EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a continuing series of off-season profiles on NASCAR Pinty’s Series drivers as a lead-up to the 2018 opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday, May. 20.
Alex Gallacher: What sparked your interest in racing in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series?
Louis-Phillippe Dumoulin: Well, that started in 2008 or 2009. We’re from a formula car background, I’ve done a lot of Formula 4, Formula Renault, Formula Atlantic and then it was really hard to find sponsorship to race in that series so we switched towards the sports car series like the Grand-Am. At that point it was going really well and in those days the NASCAR Pinty’s Series was just coming up, there was a lot of good drivers and teams involved in it so that’s where the sponsors were more interested in going. So that’s we went towards the series at that point. Another big thing is the support from NASCAR for the sponsorship, the visual, the TV package, for everything marketing wise that is behind NASCAR. That’s the main reason why we switched towards it and we very proud of it because we found a lot of competition and a lot of great drivers and teams.
AG: You currently race with the No.47, what is the significance of that number?
LPD: My car owner is Marc- Andre Bergeron, he’s a former NHL player and played in the NHL for about 10 years. His number was 47, so when we started that whole deal together in 2009, he is a partner in our business as well, so I decided to go with the 47.
AG: How did Bergeron get involved with your race team?
LPD: Well, we had the same agent Paul Corbet. Paul has been working with athletes, mainly with hockey players. J.F [Dumoulin] and I were the only two race car drivers involved with his business so we met through Paul a long time ago in 2000 or 2001. Marc-Andre always loved cars and he’s also from Trois-Rivieres so we became really good friends and as he kept going in the NHL, I kept going racing and when we had the idea to build that team up, Bergeron got involved with us and everything went on from there.
AG: You grew up in Trois-Rivieres, what was it like growing up in a place with such a rich racing history?
LPD: Wow, I mean it’s been a big help for us. Honestly, a lot of people from here were helping us and thinking about our careers in Formula 1600. We had no money, my dad was a gym teacher and also a mechanic so we worked together, my brother, my dad and I to work our way up in racing by doing some fund raising. So people were helping us to raise money in order to go to the Formula Championship and the Canadian Formula 4 Championship. Having the race in Three Rivers every year was helping a lot, it raised a lot of money just in Three Rivers and after that event we were capable of doing more races. It really helped us and it was a really good ramp for us to be from Trois-Rivieres.
AG: Who was your biggest influence growing up?
LPD: Of course it was guys like Gilles Villeneuve and Ayrton Senna and other Formula One legends but I’ve always been in sports and I’ve always done different sports, so there are guys like Maurice Richard and guys from the hockey side as well, and their attitude and the way they were working hard and the way that they were never giving up on nothing. I think to me racing is a sport so the influence was from heroes that meant a lot to me. Not just because they were race car drivers, but because they were athletes who were dedicated to their sports and to what they were doing.
AG: What is your favorite NASCAR Pinty’s Series track to race at and why?
LPD: Well my home track in Three Rivers (Grand Prix Trois-Rivieres) is always fun, you have all your friends, fans and sponsors and it makes it really special to race in your hometown. That would be my favorite race weekend but my favorite track that I really enjoy a lot would be Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) as well. It’s one of those tracks that is fast and I did well there before. I won a couple times and it suits my driving style. I really like when there is a lot of flow and a lot of speed. Mosport would be the one that I like to driver for sure.
AG: You’ve done a lot of charity work with the Quebec Cancer Society, how did you get involved with them?
LPD: Well as a lot of people we have unfortunately been touched by cancer in our family and friends. We always wanted to help and do something to support all those people who have been touched by cancer so we had a guy named Andre Beauchesne who was already involved with the Quebec Cancer Foundation, he works for RDS so we’ve started talking with saying that we want to help and do something and the idea of signing the car and doing some event through the season came out and it was just natural for us to be involved in it and try to give back.
AG: In 2014, you won the NASCAR Pinty’s Series Championship, how much did that win mean to you and your family?
