Porsche have decided to reshuffle their driver line-up in the 919 Hybrid of FIA World Endurance Championship champions Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas in the face of new drivers coming for the 2017 season.
Lieb and Dumas, who partnered with Neel Jani in the #2 this season, will be taking on other projects for the Stuttgart manufacturer with Lieb specifically moving to Porsche’s customer racing programmes across the world. Dumas’ 2017 plans are yet to be confirmed but it is expected he’ll remain as a factory contracted driver.
Michael Steiner, board member for research and development at Porsche AG, appreciates their dedication to the manufacturer: “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.”
The shuffling comes as Porsche made quick moves to sign Audi’s Le Mans winning driver Andre Lotterer after the four-rings announced the ceasing of their LMP1 programme. It is expected Lotterer will fill one of the seats, but with Mark Webber also retiring it means there are three vacancies across both the cars for the 2017 FIA WEC season. Autosport.com have reported that Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber are in line for the remaining seats, suggesting they could swap their GT commitments with Lieb and Dumas.
For Lieb, who has been a factory driver since the age of 20, he is thankful for the support he’s had from the German manufacturer: “I always imagined that the LMP1 programme would be my last seat as a works driver and I managed to set the course early for my future career outside the cockpit at Porsche. I’m thankful for all the chances and possibilities I got at Porsche for 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.”
In Dumas’ 13 year Porsche career, he’s not just had success in the 919 as he’s also raced in the American Le Mans Series in the RS Spyder as well as taking on rallies and Pikes Peak in various Porsche 911 RSRs. He said: “We made history quite a few times, in Spa and at the Nordschleife with the 911 GT3, and obviously 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 Le Mans 24 Hours with Porsche was a dream come true and I am proud of what we achieved all together since many years. I am an man of challenges and there will be a new one soon.”