Life on the road with Romain Dumas
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