Romain Dumas: “Motorsport and Production Benefit From Each Other”

  • Dumas will be back in the fully-electric ID.R at Goodwood SpeedWeek
  • The Frenchman was wowed by the ID.3 during a test drive in the electric road car
  • Electromobility in motorsport is one of the core topics for the 42-year-old

Romain Dumas is an all-rounder in motorsport. Endurance, rallying, off-road and, last but not least, his participation in the Volkswagen ID.R project and the record-breaking drives with the fully-electric race car – the Frenchman is living the motorsport dream. Right now his preparations for Goodwood SpeedWeek (16.–18.10.2020) are in full swing. Before he faces the next challenge together with Volkswagen Motorsport, the 42-year-old shares his thoughts about the ID.R and the ID. family, electromobility, and gives an insight into his expectations for SpeedWeek. Romain Dumas on …

… the connection between the ID.R and the ID. family
First of all, I think it’s key to link motorsport and production. There has always been a close cooperation at Volkswagen and both parties can benefit from the knowledge transfer. Volkswagen has proven this to be true with the ID.31 and the ID.42, because there are many aspects shared by the ID.R, for example the design. Also, findings in terms of aerodynamics and battery management have found their way from motorsport to production cars and vice versa. For Volkswagen Motorsport, it was important to show that an electric car can be emotional and fast. Thanks to the ID.R, this can be checked off as accomplished. There is still room for improvement in terms of recharging, and particularly range, but this is an ongoing process. To prepare for the future, it’s important to continue high-level motorsport with electric cars.

… electromobility
I think our victory at the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with this fantastic all-time record was a big achievement for electric cars and electromobility. With the battery system on the ID.R, the two-engine concept and all-wheel drive, we at least match or are even faster than lots of cars with combustion engines. If you look back at our development in recent years, I’m sure everybody will agree that we have taken massive steps forward. However, with our focus on electromobility, there is definitely still a lot to come. We’re still in the early stages of a new technology, but we’re already so much more advanced than a lot of cars with combustion engines.

… his experiences with the ID.3
I first sat in the ID.3 at the 2019 IAA. A few months later, I was able to drive it. To be honest, the feeling I had was a little bit like the one I have in the ID.R. The acceleration in an electric car like the ID.3 is impressive. People now realise that, without any noise or gears, you get very little feedback on your performance. This is the same in the ID.R. The performance of the ID.3 is definitely amazing, but one other aspect that impressed me a lot is the space in the interior of this relatively small car. How big must the ID.4 be? I’m super excited to check this out soon.

… his return to the ID.R
After the record drive on Tianmen Mountain in China back in September 2019, it took nearly a year to get back in the ID.R, because of COVID-19. I’m really, really excited to be back in this absolutely amazing car. I have been doing many tests and record drives since the project with the ID.R started, but I’m still always wowed by how fast this car is when I’m driving. The acceleration is very impressive and there is a lot of downforce in the fast corners. It’s one of the nicest sports cars I have ever driven, in terms of performance, but also the look. The front is absolutely stunning.

… iconic Goodwood
It’s one of the greatest motorsport venues. You have everything there. The Goodwood Festival of Speed and also the Goodwood Revival are great fun. I attended the Revival for the first time in 2013 and I have always driven really nice vintage cars. My debut was an incredible experience. It was raining heavily and I was surprised and a little bit shocked by how hard the English drivers were pushing in vintage cars that cost millions of euros. They were racing like this was Formula 1 and I realised from the very beginning how important Goodwood is, especially for the English drivers.

… Goodwood SpeedWeek
It’s great that the organisers have put this event in place. It will definitely be very well organised. The Duke of Richmond is very keen to host really enjoyable events. The Goodwood Motor Circuit is an old-school track, but really fast. With the layout you can feel that there is a lot of history. Driving the ID.R on this track will be a lot of fun, because the track is fast and flowing and the rear wing of the car is very big, so we will have heaps of downforce. There are many corners that can be taken flat-out, or at least nearly flat-out.

… the challenges of Goodwood Motor Circuit
The hardest corner for the ID.R will be the famous chicane, because it’s so narrow. However, the power on the exit will be impressive, so I’m sure everything will be ok. The rest of the track should suit the car very well, with these fast corners. Last but not least, it will be very exciting to show the ID.R in England again, even though we will miss the crowds. The British community has been quite sceptical about electric cars, but last year they were quite shocked by the times the ID.R set on the Hill Climb. It will be interesting to hear about their reactions after the outings at Goodwood Motor Circuit.

… the year 2020 so far
It has been a very complicated year. Because of COVID-19 a lot of races and events had to be cancelled or postponed and this also prevented us doing much with the ID.R. It is a shame and a bit frustrating, not only for me as a race driver, but also for the entire team at Volkswagen Motorsport, who work so hard and so passionately. However, we can finally go to Goodwood together, where we will get some fresh air and hopefully deliver a great show for everybody watching it live at home.

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