Red Bull Racing Australia co-driver Paul Dumbrell has confirmed that next weekend’s ArmorAll Gold Coast 600 event could be his last in the V8 Supercars Championship as he considers a complete retirement from racing.
Dumbrell had raced full-time in the V8 Supercars Championship for nine years before opting to step back into a co-driver role at the end of 2011 in order to allow him to concentrate on his business commitments, where he serves as an executive on a number of companies.
The 31-year-old reunited with long-time friend Jamie Whincup to co-pilot the reigning champion’s #1 Red Bull Racing Australia Holden Commodore in this year’s Pirtek Endurance Cup rounds, the Sandown 500, Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600.
The pair had also combined to win last year’s Bathurst 1000 and backed that up with victory in this year’s Sandown 500.
But his lack of regular racing experience came to a head during last weekend’s race at Mount Panorama, where two off-track moments in his final stint conspired to ensure he and Whincup would finish as runners-up to the victorious Ford Performance Racing duo of Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards.
“It’s such a long day and everything has to go right, you can’t be missing that tiny little one percent,” Dumbrell told the Speed Café website.
“Not racing full-time I struggled in the race with race craft and all of those sorts of things. I made a few rookie errors which really cost us.
“I’ve got to sit down with the team and with Roland after the Gold Coast and analyse whether it’s right for me and right for the team to go around again.”
Dumbrell reiterated that any decision to step away from the cockpit would be permanent.
“It’s like full-time driving; once you make the call to stop, you’ve got to be true to yourself and not come back,” he added.
“I’ve seen a lot of people in all types of sport trying and come back and it generally ends in tears. Generally you don’t go as well as you’d like to have done or what you did previously.
“I’m content with what I’ve done. Even second at Bathurst, you can’t be too disappointed about it.
“I’ve got a lot to do with business, family and so on, and there are other things I’d like to do as well, like the Iron Man World Championships (which clash with Bathurst).
“I’m going to be here for a short time, not a long time in the sport.”
Should Dumbrell step away, the team will have a few candidates to consider as his replacement, one of which is Scott Pye, who drives for Paul Dumbrell’s brother’s team, Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport.
Pye has endured a difficult rookie season with LDM – suffering a huge accident in the second round at Tasmania – but bounced back with a terrific drive last weekend at Bathurst, where he and co-driver Paul Morris finished in sixth place.
It is understood that Red Bull Racing Australia team owner Roland Dane – who is also Pye’s manager – is considering moving his protégé into the Australian Porsche Carrera Cup next year, which would make him eligible for co-driver duties.