­ing his Porsche at the Chopard Clas­sic Rally Dubai

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