Romain Dumas and the Norma M20 RD Limited, a bold challenge!
As in 2014, Romain Dumas turns his attention to the legendary Pikes Peak with his team. And as in 2014, the native of Alès, France, will climb the famous mountain in the Norma M20 RD Limited. But for the 100th anniversary of the American event, the open-cockpit prototype has evolved quite a bit. Lighter, more powerful and now equipped with a four-wheel system, the 2016 spec is an all-new car. It is the fruit of a very close collaboration between Romain Dumas’ team and Norbert Santos.
Norbert Santos (Norma) : « Looks can be deceiving. Almost everything is new! »
Winner in 2014 but absent last year, Romain Dumas is preparing for a return to Pikes Peak, and Norbert Santos’ Norma was the top choice again. For several months now, the project has undergone meticulous revisions with one goal : win the race to the clouds for a second time. Consequently, the Norma M20 RD Limited Spec-2016 is completely different from the Spec-2014. Transformed, the French prototype was designed to take on an extreme and bold challenge.
« At first glance, the car looks similar to the 2014 version, but looks can be deceiving. Almost everything is new ! » underlines Norbert Santos, founder of Norma. « The big change is the new four-wheel drive. It’s a first for a Norma prototype. The chassis was therefore modified, as was the gearbox. The engine, provided by HPD, is identical, but the turbo has evolved. The exhausts are different, as well as the brakes, and there is now an electronically controlled power steering system developped in-house. The four wheels are now 13 inches. Mechanically, everything has evolved while aerodynamically, everything was reworked. The front and rear covers are all-new. Only the rear wing remains unchanged. And of course we fine-tuned the weight distribution. It’s a great sporting challenge but also a human one. We have a close relationship with Romain and the fact the we’re coming back for the 100 years of Pikes Peak with a new approach adds to the motivation. Some people are talking about the record being broken, and like everyone, we’ll be trying to get close to it, but the primary objective is to win ! The conditions of this event are so specific that we are focused specifically on this mission. »
Romain Dumas : « Our goal is a 1:1 power to weight ratio»
The study and design of the Norma M20 RD Limited Spec-2016 was done in collaboration between Norma and RD Limited, with support from Emap for engine and electronics management, and PKM Consulting for the shocks. Testing was done both at Pau-Arnos Circuit and the Pôle Mécanique d’Alès – both used in 2014 – as well as an aero test session on an airfield. Following these tests, the car was sent to the United States on Monday by air.
« Our goal is a 1:1 power to weight ratio and the new car was built in record time to attain this objective. I’d like to thank Norma and the members of my team for all of the work done. The commitment from each and every one of then is impressive and I’m very proud » admits Romain Dumas. « You always want more time and more testing under your belt, but we’ve already gotten a glimpse of the car’s potential. We now have four-wheel drive, and despite that, we managed to reduce the car’s weight to 610kg including the seat and increased power. The performance level is good. In terms of driving, it’s brutal and extreme, but it fits right in with the Unlimited class it will be running in. Pikes Peak has all the hallmarks of a legendary event : we dream of winning, but it’s sometimes difficult and you have to put in 110% to get to the summit. There is only one thing driving me : another victory. There will be tough competition, including the defending winner. Come race day, everything will have to be perfect. »
In addition to the Norma M20 RD Limited Spec-2016 entered for Romain Dumas for the 94th edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the team will run a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for Raphaël Astier in the Time Attack 1 category.