LPD: It meant the world to us for sure. I mean we have won championships before then but after all the hard work people have been putting behind me over the years since the beginning of my career, to win the championship for them all meant so much. For my family and friends and all the people who have been supporting me and always cheering for me in the good or hard days it was a little bit of a heads up saying “hey, that’s why we never give up, why we work hard, why we go through tough stuff and just keep on digging and here we go.” That was an awesome year. That’s one thing you do it for your friends and family and for the people who have been supporting you in the past. I also do it for Weathertech, my main sponsor that was there saying they wanted to get involved with me saying they believed in me. It was one of those days saying “Here you go, I told you I was good, I told you I would do it and put my heart into it and I would give anything to win and here you go.” I’m not done yet, I want more.
AG: What is it like racing with your brother J.F? Do you two have any kind of brotherly rivalry?
LPD: I don’t think we have too much of a sibling rivalry on the race track. We have a lot of respect for each other, we will touch, we will rub but we will respect each other. Of course we have partners in the team with us, we are both really involved with the team to get that whole thing going. There is a lot of time that goes into to prepping the race cars and managing the team so of course we don’t want to put each other in the wall just by ego. You know it’s brothers, we always helped each other a ton. Coming from a family that has no money, to have two brothers getting involved in racing it’s not easy. It’s been a lot of work we did together and we have a lot of fun out on the track. Sometimes is actually more when we are home playing cards that the brotherly rivalry would come out more than in racing.
AG: How long have you been interested in racing and how did you become a fan?
LPD: My dad is a mechanic so he was racing a Mini Cooper S back in the days like in the 70s. He had no money but he was racing still, using old tires and old stuff. We were raised with my dad; he’s always been in his garage working on cars. Doing a lot of racing in different series. I’ve always loved cars and motorcycles. I’ve even done motorcycle ice racing in the winter, but the whole racing deal was more about the sport. For me it’s about the competition and the challenge, that really light me up. I’ve always been a fan, but it’s always been about sport itself.
AG: If you could race against any driver living or dead, who would it be and why?
LPD: You’ve got Dale Earnhardt, who I would love to race against in NASCAR, and then go to Formula 1 and want to race against Gilles Villeneuve and Aryton Senna. Of course you’d like to dice it up with some of these big legends, it would be awesome.
AG: If you could race on any racetrack, anywhere in the world which track would it be?
LPD: I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to across the U.S and Canada for race tracks and even went to Europe side. There are many great tracks, one I really enjoyed was Road America but all in all, all those types of high speed tracks with a lot of flow like (Mont) Tremblant, Watkins Glen, Mosport, Road America, Laguna (Seca), Road Atlanta, long and fast tracks are the type of tracks I love.
AG: Do you have any pre-race rituals or methods you use to get prepared?
LPD: Yeah, there is a couple things that I do mentally. I think it’s more about the mental side of things. I think that racing requires a lot of visualization, you need to get in the zone. The beauty of NASCAR is that we are really close to the fans and spend time with them before races. The days are really busy before we get in the car, having fun with the fans, friends, family and sponsors, once you put the helmet on you need a system to get you back to where you need to be. I also plan my food ahead to, so I have energy for a long race.
AG: What has been your favourite racing memory over the course of your career?
LPD: Winning the Grand Prix Trois-Rivieres in NASCAR was really special for me. It’s my home track and it was huge to do it in front of all the people who have helped me and supported me was great. Also, finishing on the podium at the 12 Hours of Sebring was awesome too. That was endurance racing, which is very competitive. That was a great memory and we were really close to winning that race. You always enjoy racing and you gain a lot of good memories.
AG: What makes racing in Pinty’s so special?
LPD: NASCAR is totally different racing from the Formula cars and sports car/ Porsche series because you can’t really touch much and everything is really close to the bumpers, it’s fragile and you can’t really lean too much on each other. In NASCAR there is a lot of bumping and rubbing the fenders a bit and it’s totally different.
The other thing about NASCAR is the way the rules are, the cars a very close to each other competition wise and speed wise so it makes it a lot more about the team effort and the driver. That’s what I’m looking for, that’s what I really like about NASCAR. You’ll see on TV all the cars running really close together on track and lap time wise. We do have a lot of side by side racing and bumping because of that and I think that’s the best thing about NASCAR racing.
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